Friday, December 20, 2013

57 - Pre Pre Departure and hurry up and wait..............

Here we go again friends,

Strait into it this time got lots on my mind and not much time to get it out before it disappears!!

SO, we were last talking about field training ect. in the last blog. After all this had finished which was only 2 weeks we were sent home for a month. During this time i was able to pack up my unit and prepare it for renting it out. My golly gaush I got some stuff. Don't really want to do that too many times let me tell you!!

So as we were preparing to head back to Hobart it was already obvious to blind man Willy that Voyage 2 to Macca was going to be running late. A couple things helped in making that observation but the main one was the fact that Rowdy was on Voyage 1 on his way home from Mawson Via Davis and he told me but more obvious the ship hadn't moved in at that point 7 days. Stuck fast in the pack ice.

At the time all this was happening the AAD released these media releases....
Media release ONE
Media release TWO

As per normal there was no surprises from me as to the delays much to the frustration to those close to me I must add. This job needs a large amount of flexibility and adaptability to the weather situation and tools you have at hand. It makes me very proud to be working with a very skilful bunch of trades form so many disciplines that far exceed their own trade. So much is learnt every season form sometimes the most unlikely person.

Anyway I digress, so we all knew we were going to be running late, all good we got word from big boss that we were to report to the new Macquarie wharf no 2 shed (Mac 2). This shed is where all cargo heading south ends up for final packing into crates, containers and boxes before being loaded up onto the Aurora Australis for delivery to Station.

Mac 2 has only been in operation for the last 6 months as the previous shed Mac 4 only just around the corner was a little tatty and keeping all the necessary bio security proved to be difficult. This new facility has played a major step in resolving this. CLICK HERE for a little more info on the new shed.

This rather unassuming building is one of the major stops for all cargo heading south and staffed by 4-7 people only. Like any new system there are some interesting new advances that ensure that every effort is taken in ensuring that no hitchhiking invertebrates make it to either the continent or Macca more importantly but more about that one a little later. More about the building now!!

Pic : David Hawley.

Below is inside the main door you see on the above pic. This is one of the two main areas that goods come in. The other is far left of the picture and both have gated off area to limit the possibilities of any unfriendly's getting in. Now unfriendly's would be mice, rats, cats, dirt, plant material and more along those lines.

You might be familiar with the pest irradiation program that has been running here on Macca for the last 2-3 years. No well basically Macca besides the normal wild life had many unfriendly's that were decimating the native wildlife. Mainly the rabbits and rodents and they caused devastation both with the vegetation and it is also wildlife (especially the albatross).

Macquarie Island is a sub-antarctic island that is actually part of Tasmania. Now as I have explained it is a World Heritage listed Park and thus is administered by TasPAW's or Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife. The pest irradiation program has been happening on the island since the 1960's and in the past couple year really been kicking goals in ridding the island of these pests.

More reading a good summery of whats been happening
More in-depth
A little more

 Pic: David Hawley.

Below gives you a good insight of how a lot of our cargo is delivered to us. All the cage pallets you see on mid right of pic below are all ready to go to Casey, if we packed it right!!!!

 Pic: David Hawley.

The new JCB telehandeler that WAS meant to be coming with me to Macca but I'm sure ill tell you all about that in a later blog. The red tracked machine is a Polaris obviously modified with tracks for the conditions its going to meet at Wilkins. Just incase you feel the need to buy some tracks for your Polaris a similar model can be found HERE.  Finally just in front of that one is another Polaris which is bound for Macca.

 Pic: David Hawley.

The Macca pile!!!!

 Pic: David Hawley.

Some of the Casey pile.........

 Pic: David Hawley.

More of the Casey stuff that isn't a pile anymore..........

 Pic: David Hawley.

And of course there was a lush lunch room to boot...........

 Pic: David Hawley.

So we ended up working at Mac 2 over a week and the whole time the ship had only moved in the pack ice in a special mode called drift. It saves lots of fuel this way but doesn't get places fast unfortunately. It was fine had fun working in Mac 2 as normally I'm dealing with it from the other end, however this time I had a better understanding why stuff goes missing and doesn't make it to station and exactly who to blame for this.........

Continuing right along here now but while we were making time in Mac 2 we received word through official channels that the summer personel that had been dropped off at Davis which included two Squirrel choppers.

Don't really like this topic, think its all still a little raw from last season. Basically the short story is that 2 choppers traveling over the Amery Ice shelf  back form Amanda Bay (This link is to a video Horse did last season) well no other way to say it but one chopper went down. I had two friends in the chopper that went down but all three in that chopper were hurt The other chopper had another friend in it which landed and assisted until they could be moved. I am very happy to say that everyone is home now and safe.

Moving right on now at lightening speed, FINALLY the orange roughie made it to town and on board were all my friends that winter overed at Davis and one Rowdy that flew over from Mawson to catch the ship home. BIG BIG BIG night in town when the Aurora Australis arrives back. The tradition is that the last drink in town and the first drink back is always at Customs House. Rowdy and myself have had another ever since we have been going South and thats first meal at Mezethes Greek restaurant. So i booked for 6 not knowing how many would really turn up and as per normal i think 25 turned up but it was a good night and Stus is a great host!

Pic: David Barringhaus

So here we are again and I believe I've taken up enough of your time so your just going to have to wait a little longer. The good bits aren't too far away i promise but until then your just going to have to wait a little longer!!!



P.S............."We can throw stones, complain about them, stumble on them, climb over 
                 them, or build with them." 

                 William Arthur Ward