Sunday, December 25, 2011

43 - Tourists the third Christmas in Antarctica..................

Well hello again,

Been a couple crazy days here in the lead up to Christmas's and as I eluded to in my last blog we were immediately expecting a tourist boat the KK or Kapitan Khlebnikov.

Pic Michael Goldstein

Well the KK arrived as planned however they pick a very ordinary day to come ashore as winds that day were gusting to 45 knots or 83kph. She parked in exactly the same place as the AA (Aurora Australis) did when she was in town on our resupply which was about 2km off station. You can still see the roads that had been built for the vehicles to run on in the ice.

Anyway 12 people including myself put our hands up to act as tour guides for the day, Johnny (AKA Jumpin Johnny a fellow Gold Coaster and chippy that i had been down with on my first season), Laser Dave a wintering Lidar scientist and myself took the first group. I will talk about Lidars in a future blog but for now lets keep on tr tack with the story.

Talking in the wind was difficult but the looks on all the faces of the tourists was great especially one. Vic was one of the tourists in our group and he had a particularly interesting story. 1976 I was three but Vic was on his way down here to winter as a cook.

 Pic of a pic by Michael Goldstein
All around the LQ (Living Quarters) there are pictures of the winterers since we landed here and this is the 1976 wintering group. Front right holding the dog Nina is Vic.

 Pic Vic Wett

Here is a pic of Vic while he was here in 1976. We were lucky enough that he brought some of his pics from his winter and the expeditionars got a little presentation from Vic as what the station was like back then.
Pic Vic Wett 

In Vics time the MV Nella Dan was the vessel that the Antarctic Division used. Vic would have more than likely been on V2 and unfortunately there are no SITREPS but you can see the dates of this voyage HERE. This ship 11 years later would ground itself during a resupply to Macca (Macquarie Island) and there are several documents I found on the wrecking of the Nella Dan and this one is a first hand account of the
HERE while this one is  preliminary investigation report on its grounding HERE. You can also have a look at all the vessels that the Australian Antarctic Division have used over the years by clicking HERE you'll see the list of ships on the left.

You'll notice on the side of the ship there is a yellow thing, well this is a LARC an amphibious vehicle that was use in the resupply of the stations and still is today at Macquarie Island.

Pic Vic Wett

A LARC hard at work bring in the years food, building materials and so on into station. LARC's were extensively used in the resupply of all of Australian Stations and still get used today HERE is an article giving a little of the history about the use of the LARC's by the Div.

Pic Vic Wett

This in 1976 was almost the entire station..............

And today..............................with the red circle show where the old station was!!! Sorry to digress, i seem to do a bit of that don't i but just in case you were interested as to why Davis is called Davis have a look HERE.

Pic Vic Wett

Nothing like that has happened to us this season but getting blizzed in dose happen!!!!!!!!

Pic Vic Wett

When Vic was here in 1976 the main job that was being done was what is now called EPH (Emergency Power House). Above is a pic of them building it.

Pic Michael Goldstein

The EPH today..............................and I do mean today as i only just got back from taking that picture!!!

Pic Vic Wett
Nina the Husky and also the name of our bar down here. Nina was the first to be returned home after her working days. Before then the dogs when they reached retirement age they were destroyed but Nina ended up in Adelaide and here is a article in "The Citizen - Ottowa" where a couple of her pups ended up.
HERE is a pdf that I found and its the "Dog report" from Mawson Station in 1961 and it gives you quite an insight into how much reliance the early expeditionars had on the dog teams for survival here.

So after taking the first groups around station they were taken back into the LQ (Living Quarters) for a talk from our scientists about the programs we are running on station this season. More on that one another blog!!

Cup of tea, visit the post office ohhh yea we do have one of them but only mail coming in is with the voyages and the occasional tourist ship that sometimes takes it for us.

Pic Michael Goldstein

Jo our resident Deiso come Postie dressed to the 9's in a old Ambos dress uniform. Don't know where the Ambo's uniform comes in but he dose look the very professional and he did get quite a reaction from me when i saw him in it!!!

 After all that they then had the 2km walk back to their ship. No choppers could fly due to the high winds.
Pic Michael Goldstein

The tourists walking back to the KK....................

KK soooooooooooooooooooooo the wind had dipped to 20-25 knots tide was low which gave me and Laser Dave the perfect opportunity to drive a hagg out and picked up the cargo and to get a couple close ups on the KK.

 Pic Michael Goldstein

Pic Michael Goldstein

Don't think i would like to be on this big girl in a force 11 or 12 which are common down here.....................i digress again but Casey has been in a resupply for the last 2 weeks and due to the weather they have been having the poor guys are still going. HERE is their weekly news letter to explain whats been happening there and the ships SITREPS.

One of the buildings on the tour was this one................

Pic Michael Goldstein

This hut is a historic hut that was originally at Heard Island but moved to Davis a little while ago, HERE is a web site explaining Heard Island and geography.HERE is a google search on Heard Island Images. HERE is a web page on FQA's of the island and a MAP relative to its position to Australia/Antarctica. A map of the island itself can be found HERE. There is also another web site i found on the huts at Heard Island HERE.

Anyway i digress and all in all it was a unreal day especially talking to Vic which was for me anyway the highlight thus far. Mind you I'm sorry to say Vic, I'm sure something will be better than that soon, it always dose down here!

 Yesterday we had a xmass breakup and Summer Tradies pic. Every season the Summer Tradies pic is taken normally with the major project they have been working on for the season. This season one of the projects we have been working on is a new boat shed and below is a short video timelaps of this break up party and the pic that will be

 Video Michael Goldstein

Well think i have BS'd on enough for this blog and I'm now thinking that it is currently Christmas day back home. I am now feeling quite home sick but don't tell Mum and Dad that can be our secret. Talking to them today it sounds like there is going to be quite a bash on at there house and for the third year in a row I'm going to miss it!

I do love it down here but it is at times like this as much as the people here really do become a second family the real one are the ones that i miss the most. Doesn't feel l Christmas as we don't get bombarded with advertising, no night well very little anyway, I choose not to even read the newspapers which only depress me with all the misery in the world.

So to finish up I hope that you've all been good boys and girls and that Santa brought you all the presents you deserve, Happy Hanukkah, seasons greeting and for the rest have a nice break.

Take care,


P.S............................Christmas... is not an external event at all, but a piece of one's home that
                                  one carries in one's heart..
                                  Freya Stark