Arriving in Hobart was a bit of a shock this week, I left Brisbane on a beautiful Queensland winters day at about thirty degrees and landed in about fifteen degrees of drizzle in Tasmania’s capital. I’ve been slowly acclimatising to the temps of my temporary home this week and may even get used to it by the time I’m due to leave! Being in Hobart does act as a good staging post before heading South though, I’m not wearing shorts everyday like I would be at home, I’m back in long pants and jackets so have had to drag all my old New Zealand clothing out of the boxes in the garage and sort them out for living here for six weeks.
So if you’re new to this blog then you’ll need to know that I’m back in Hobart having started work for the Australian Antarctic Division again – I’m heading South to Casey station soon to commence a contract as a comms officer whilst being one of the 70th ANARE expedition Wintering team. This’ll be different from my last trip to Davis station a few years back, for one I’ll be flying there instead of going down via ship and it’s going to be a pretty busy Summer by the sounds of it too. Casey will have helicopters on station this Summer which is not normally the case and as such it sounds like we’ve got a rather hectic schedule of operations for the Summer season. I like Antarctic Summers, it’s always very busy, there’s always something going on somewhere to get involved with and you rarely get chance to sit back and take a breather, it may be something to do with the twenty four hour sunlight that seems to give everyone the extra energy they need to get through the work, even though you do need to stick a cleverly engineered bit of cardboard up in your room window to block the light out when you do finally decide it’s time to get some shuteye!
Right now though I’m still in Hobart, I’ll be here for about six weeks in order to do some training and catch up on any new changes to the AADs operating procedures likewise I’ll need to re-qualify and re-train in any risky activity tickets such as working at heights, vertical rescue, fire training & use of breathing apparatus etc. Fortunately I don’t have to undergo the full three and a half months of training as I did the first time I took part in the 67th ANARE at Davis, not that I mind, I’m rather fond of Hobart, it’s a small city as cities of the world go but it’s got a nice feel to it – It’s an outdoorsey type of place, people are always getting out and running, mountain biking, sailing etc, my type of environment I love it. I went down to the Saturday market at Salamanca this morning just to get a feed and take some pics, I watched a few of the buskers and usual things going on and then walked back via the wharf – The Aurora Australis and the L’Astrolabe are both alongside the wharf at the moment as last weekend was the Antarctic Festival in town, hopefully the Aurora remembers to bring all my thinks when I next see her at Casey station around Christmas time this year!
I picked up all of my Antarctic Clothing from stores this week, as a ‘Winterer’ I get given tonnes of kit to take with me which takes up rather a lot of room so I need to sort through it all and decide what to send down on the ship and what to take with me on the plane. As I’m flying when deployed I have a luggage limit of 55kgs in which to bring everything I need to last me until the ship arrives in December. In terms of stuff I don’t need I’ll want to get all the really heavy winter clothing, Baffin boots and other bits and bobs and get them consigned to the ship for delivery to me later this year – Now whilst I do of course need some warm clothing for Summer you’ll be surprised at how most of us really only wear normal day to day clothing with just an extra layer of thermals underneath to keep the chill off during the majority of the Summer months. I will of course have to get my work clothes and the standard ‘survival’ kit taken down with me on the plane but the priority is my camera equipment, twelve terrabytes of hard drives, a few laptops and some things to play with to keep me amused, anything else isn’t really needed until after the ship arrives.
Paperwork and Packing
My first week (or four days) has been mainly about settling back into the ways of working at the AAD, catching up with any changes and mostly saying saying hello to everyone you bump into as you walk the corridors. We got stuck into assisting with a bit of work installing some comms equipment into a pair of new Hagglands destined for Davis station this week. Basically the front drivers cab has an array of navigation and communications equipment attached to a ceiling plate which includes GPS, Radar, Iridium Satphone, VHF radio etc, interestingly one of the Haggs had been sprayed pink which I later found out was for Breast Cancer Awareness and will be used to raise money somehow – Both Haggs were being fitted out by the mechanical section so will arrive on station literally spanking new……They won’t look like that for long….
Settling in and Working on the New Haggs
So not much more to report at this stage, I’m heading out for a walk tomorrow (Sunday) so will no doubt ache on Monday as it’s been a while since I did any distance that involved any really endurance undertaking – I want to try and keep that up as it’ll be pretty busy once we get off that plane, it’ll be hard to find time to get work done let alone train!
Till next time