Saturday, April 9, 2016

69 - Continuing cluster A-Factor and the news that changed my plans for a year.

Hello Friends,

well after last weeks blog you wouldn't think things could get any more interesting could you. Well wrong, very wrong. But first think first Happy Easter, I sit here on what would have normally been Hot Cross bun day for me in my past life as a Baker/Pastrycook. Yesterday I made 30 just for station compared to the 16000 we use to make.

Pic Michael Goldstein
Dont think I did a bad job considering I haven't made them in probably more than 7 years. Its a past life that keeps popping its head up occasionally. Jen is our winter Store person looking after what can at times be a unorganised mess making it a not so unorganised mess put together this little Easter Greeting as well just incase you didn't see it.

Pic Jen Proudfoot
Now I know this is starting to become a habit of mine but Im trying to give you the whole experience not just the pretty parts. If you want just the pretty parts I suggest to you to watch some David Attenborough! Here I'm trying to make you part of my world and explain things making you part of my experience.  

The last entry WAS one of the hardest I've had to write but it is part of my journey and to omit it would be saying to you it didnt impact my little world. That couldn't be further from the truth as what has happened in the past moulds us into what we are today. Without a past we will never be in the present and look into the future. 

The future for me was about to take a turn that I had all but given up on hoping for too. Im now on my 7th season with the Australian Antarctic Division and since my first season I've been wanting to do a winter. Many friends have done one or many and have told me of their experiences but its only ever been a dream for me. 

This season someone was selected to take on the  winter SMS (Senior Mechanical Services) role at Mawson, fortunately for me they pulled out. Now I say fortunately for me as that particular role was offered to a Dieso here meaning there was going to be a hole here at Davis for winter. Next thing I know I'm on the phone to one of the bosses asking me if I was prepared to stay on for winter. 

Lots to think about as there was Dad who had just got out of open heart surgery for a valve replacement only the week before being offered. He is also still suffering the loss of Mum and trying to find his feet. Im close with Dad and seeing his pain always upsets me inwardly, outwardly I guess I can come across as a little hard on him but he knows I'm doing for his own good. To be offered something I had almost given up on waiting for TOTALLY blew me out of the water. Ultimately I asked if I could thinking about it for a couple days. 

Thinking about it I actually came to the conclusion that I was in a very fortunate position as Dad was on the mend. When being selected for a winter the names are picked and we really have no idea who we are going to be going in with. We can indicate to some degree as a returnee where we would like to go but ultimately the control is held with the bosses at the division. I on the other hand had Summered with all these people who were wintering and know them and wasn't as if I didn't know them already. 

Think thats it........ohhhhh no it aint. There is a little bit more as I'm now going for a winter position I needed another medical and its not like you can shoot down to the nearest medical centre and get blood taken and a lab to work their magic. I mean we do have a basic lab here but not for the stuff they wanted. So all the stuff that medically wise could be done here was done and my blood needed to get back to Australia for testing. Thankfully there was a Herc planned to come in around the same time to take some people home so my blood made it onto it. Ultimately on Tuesday the 9th of February 2016 it was official, I was to be staying on for winter.

Work on the other hand this season has been a little different as most seasons that I've been down. Most seasons I've been down there has been a major infrastructure program of some sort going on . This season there was lots of little things and lots of science projects I was involved with. 

One project a newby expo and good mate Mizza and myself were involved with was the removal and instalation of a new BOM satellite dome. Out with the old L-band sat dome and dish and in with the new X-band sat dome and dish. MORE about the BOM satellites and HERE as well as a little history on the communications satellite known as the ANARESAT.

So we were working with a team from the Bureau of Meteorology Mizza and myself assisted in the dismantle of the old dome and took it away. A couple pics of us putting in the new one......

Pic. Michael Goldstein 

Pic Michael Goldstein

Pic Michael Goldstein

Pic Michael Goldstein

Pic Michael Goldstein






































Then there was the melt in the middle of the season. Normally here at Davis there is a little snow but not anywhere as much as at Casey and Mawson. Last winter they received a lot.

Pic: Michael Goldstein
 In this pic the lighter green part of the building is the "Tank House" which is where 4 large water tanks are housed ironically and the darker green section of the building is know as the WWTP or Waste Water Treatment Plant. This is the new building last year we put the slab down and started moving all the equipment in for the guys to put together last winter.

BUT as you can see in front of the building there is a little bit of snow..............well there was lots more. As all this snow melted it collected into what we have now names Lake Davis and the below pic was taken when the water got to the point that I needed to start pumping as it was running back down towards the workshop.
Pic Michael Goldstein
 I would think we pumped from this lake 12-15 hours a day 5 days a week and only just stopped the water from crossing the road so there was lots of water. Pity its not water that can be drunk!

There is lots to do in the off time with a short walk to the beach where all the Elephant seals are wallowing is always good for some shots.....

Pic: Michael Goldstein

Pic: Michael Goldstein

Pic: Michael Goldstein

Pic: Michael Goldstein

Pic: Michael Goldstein
I only wish these picture came with the smell as its quite unique. When the melt comes and the smell starts before they arrive its smells like a old unwashed german shepherd. Then as the ground thaws its  bad believe me. They sit around on the beach while they shed a layer of skin without eating.........wow
Anyway

A little bit more work also had me assisting a long time friend too. Jen came in this year as the SAGSO or Senior Aircraft Ground Support Officer and there was a couple times she needed a little bit of a hand as the other guys were off station setting up the Skyway (Whoop Whoop) which is about 20min chopper flight away. Below is Jen with what we call a chinamans hat which is actually a nozzle for something called a Herman Nelson it splits the hot air being pushed out of the Herman Nelson and makes two or three smaller pipes to warm up engines on planes, machines or help cure concrete like we did last season. Obviously being metal they aren't the best to wear as a hat, seriourls Jen you should know better!!

Pic: Michael Goldstein
A Twin Otter at the sea ice skyway, I was working but it did give me a great opportunity to take some good shots too!!
Pic: Michael Goldstein
 Basler (updated DC3) prop.....
Pic: Michael Goldstein

Pic: Michael Goldstein


Pic: Michael Goldstein

Then there is also the boating which is amazing. To be cruising along and see the amazing colours and textures of the ice bergs really dose take your breath away. Also being a Coxswain makes it better as I'm the one driving the boat..........

Pic: Michael Goldstein

Pic: Michael Goldstein
 Been trying for years to get a shot of penguins jumping out of the water but normally I have the tiller of the boat in my hand and not my camera.......

Pic: Michael Goldstein
 The Sorsdel Glacier which is our recreation limit.......
Pic: Michael Goldstein
 A tipical berg cruise but this one young Bryce (with his hand up) quite a pound young man decided he was going to attempt to make a ice berg collapse by using his voice.......he dose have a loud voice which is where Byrceabel comes from but needless to say unfortunately it didnt work as there would be shots. On the other hand my hearing is bad in both ears now not just the one ear as i was before i came down...

Pic: Unknown
We have covered a bit but in this edition, one thing I did want to add. There is a couple of us that are writing blogs on our journey here. One of the other guys is Aaron (MET) he has a blog HERE and the Doc, John which you can find HERE.

One of the guys who summered managed to get himself into the newspaper in Ireland too and its a good story HERE. Then there is my FB page, wow its really only been running for a very short time think its 3 weeks. In this time i have been able to get 250 people to like it which I am very proud of. Again its not something that i find it takes a lot of time or that i do it for another reason as I'm already doing it. Time flys when i sit infant of the computer and start looking at things that interest me. Like my blog another thing I'm proud of, just before I departed Hobart I received an email from that National Library in Canberra asking permission if they can archive my blog really humbling that my experiences are that interesting that its in a library in Canberra.

Last thing all of last weeks pics and then some can be accessed on FB even if you don't have an account by clicking HERE.

Until next time,

Michael

P.S.......“Nothing is impossible. The word itself says “I’m possible”!” - Audrey Hepburn