Saturday, November 19, 2011

38 - A little bit while in Hobart and the Southern Ocean..............

Hello friends,

Not to fear I am NOW here and let me tell you what a ride getting here.  The forced holiday that I needed as my time in Hobart was filled with much to do and many late nights.  Firstly I better apologise for my previous blog entry as it was rushed towards the end. My intentions were to get the first entry done and published before I got onto the ship but as all good intentions better things beckoned and I got up to mischief instead of dutifully doing what you all would do......well most of you anyway. Secondly i also better apologize for taking my sweet time in getting this the first blog up but better actually do some work and its been a busy as normal resupply. More about that in the next blog though........
So I better tell you what I can of what I got up to in Hobart then hadn’t I. On the 25th of September I departed the Gold Coast bound for Hobart. Now my start date for the Division wasn’t till the 17th October so what did I arrive so early for you might ask. Well a coxswains ticket is what brought me to town so early. The division put me through a commercial boating course with enables me to drive boats down south.  
Doing the boating course was one thing but  the division wouldn’t put me up, soooooooo that’s where a buddy from last season Kenny and from this point forward will be known as “The Boss man” comes into the equation.  “The Boss Man” kindly accepted to put up with me for 3 weeks while I was doing my course which only meant I needed transport. Queue Rowdy, now I know that if you don’t remember this name from last season you’ll be happy to know that by the end of this season you will. Rowdy half way through last season at Casey got a winter at Davis, sooooooo he had his car in Hobart and I unfortunately had to drive around in it.
That picture was taken when I got back last season where I again utilized Rowdys ride where i chauffeured mum and dad as they had come to town to welcome me back.
3 weeks and what I initially thought was going to be a walk in the park ended up being very interesting and edumacationable. Never though there was much more than knowing where you were and how to drive the boat you’re in, in the conditions you’re in, I was wrong. The first week besides being my birthday in the middle of the week was 5 days of a course called Coxswains Deck. In this course you learn about what commercial shipping day shapes (the shapes they display to indicate what they are doing), night lights (of which I though port and starboard and a stern light were the only ones), sound signals, flags, and laws. PASSED but wow a lot to learn.

Friday night Wendy arranged a little birthday bash at my favourite Greek restaurant called Mezethes in Salamanca with many of my friends who were in town and who work at the Division. Thanks Stus, wicked food and horribly potent after dinner shots, your a champ.
The following week I had the first 3 days off where I caught up with friends, organized my econ (baggage to be sent south) and was kitted. Kitting is the term we use for being issued with our clothing down south.  We get issued with thermals, PPE, shell clothing (windproof uninsulated gear) Carhart gear (not windproof but insulated work outers) , balaclavas, hats, a variety of gloves, Snow and normal boots, the usual work shirts and pants.  This process can take up to 1 ½ to be done depending on how many people are being kitted at the same time. But you have to make sure it all fits well as there is no shop to run down to once you’re south if something doesn’t fit.
Later that week was another course called “Elements of Shipboard Safety” which was fun. We learnt about all the safety devices on board a commercial ship. This also included going to the local public INDOOR swimming pool and learning how to deploy, get into and right a life raft. Followed by a day learning about fire fighting with a pyromaniac. 18 people in the course and 60 litres of fuel.

The following week was two courses, engineering (how to problem solve a fault in a diesel engine) and navigation. Engineering was simple due to both the amount of time I have spent around boats and heavy machines. Navigation was lots more involved than I initially thought but in the end I passed all, happy days.

Sunday the 16th October everyone started arriving and the Rowdy’s green machine turned into a taxi by picking up some of the boys who were now arriving to start work at the Division on Monday the 17th October. Also the Division accommodation kicked for me in and to Kenny’s happiness I mover out and into it.   

 Pic:  Dave (Horse) Barringhaus
Many of the guys who I had been down with before were also staying there so it felt like home even if it was for a week. Monday, first day of work and because I had been in a couple times in the past three weeks it felt like I had started weeks ago but as every year inductions had to be done and all the boxes ticked. That arvo my flatmate moved in, my good old mate The Zen Master Brett. Brett is at Casey this year but we were lucky enough to be rooming together.
alot of fun we learnt how to look after the fuel lines while the ship is refueling over water (like at Casey), navigate through kelp beds and how the different IRB's (Inflatable Rescue Boat) and RIB's (Ridged Inflatable Boats).

Boating course over and Hobart City Council held a reception for expiditionars heading south this season. Was a very nice night and the party continued at Customs House which is one of the traditional pubs that we drink in before getting on the boat. However we were a night early........................sooooooooooooo after pre-departure training which was on Saturday where the voyage management talk about the specifics of the boat and we get onto the boat for our inductions which include getting into a immersion and sexy what do you think???

Pic Michael Goldstein

So after a very big night 3pm we loaded up onto the ship and with a few  people waving us off and yes i know who wasn't there your names have been noted for future reference we through the ropes and took off.

Here is a little video i put together of that........ (after is has started playing in all of the videos there is a button in the right hand corner of the video that will make it full exit that press ESC)

Video : Michael Goldstein

Now thought i would put a tour video together on the ship as i was kinda board and thought you might be interested in what the alternative to flying down is like.............Those of you who i have been south with before might remember one of the stars or two of the people who show up in this, one of them now works on the ship.....

Video : Michael Goldstein

So we took off and for some it was the last time we saw them for some time. One poor guy got sea sick that night and we didn't see him for about 2 weeks of the 17 day journey, soooooooooo happy i don't get sea sick or i wouldn't have been able to get the video footage i got for you all!!!

Video : Michael Goldstein

At one point it did get bad so i thought i would put my trusty GoPro out on the trawl deck on a mount and leave it. Was VERY impressed with what i managed to catch the happenings out there and more happy that i wasnt there when it happened!!!!

Video : Michael Goldstein

So I cant exactly remember when we went into the ice but it was a bit of a shock to the system. Suddenly the ship stopped rocking and there was noises from the ice rubbing up against the hull. Think this one is one of my better video editing efforts mind you this was the first one i started working on and i think i probably spend 10 hours on it!!! Not much else productive to do on the boat other that edit video and work in the kitchen!!

Video : Michael Goldstein

This one is a little later when we started going into the hard ice and how difficult the ship had at times to get thought it.................

So i was working on another video i might have finished for next entry on King Neptune. Well thanks to some friends at the Div well several friends actually i got well and truly King Neptuned!!!

My first season i flew in and out. Second i flew in but boat out and there was a King Neptune ceremony on that voyage home but for some reason my name was missed. I was there and i was ready but for reasons that excape me i missed out. BUT not this time, i did have a incling that it was going to be extra special attention to me but there was a couple others that were in the same boat as me SO it was evenly shared out!! To prove to the many that i have now been granted access to sail the Southern Oceans here is a pic.........

Pic Tom Luttrell

Lots of fun..................but Wendy my dear remember if you ever happen to travel on the ship south payback will be SWEET!! LOL

Soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo we finally made it on day 16 well kinda made it. Still needed to put the ship in position for resupply. Ice thickness needed to be 1.7m for some of the new machines we were getting particularly the crusher at 30t. This meant that it took about 12 hours to move about 1km carefully braking the ice as not to fracture the edges that we would be working on.

Final position as seen from station....................

Anyway i think that with all those videos that should be enough for this entry

Pic Tom Luttrell

Here I am working hard...............................

Pic Michael Goldstein

Well here it is I'm finally here with resupply and some real work about to start!!!!!!!! Yea i know first time this year and i know your jealous................................

Keep tuned next blog will be a little resupply seeing Rowdys long locks and settling into a new  station. 

Take care


P.S..................... "I dream for a living."
                          Steven Spielberg