I arrived in Hobart on the 21st of July with the realisation that living in Brisbane for a year and a half has made me soft. Out came the jackets, fleeces, thermals and thick socks, a lot of prior expeditioners have said that acclimatising to Hobart is harder than the eventual trip South as it comes to a shock to most to not be wearing just boardies and sunnies all the time.
The first noticeable thing for me was the similarities between Hobart and my old home of Wellington (NZ), similar harbour, similar population size, houses at awkward angles on hills, people wearing ‘winter’ outdoor clothing and actually being active (as opposed to Brisbane) – The prominent mountain to the west of Hobart town centre is called Mt Wellington, so someone else must have noticed too……It wasn’t blowing a 100 kmph hoolie though which was a positive…I bet this place is awesome in the Summer…
The accommodation is a twin share apartment, I’m sharing with another guy who’s also doing the same role of SCTO but he’ll be going to Casey Station. Nothing exciting to talk about in terms of hotel rooms, the accommodation is basic, tired, budget stuff but to be fair there’s no point in putting expeditioners up in high-class accommodation, they may get a bit too comfortable with the idea and not like the drop down to expedition broom cupboards….
There’s four of us who are specifically training together on the same coursework, two SCTO’s and two CTO’s – We’re a mix of experience and skills but seem to be split into two guys who are predominantly comms/radio and two who are predominantly IT based, experience is varied i.e. Two are ex military, one guy has been South before twenty years ago – Basically we’ve all got here because of our various abilities and experiences we’ve had outside of our specific skillset and will fullfill other requirements when on station whether it be as part of the firefighting team, Search and Rescue team or boat handlers……To name but a few….
We had the intro and welcome, were shown the itinery for our training period and have got stuck in to some radio training from the offset..Radios are a bit of a headache for me, it was 20 years ago that I worked for British Telecom, I got trained in pretty much every type of transmission technology there was back then but obviously things have changed a lot and lets face it…I’m a bit rusty….
We have a large number of systems, HF, VHF, satellite and plenty more and beyond, which for me is a bit of catch up from Raleigh expeditions past….It’s fairly basic stuff but the testing systems have come a long way since I last worked on them…
We’ve learnt a number of other weird things so far too, we did a days course on X ray machines…Amazing things, and to be honest it’s amazing that X Rays were ever discovered at all……Nevertheless, we learnt about them, stripped the machine down, wore lead coats to protect ourselves from absorption (did you know that whilst most of the body can successfully allow X Rays to pass through them without great harm, scrotums have a 20% absorption rate which makes lead pants a very good idea)……Anyway, I digress……
So I made an appointment with stores and provisions to get my expedition kit allocated, what follows is approximately 40% of all the kit I got, I cannot believe the amount of stuff they gave us…I brought my own personal winter mountaineering kit and thermals etc, they’re all going home……Have a look at this lot:
I shall leave you with those images for now as that is probably quite enough….