Monday, March 28, 2011

31 - Time runing out,Blizzards, penguins and a walk to the wharf...........

Hello friends,

its the end of another week of tying up loose ends in preparation for both our departure and the ever closing winter. Currently there in only 10 more sleeps until the ship is here to pick us up and its coming around very quick too. If your interested you can follow the progress of the ship by CLICKING HERE and SITREPS or voyage reports by CLICKING HERE.

Time has until this point been flying but now thinking about getting home is beginning to take over and home cant come soon enough. It has been a long season compared to last season as by this time i was already sweating profusely back on the coast. Instead I'm watching the changing seasons down here and the most amazing things that come with it.

The other night 1130pm was just settling in for the night in my room when the phone rang. The phones down here have something called Aurora Alert which is a phone list that if someone see an Aurora they call a number and a automated telephone system which calls everyone on the list. Funny part is that last week we had one and eventually when someone called the number and the alert went out i answered the phone with an automated voice saying "Aurora alert, aurora alert, aurora alert".

Now normally i would think the normal that i needed to go outside and look at an aurora. Instead i thought about the Aurora Australis that is in its way and it was only when i heard several heavy feet pounding the halls heading outside did the penny drop. Well i was a little tyred but i did force myself outside and sure enough there is was. I didn't end up staying for long as i was both tyred and cold but i got some good pictures from one of the guys.


Picture : Brian Guillaumier


Along with the Auroras there is also the blizzards and trying to work in them. Below is a short video of Bec trying to complete GPS'ing the site, got no idea why she had a bee in her bonnet about getting it done that day as the wind was gusting to 50 knots. I wasn't going to let her do it by her self and it was alot of fun watching her!!!

video

Here is a couple clips Ive put together in the wind and blowing snow...............

video

This video is one Johan shot last week on our way back from the Science building back to the main living quarters............

video
Video: Johan Mets

I would like to say that i intended to loose my hat but that would be a lye. So ill just say that it was intended to happen to show how dramatic the wind really is.

Greg is one of our FTO's (Field Training Officers) who unfortunately hurt his knee recently. Feeling a little sorry for him as he hadn't been out of the living quarters for a little while i decided to take him for a drive down to the wharf. Sounds easy enough right, well after the melt and the recent blizz's it wasn't as easy as it sounds. Wharf road is currently closed as it is full of blizz so going down there in a ute was out of the question.


So Hagg was the preferred mode of transport and after heading over to the left of the above picture and almost getting bogged on the hill near the red building at top of picture. On the way we noticed some nice design blown into the snow.........






But we made it without getting bogged and the cripple made it to the wharf.............



You can see the ice beginning to form on the side of the wharf................

We noticed one of the other expiditionars on some rocks up a little from where we were, so we began to walk over there almost tripping on a Weddell Seal on the way.







Its a little strange to see Adelie penguins around at this time of the year too. But by the looks of it they are still malting and get kinda grumpy when they are.............nice pic though.


Talking about Adelie Penguins Greg the cripple that i took down to the wharf has obviously had a little time on his hands of late and as such had time to write a kids book that he has got for sale on Blurb have a look at it CLICK HERE.

More about Adelie Penguins they really are an amazing animal Greg worked with the scientists that were studying them this season and gathered a little info from them since they have left. While they were here they put trackers on them and the google image below and another regular AAD one and although Greg couldn't thicken the lines its quite amazing that those little buggers since the trackers were installed until the 21 May 2011. Last year the fledglings went north from Mawson and then they all travelled westwards along the coastline with the currents, did a massive right hand turn near Syowa station heading north before they began their westwards journey back towards the colony – they travelled about 8000km in total.



As i said earlier 10 sleeps to go and i really don't know how to feel. I feel so at home here i know its going to be sad the day we leave but knowing that Ive meet a fantastic bunch of new friends for life is nice to know too. So much has happened at home with the new arrival of one of my best friends that i am very much looking forward in meeting and then on the other hand friends that need consoling. I'm going to be a busy little beaver when i get home.

Anyhoo enough of me this week and you are now on notice prepare yourself for the imamate arrival ME, your only going to get one more blog entry from the ice all going to plan so enjoy them.

Take care,

Michael

P.S..............."Lifestyle is the art of discovering ways to live uniquely."
                     Jim Rohn

**All pictures not denoted with photographer are taken by me and all pictures are copyright to the author**