Monday, January 31, 2011

23 Australia Day Antarctic Style, Thala Valley and more boating...........

Hello Friends,

Well its been another cracker of a week down here and where else to start but the 26 January, Australia Day. Like many of you at home we did the normal things like going to the beach. Only different here is our beach could be a little more picturesque in that its framed by the ice bergs and maybe a little colder. Now i know many are going to say that i am chicken but before you say it ill tell you that I've done this before.

Many moons ago when living in Canada i did a polar bear swim in a Winter Carnival in Sault Ste Marie called Bon Soo even got a medal for my efforts. Only thing is there is someone in Canada that she would say unfortunately she had to do it too. Was a magic day, they had cut a hold in the ice in St Marys River and the temp was -27c. Never forget it, after getting changed into my swimming attire i walk outside and prepared to jump in. Facing the hole i launched myself in reaching out far enough to grab a pole on the other side. My head must have been underwater for mere moments but while under i didnt know which was was up even though my hands were on the pole.

After jumping out i realized that maybe i should have worn shoes as all the people that had got out before me had dropped water on the snow turning it into ice. Yep it was like walking on razor blades, in pain i made my way to a inflatable spa. Back in those times my hair was quite long in fact so long that my nick name was "side show Bob" so when i finally made it into the spa i went to squeeze the water out of my hair but alas my hair was frozen.

So back to Australia Day 2011 i really didnt feel the necessity to make the swim at +4c, i instead took photographs in a IRB and watched everyone else understand what 60% shrinkage really means.


It was another tuff day can't you tell..............

So in they all went and i was still happy not to be experiencing the shrinkage again.


Troy one of our CASA 212 pilots with what seems to be a grimace on his face


Timmy loving it............


Dave out Station leader hanging onto a ice burg we dragged in for the special occasion.


Timmy running from emanate danger being hunted by Big Red AKA Nathan.......


While in the boat i was able to believe it or not, MULTI TASK. Yep i took pictures and took video at the same time and here that is............

video

The day continued up at the red shed..................

It was an ALL Australian Day.


The entire station except me, dont know where i was......................


Got to have a BBQ on Australia Day don't you, even if you are in Antarctica..........


Trev with one of his brews as he is the brewmaster!!!


Bet you didnt have an Eski (for those of you that don't understand that also known as a "Chilly Bin", "Cool Box" and a "Ice Box").


Then we picked teams for the Australia Day cricket game..........


The crowd gathered................


The pitch was a little hard to get the wickets into the ground so we got a little of what we have a lot of and it kind of worked.


The game was fun wouldn't really sat it was high scoring but of course we won in the last over.....


Time laps from the Casey Web cam of the day, you can also see the live web cam too CLICK HERE

video
video: AAD web Cam

Thala Valley time now, well many moons ago pre Antarctic Treaty times we used Thala Valley as a dump site. Since the treaty it is our responsibility to clean up our mess. Well a couple years ago a majority of the mess was cleaned up and at that time it was found that there was heavy metal contamination on the site. Lead to be exact, from both leaded fuel and old batteries. As you briefly saw in last weeks blog the Chinese were in town. The reason that they were in town was the Australian Government had negotiated with the Chinese to utilize their ship to remove the rubbish and take it back to Australia.


Took the team a couple weeks to sort and remove the contaminate soil and load it into containers but enough from me here is Rowdy explaining it in his best way.

video

Along with the actual removal of all the material me and my boffin posse took some samples to ensure we had got all the contaminated material. Here is Dr Fancy Pants Kate and her artistic impression of how/what we were doing.............
  video

So after a short week and a day off in the mix too i really only worked 3 days last week............needed it too really as sleep hasn't been one thing I've been getting alot of. Anyway 2 and a half days fork and the week was over.

Yes...................the weekend! After a relaxing Saturday afternoon i found out that there was going to be another attempt to Browning by IRB. Sitting at dinner with Narelle (ex station leader) who was organizing the trip i said "8524, what was that number 8524 yep that my room phone number so if someone doesn't turn up give me a call and ill be there." Not thinking i would get a call i didn't set my alarm. Wouldn't you know it i got a call, one of the other plant operators had a slightly big night on Sat night and well got down to the IRBs and realized that well it just wasn't going to happen. All the better for me i got the call and from a dead sleep to being out the front with survival pack, camera pack, lunch dressed and walking out the door was 10min. Kitting myself out in a mustang suit, the stylish red and blue suits we wear in the boats then down to the wharf 20min. So off we went, wind on station was gusting to 13 knots which was acceptable for an attempt to be made. Soon after we took off the the waves were getting bigger which prompted Narelle to make a call back to station to get an updated weather report. Unfortunately the automatic weather station near Browning it was gusting to 40knots due to the Kadabatic winds.

Here i am with my "BIG BOY"

                            

After turning around and heading back towards station we caught a Leperd seal lounging around..........


We stopped at Shirley Island for just over an hour and as i had been there last weekend myself and a few of the buys/girls took the opportunity at soaking up the serenity.........ohhhh the serenity.


One of the views form my perch...............


Even from my perch the rookery was only meters away................


The chicks now very eager for food are chasing their parents.................the poor parents!!!

video

Just in the channel there was a big melt stream flowing over was the only other noise besides the noisy rookery.


Still having a little bit of time up our selves we did a little ice berging................









On our way back to station we went past the ASPA beside Wilkes. Wilkes you'll learn a little more next week blog and i got lots of history for you next week on that too.  Anyhoo we went past another melt stream which was flowing quite good which is just soooo amazing to see sooooooo much water and it keeps coming and coming..........


video


 In my web surfing this week there has been a couple interesting things pop up on my radar for you all to have a look at there is this one on the King Penguin injured by a Japanese fisherman and taken back to Japan
http://www.flixxy.com/pet-penguin-goes-shopping.htm

You'll remember the CASA212 that went down in Bunger Hills not that long ago well i found a story about a nasa scientist stuck in a blizzard there

Here is a good one my mate Mick......................well Mick is a friend from last season who works at the Di vision full time and one of the many jobs he dose is kitting and here he is kitting a ABC reporter (her Blog CLICK HERE) who is currently visiting the Mertz Glacier 
If your interested in seeing where the Aurora Australis is you can go to...........................
Similally you can see the ships web cam which updates every 1/2 hour.......................

Sooooooooooooooo other than that its been a good week as news tonight is mum is home which has been music to my ears and probably to my sleep pattern. Righto well time for me to hit the sack, and prepare for the next fascinating entry in my blog. Hope everyone up the far North of QLD has battened everything down and is safe!!!


Hope your all well and until next blog

Michael

P.S.................."You've got to ask for your opportunities! Asking is...
                   in my opinion... the world's most powerful, and neglected,
                   secret to success and happiness."
                   Percy Ross