Monday, December 31, 2012

4 Helo's planes and old tanks EPIC DAY

Well hello again friends,

two in one week aren't you all lucky little vegemites!!! So here is a little story about the luckiest boy you know. Yesterday I was going about my day as per normal, when I received word that I needed to phone the station leader. Now Simon, who is a FTO or Field Training Officer gave me the message, told me in such a way that I was about to receive a comfy chair. In other words get into trouble and told to come in and take a seat sort of talk. Not expecting what I was about to get i got exactly the opposite. Yep the second most incredible day i have had here. Still a little hard to top the MOST incredible day but close. For those of you who cant remember what i'm talking about CHECK OUT THIS and you'll then know. I must highlight I'm not talking about the beginning of that blot and the nice frock im wearing but the lower bits out in the boat.

This one was a little different though because it didn't involve boats but instead planes, twotters to be exact. Now twotters are what the Canadians have nick named their Twin Otters which are the primary small plane used here in Antarctica and Northern America. You might remember also that last season Uncle Bob and his twotter featured in a post last season where he took me to Sansom Island CHECK IT OUT. Uncle Bob is back and this is now my third season with him.

This season I jagged a trip to a place called Beaver Lake which is 740km easterly from Davis Station and in the foothills of the PCM's or Prince Charles Mountains. But before we get to that there was the journey there and thats the good bit. A brief overview, 1 overwinter Russian Station, 2 Summer Russian station one of which was manned one not, 1 Chinese station, 1 Indian Station and lots and lots of pretty stuff on the way so lets start there shall we!!

 Pic Michael Goldstein
  Pic Michael Goldstein

Loved all the shapes of the ice they seemed like they had been cut up by a human......

  Pic Michael Goldstein
  Pic Michael Goldstein
  Pic Michael Goldstein

Nice little bergy bit that had broken off the Sorsdal Glassier which I visited last year by Hagg you can see that visit HERE.

  Pic Michael Goldstein
  Pic Michael Goldstein
  Pic Michael Goldstein

 Pic Michael Goldstein

Then came the stations with the first being the Chinese Station Zhongshan Station. More information about Zhongshan Station can be found by going to the below links.....


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antarctic_Zhongshan_Station


 Pic Michael Goldstein

About 1.5km away is the Russian Station Progress II. More info about Progress II is found in the link below....


http://www.newzeal.com/theme/bases/Russia/Progress.htm

   Pic Michael Goldstein

Some of the outer buildings and graveyard

   Pic Michael Goldstein
More......

   Pic Michael Goldstein

A little bit up the hill closer to their skyway and there is more buildings you can see a couple people one in orange and one in black in between the buildings and a old APC in top left of picture which are highly modified BMP-1 or whatever they could get their hands on. Even the odd Lada are kicking around!!

   Pic Michael Goldstein

A Russian AN-2 Biplane on the ski-way. I also found an interesting old article on the plane HERE, and more history and technical stuff can be found HERE for you flyboys!!!

   Pic Michael Goldstein

Russian gold.....think you'll notice one thing with all the Russian stations. I think they have the monopoly on 44 gal drums, if there is ever a world shortage I know where ill be getting mine from!!!!

   Pic Michael Goldstein

DC-3 not too sure if its a Basler but its a Canadian one from the flag behind the cockpit windows. Basler is a conversion to modern turbo prop engines that are mainly in use down here.

   Pic Michael Goldstein

Now as you might remember the name of the Russian Station is Progress II. From that you might deduce there was a Progress I well your right. Progress I was burnt down in tragic circumstances where one expeditioner lost his life and seriously injuring two others. Fire is a fact of life down here and often happen with serious damage and loss of life. The whole Antarctic community bands together to offer whatever support they can to assist. But it dose happen to give you a better idea about the Progress I incident and others around Antarctica CLICK HERE, and more dangerous stuff that happens in the links below but Mum don't look at them!!!

Now on a different note below is the Indian Station of Bharathi. This building was made of 134 pre fabricated shipping containers. I managed to get a visit over there last year and you can see pictures from the ground HERE. Last year they finished putting all the containers in place and they spent their first winter there this year. It was constructed by a Norwegian / German company and more info can be found about that HERE

Its also posible to see the broken ice in front of the station where their ship had been parked only a week earlier. There is 300m 20m from shore directly in front of their station and if you look at the blog entry from last year you'll se how close they park, AMAZING! 

   Pic Michael Goldstein


  Pic Michael Goldstein

After a little more boringness we then got to Sansom Island where I made it to last year, but we were only half way there. You might remember the Russian Summer station that was in that BLOG well i got more information on it this year to bamboozle you with. The Station name is  Druzhnaya IV Station. Chunky and FTO (Field Training Officer type) who i have been down with before took a party there in 2002 and i found a web site with some pics on it from the ground thats interesting CLICK HERE. Here are my pics.

    Pic Michael Goldstein

In the picture below you'll see that hammer and sickle which you can also see from the ground in THIS web site.

    Pic Michael Goldstein
    Pic Michael Goldstein

You will also notice unlike my BLOG from last year this year Druzhnaya IV is manned. In the picture below you can clearly see the orange speck on the roof of the building middle left of the pic and another guy in the left hand top corner next to the building. Ohhh yea and there is that gold again in those 44 gal drums, and they aren't the half of them have a look at last years BLOG.

   Pic Michael Goldstein


As i explained Bever Lake is 740km Easterly from Davis Station so its quite a hike but to get there you need to pass over the Amery Ice Shelf. This is a very interesting area mainly as it is soooooo dangerous. Full of crevasses. The open ones are easily avoided its the ones that have a snow bridge over them that are the killer. In good visibility they still can catch the experienced person out. But in low light they are almost impossible to see. From the air its a different story.......have a look see what you think.

    Pic Michael Goldstein

Below from 10,000 feet and good light they are quite easy to see, can you imagine what the old school guys did?????


    Pic Michael Goldstein

    Pic Michael Goldstein

    Pic Michael Goldstein

    Pic Michael Goldstein

    Pic Michael Goldstein


   Pic Michael Goldstein


2 1/2 hours later and I'm still gorgeous!

     Pic Michael Goldstein


Rach enjoying the view, of the back of my head!!!!


    Pic Michael Goldstein


Finally looking up front the PCM's (Prince Charles Mountains) come into view.......


     Pic Michael Goldstein

Dont think words can accurately describe how absolutely beautiful it is!!!!!

     Pic Michael Goldstein

     Pic Michael Goldstein

The melons come into sight. A melon is bigger than an apple and they both taste good. No seriously they are roundish fibreglass bolt together buildings that can be transported easily. You might make out a orange thing at the end of that point, thats the melon!

      Pic Michael Goldstein

Pic from the ground after landing. 

      Pic Michael Goldstein

Uncle Bob on the right and yep thats his twitter!! The day wasn't just for fun though i must add. It was a work day and we had an important mission. 5 drums of ATK (jet fuel) needed to be dropped for future deployment in the PCM's. The balance of the fuel that was there needed to be taken off the ice and put onto wood. Sounds silly putting the drums on wood but the steal attracts the sun heating the metal making the drums sink into the 3m ice that we landed on. Putting them on wood stops that and makes it easier to get to them next time. 

      Pic Michael Goldstein

Me and Bobs twatter acting all cool and stuff!!

      Pic Michael Goldstein

Rach not really pulling it off, i make that look good, Rach not so much.....LOL
      Pic Michael Goldstein

There is coal in them hills too. PCM's has fairly obvious coal seams running in varying thicknesses

      Pic Michael Goldstein

More coal seams i actually found an article about the coal in this area too if your interested CLICK HERE
      Pic Michael Goldstein

Amazing  little hill and the interesting rock strata.

      Pic Michael Goldstein

More coal......

      Pic Michael Goldstein

Another view of the PCM's

      Pic Michael Goldstein


Now time for the last Russian Summer Station which is called Soyuz Station. It was a little hard reasurching this one as there was also a Russian Spaceship of the same name. However I being the nosey little shit that I am found a little somethin somethin. CLICK HERE to learn more if your so inclined.

Another one of them tanks...........in cold storage! LOL

      Pic Michael Goldstein

Some of the living quarters......
      Pic Michael Goldstein

More of them 44 gal drums........hummmmmmm

      Pic Michael Goldstein

On the way home we climbed up to 10,000 feet and high tailed it home as dinner was soon to be on and we still needed to land and catch the chopper back to base. Still there was time in between snoozes to click a couple more.

      Pic Michael Goldstein

The Vestfold Hills AKA Home........... A little more from last season on the hills HERE


     Pic Michael Goldstein


So after a mad scramble its done and I made it with time to spare as it is New Years eve.  This year friends I want you all to have a happy and healthy year. Don't worry about the wealthy bit as if you got the happy and healthy bit your already wealthy. Hopefully not to many hangovers tomorrow too!!!

Cheers

Goldie

P.S.........Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you 
              a better man. 
               Benjamin Franklin