Monday, January 3, 2011

19 New Years, one perfect special incredible day.....one in a trillion!!!!!!!.....

Ohhhhh my friends,

have i got one BIG BLOG for you this time and it starts with New Years. I hope that everyone had as good a night as i did. This being my second on the Ice I'm kinda use to the goings on and was prepared for it this time. New Years here is normally a fancy dress and last year i was Super Man but this year i though or to be more accurate i was dared to go out on a limb a little. A limb it was, initially i was dared to get a French maids uniform but when i went to the fancy dress shop there was nothing in my size only in size 6 for girls.

Being on the larger size i saw it there is was and i knew it was going to turn heads and sure enough it did.


Now i only show you this to begin with as i want to ease you into this as i know some of you have heart issues...............Dad

The accessories were just to cap the entire look off and the coconut wasn't just for show it was used all night and it was handy for finding my glass as nobody else took it! Me and Narelle giving our best poises for the camera..............


Notice the mismatching shoes care of Rowdy and a couple others last season but i ended up with one of mine and Rowdies and he ended up with the same. But we saw in the New Year in true Antarctic style, FULL SUNLIGHT.

Here is the crazy Irishman in the back left with one of the Canadian Pilots in front and on the right you have another Canadian Pilot and Rowdy in the front.


Don't know what Tommy wasn't happy about...............could have been what i was wearing!!!!


The "Dirty Crew" you'll hear more about them as these motley bunch of scientists now have a gun operator "ME" :) and i am working on their project so maybe next blog ill go into what they are going here.


More of the guys.................


The band was unreal even though the drumer was flown in specially for it only the day before and as the runway isn't open they had a nice and long way around. Our A319 flew from Hobart to Mcmurdo then the CASA 212 and we also now have a "twater" sounds funny when the Canadians say it but it is actually a Twin Otter. They went off.................


Then there was Rocket on the spoons and Edd the crazy Irishman on his shaker to keep it all together.......


There are more pictures but don't want to frighten you off whats coming up next as truly it was the most incredible day i have EVER EVER had. But in sort it was a good night with many a sore head the next day except mine. Somehow i still to this day have never ever had a hangover i must be sensible and know when to stop right.

Righto so after a SLOW day yesterday i was given the opportunity to head out in the IRB's to Browning. Now some of you might remember this place from blog 12 When Hell Froze Over... which has some good pictures in there too but this time we were treated with the best day Antarctica could through at us. Firstly to get to Browning by IRB conditions must be perfect meaning less than 5 knots wind. This is because Browning is the furthest point we can go without prior permission from Hobart and as we are our own SAR (search and rescue) everything airs on the side of caution. All three boats must do the journey and all must be driven by Coxswains. The 5 knots rule is because Browning is located beside the Vanderford Glacier which has the Katabatic winds coming off it which normally means if it is 5 knots on station then its 10-15 at Browning. Now that isnt too bad at home on the Gold Coast when your out on a sunny day +25c water temperature but today the temp took a little bit of a dive and it was -5c then add your wind chill on and well you have to be careful. But all the Antarctic gods got together and let us go...........


Magic day as you can see above. Below you can see me in what we have to wear when boating here, its a Mustang suit. Basically its a survival suit that while not being waterproof it has all the necessary bouncy to keep you up and warm both in and out of the water. They aren't really the fashion statement of the century but down here if it is warm it doesn't matter what it looks like.


Rowdy well being Rowdy.....................


After a slight detour to an IRB pickup point at Robbos Hut we picked up Narelle who was there with some of the other guys and continued on out way.


This is where our day went from beautiful to unreal...........................Having only traveled about 10 minutes around the corner after picking up Narelle and still able to see Robbos Hut from the water.


THERE THEY WERE.........................................Killer Wales, one ohh my i couldn't believe my eyes!


Then two WOW..............


Then a entire pod with babies and adults with human size dorsal fins!!!!




We all were feeling very touched that we had been able to see the them in the wild.......... Now on a total high we moved onto our next destination Peterson Island which i had been to and talked about in that 12 When Hell Frezes Over blog entry. But this time pulling up in IRB's two boats had landed and we were on our way in when when someone said Elephant seal and there one was. A juvenile Elephant Seal lying in the shallows pretending he was a rock.





Gobsmacked we were now floating on cloud nine but then we are in an incredible place but WOW i can now tick another two things off the list..................While on Peterson Island i managed to take a couple good pictures off Adelie Penguins which by comparison were well common. LOL






Then there was also the boring Icebergs hummmmmmm..........................









Boring huh..................So after jumping back into the boats the crazy Irishman told us that there was two Elephant Seals around the corner so we went in there to have a look..............



Content in what a special day it had been we headed off on our way back to station..........


Traveling second i noticed a slug looking thing on an iceberg and we manoeuvred in for a closer investigation to find that it was a Leopard Seal.............the day is now going from the best to well its going to be hard to top this one......



So off we go again and soon after taking off yep more amazing stuff an Emperor Penguin...................Somebody said their prayers last night huh.




How can you top that huh............well how about another Leopard Seal



When we arrived the Leopard Seal kinda looked up saw us and quickly went back to sleep. Then a Skua landed beside it and started to peck its feet (?) and he/she reared up opening its mouth. Kinda couldn't have planned it any better if we tried huh.

Well it gets better soon after seeing the second Leopard Seal we rounded another corner to be greeted with a Minki Wale breaching and at that point i needed to pinch myself as i really thought i was dreaming!!




Then Rowdy yells out see we are going to be diving with one of their cousins off Cairns. Cliffy last year went diving with the Dwarf Minki Wales off Cairns and i was so impressed with his pictures and his stories Dad and myself along with Rowdy and another new mate from this season are going to be going. If you go to THIS LINK you'll see what was aired last year and if you look close you might even see Rowdy in all his glory!!!

So all in all it was a one in a trillion day that only could be served up on Ice...................Antarctic Ice to be precise and i am still buzzing from the day. While waiting on the trailer to be backed into the water for us we took the opportunity to have a pic taken a little reef just off the Casey Wharf. From left to right you have Johan, Gary, me and Edd all plant operators here this season only missing Big Al who didn't come boating with us today!


So I'm hopeing that you have enjoyed that as much as i did...............i know the pics are good with the exception of a couple but even my best picture just can't accurately capture the sparse beaut of this place and then you get a day like i did and its well for lack of another word  incredible. 

I only hope you have had as good of a start to the new year as i have had.

Take care and come on 2011 its going to be a big one!!

Michael

P.S...........I'm think of you Lou and Hayden, wish i was there to share in the birth of your first of many!!

P.S.S............."Get excited and enthusiastic about your own dream.
                  This excitement is like a forest fire -- you can smell it,
                  taste it, and see it from a mile away."                  
                      Denis Waitley