Sunday, August 28, 2016

78 - A Jollie, a slight overflow, 48hr Film Festival and stuff......

Hello Friends,

been another jam packed couple weeks since my last entry. Let's start with the good stuff first then it's going to flow a little down hill from there..........literally then it will get better again.

So last weekend 2 groups departed to get out of the big smoke of Davis Station. One group consisted of Dazza, Ali, Dr John and Ladge and they went to Bandits. Well I’m not talking about their trip as I was in the other, which was Paul, Vas, Brett and myself (Goldie).

It’s been a while and getting off station was great to unwind with some different scenery. We departed station with the least amount of people allowable to complete our fire team, which are 8 people minimum. Must have been very quiet on station…….

Anyway Friday we departed to Trajer field hut. As we were traveling in a Hagg we needed to go the long way round which involved heading up onto the plateau before descending it to the hut. The hut is on a rocky ridge at 125m elevation at the foot of the plateau and is named after Frank Trajer who was a weather observer here and on the 4th November 1961 was the first person to travel there by foot.

Pic: Michael Goldstein

Vas I think in particular was very happy to be off station.........

Pic: Michael Goldstein

Travel on the sea ice was smooth sailing.......... Some pretty ripples frozen on Long Fjord, there until the summer turned it back into water.

Pic: Michael Goldstein
Believe me it was slick......the cold also makes the rubber on the soles of your shoe hard and more slippery.

Pic Michael Goldstein.
A little artistic with the sun coming up...........

Pic: Michael Goldstein
Pic: Michael Goldstein
Air bubbles in a little bit of a melt lake I found interesting....

Pic: Michael Goldstein

No I didn't do anything silly here it was a piece broken off and I wanted to see what it looked like!!

Pic: Michael Goldstein
As to what we were confronted by on the way down to Trajer as the sastrugi was the largest I’ve seen in the 7 seasons I’ve done. At a height of at least 1.5m it made it both slow going and quite rough. I didn't get any pics of it as i was too busy putting my spine back in. 

Trajer is a fiberglass melon type hut and not really as well insulated as the other huts but thankfully we were going through a heat wave and the -8c made the nights sleep quite comfortable as far as the temperature was concerned. Me snoring and the wind buffeting the hut, well that’s another story why the others didn’t sleep all that well.

We waited for the sun to rise before heading off the Platcha, which meant going back over that sastrugi again. Platcha hut is 31km from Davis and the first hut there was built April-May in 1961 and was established as a remote weather station. 

Pic: Michael Goldstein
Right behind the hut is the foot of the plateau............

Pic: Michael Goldstein

That night we were greeted by a fantastic light show with Auroras dancing across the sky. One small problem at Platcha being that as it is located at the foot of the plateau it's common to get strong breezes. It was rather chilly while i was out trying to get the shots below and youll notice they arnt really my best ones as it was impossible to hold the camera still for the 15-20 sec exposure due to the wind buffering me. But they aren't too bad..........

Pic: Michael Goldstein
Pic: Michael Goldstein
Pic: Michael Goldstein
The wond continued the following day and on the way home i was able to get a decent shot of snow blowing around the place......
Pic: Michael Goldstein
Pic: Michael Goldstein
This next bit was a story from a month or so ago and wasnt picked up by other publications. I though it was that good it should go into my blog. Writern by Vas........

Shit Happens

After a week of Mid winters festivities which included food, eating, drinking and more food, we unfortunately had to go back to work and try and fit back into our work pants.

The week started with beautiful Aurora nights and windless days. However a storm was approaching in the Waste Water treatment Facility in our new sewage treatment plant. You could possibly call it a Shit Storm! Saturday we had a malfunction with the plant which lead to sewage being spilled all over the building.
Paul D. was quite a good sport as it was his birthday and helped us with the huge clean up efforts.
“One of the shittiest birthdays ever” quoted by Paul D

However with sewerage spilling everywhere we had to put the plant in bypass and clean the site.
Special thanks to all who helped Electrical Team, Paul Deverall, Vas Georgiou, Scott Visser (plumber) and our honorary plumber Dave Davies (comms Tech).

“It smells like when I was a kid working in the piggery farm” quoted by Dave

After a day clean up the fault was found to be a faulty pressure sensor. Which caused the tank to overflow.

The floor is actually the same colour as the step in front of where Paul is standing.......

No its not Papa Smurf or Santa its Paul the birthday boy..........

Vas not looking too impressed holding the offending offender!!!!

Another big thing thats happened here lately has been the 48hr Film Festival. Every year they hold it between all the Antarctic Stations and 5 things have to be in them with 48hrs to shoot edit and get it in for voting. 

Our video was having a little crack at Mawson. At the end of last summer V3 was meant to come back to Davis to puck up all the summers and drop of a small amount of cargo including food and in particular cheese. Mawson had been rubbing it a little in our faces so our video is about how we got our cheese back. 

Was a lot of fun putting it together...the 5 things you'll see in all of the films are
Sound: An elephant trumpeting
Object: A stethoscope
Dialogue: May the force be with you
Character: Mythical Creature
Action: Someone walking as if they are on a catwalk at a fashion show.

FYI i'm attempting to do the catwalk bit and as you'll see for a catwalk model I make a good Plant Operator, Pastrycook or Dieso!!!!!

To look at our video CLICK HERE Davis Station 48hr Film Festival Entry

Now it's not a film festival so some of the other stations fils can be found here...........

My favourite was the Arctowski Polish Stations......
Lots more station that i couldnt find 



Bird Island
Prison Hally......very smart
Pokimon go's bad really guys!!!

Amsterdam Island

Argentinian Esperanza Base


Well I had fun playing my part and well although we did not place this year we did get the most votes out of the Australian Stations.

So over the last couple weeks we have had some really good blows along with some cool weather. temps have been hovering around the -25c and some good frosts.......

Pic: Michael Goldstein
We have been pushing alot of snow too...........

Pic: Michael Goldstein
Not with this machine though, thats a snow groomer blade being carried by the telehandler........

Pic: Michael Goldstein
I explained about blizzards in the last blog but here below is another little video I shot. This one kind of shows what it's like walking around in it...........

Video: Michael Goldstein

When you don't cover every inch snow does impact every orifice open to ingress of
Take Vas's ear for example.............. 

Pic: Michael Goldstein
Snow stick on the window showing a nother world outside once the sun came out!!!

Pic: Michael Goldstein
The other windows didn't show as much.......

Pic: Michael Goldstein
Looking from above at a blizz trail.........

Pic: Michael Goldstein
But then again on the inside it's a different story.......Even from the smallest holes it snows on the inside as you can see from the roof line in the pic below..

Pic: Michael Goldstein
Again from the roof here again.........and it covers everything making it pretty. 

Pic: Michael Goldstein
Not going to be alot of fun cleaning up I think.......

Pic: Michael Goldstein
Or getting some of the machines going either!

Pic: Michael Goldstein

Pic: Michael Goldstein
Even leads hanging up covered in 20cm of snow...........

Pic: Michael Goldstein
But it is fun........

Pic: Michael Goldstein
Sunsets seem still to linger making for beautiful backdrops even when pics are taken on the iphone.........

Pic: Michael Goldstein
Im going to get personal here.......One thing i really haven't liked about myself for many years is i'm a smoker. I feel like im at one of those meetings but really it's a horrible addiction and as much i've tried to kick it it's been difficult. No excuses as to the reasons but I really haven't enjoyed it for sometime.

When coming down you need to work out how much you're going to need, buy in bulk and ration yourself. Problem is undoubtably there are those who choose not to smoke anybody other than someone else's cigarettes. Now back home that's fine you got shops you drive down to one, probably on your nearest corner and buy a fresh pack. Here its a little different as well there is no corner and shop well HA HA.

This season when I came down I had it in my mind i was going to quit while I was down here and believe it or not that it shortly going to come to fruition. Not as much because of choice as necessary as there are only 3 people who currently smoke on station and we are all running out together. We would have had more supplies but the issue with the big orange thing (the Aurora Australis) running onto the rocks at Mawson kinda stuffed that idea when it did not pass back past Davis.

As we all came close to the end of the quickly diminishing supplies i decided to make best of a small stash of pipe tobacco that was around. Having papers to roll is definitely an advantage but filters is a must. Being as dry as it is down here makes rolling tobacco turn to crumbs very quickly and if you were to roll without one you would end up with half the cigarette in your mouth rather that up in smoke like was intended.

To avoid this horrible event I needed to get inventive, thinking about the problem for a couple days I decided I would take a wander into the medical self help bar and try and repurpose some cotton balls. I searched high and low and to no avail did i see cotton balls anywhere. What i did find and ultimately use did put me much closer in touch with my feminine side than I ever thought I would be. Tampon.............cut up and slightly rolled into a filter made for a perfect substitute along with making me chuckle every time i think about it.

Still this has only prolonged the inevitable and this week at some point the station will be smoke free.......I have come armed with patches from a good friend Julie and more when needed from the station Doc. This time i'm going to kick the horrible habit for good...........

So one last thing before I finish, we have begun to organize a traverse. Not as epic as they once did but a mini one. We will be going to the Rauer Group of Islands on the other side of the Sorsdal Glacier. This is going to be around a 200km round trip which i'm very excited about. Much to be done and boxes to be ticked before we can go ahead with it with the first happening next week.

Next week we will be taking some fuel up to Woop Woop where we collected the machines from the last blog and got stuck up there for 5 days. This time 44 drums will be taken up using the Groomers and Haggs to take the drums and Skid Steer up and cache them for use over summer. At the same time we will be taking polar pyramids up to sleep in as this is one of the boxes to be ticked. Check sleeping kit and how to construct a polar pyramid. Design of these tents hasn't changed in a very long time, true tried and tested in extreme Antarctic environment to enable you to survive where humans are not meant to live.

So next Blog will more than likely revolve around this.

ENjoy and till next time.....


P.S.........I got to tell you this in a little story as it won't make sense otherwise. Every two weeks we have to participate in either a fire or SAR (Search and Rescue) exercise. Fire is normally something like a drill where a simulated fire will be somewhere and we need to muster get our gear and put out the simulated fire. SAR can be a all station thing, like a search or a technical exercise where the SAR technical crew do ropes for lowering someone into a simulated crevasse then retrieving them.  So we have rigged for a lower and I was tied to the end putting some weight on the ropes to make it easier to set for. Suddenly the ropes let go a little and I took a rather large step back to which Brett our SAR leader said...................

Do you know the colour of fear....................I thought about it for a second and I had not seen the colour of fear before, well I thought I had not but in truth i had as the colour of fear is BROWN.

Thanks for getting this far!!!