Eeeek!!

Sorry for the lack of posts recently, was back in QLD for a weeks ‘pre departure’ leave.

I got back last Friday night, hung a round for a couple of days at home and then headed off to Stradbroke Island for a couple of days just to chill out on the beach, as usual it was all too short a time but I got back to Hobart last night after a full days travel.

Very funny saying good bye to the family, I am emotionally retarded and as such don’t have feelings, my wife always says that “I don’t have a heart, I have a swinging brick” which is probably quite an apt description – My eldest Stan is pretty similar to me emotionally which was funny when I hugged him goodbye as he wasn’t quite sure which way to look…made me laugh…

Today was busy, straight to the ship this morning to meet with a guy to discuss the sea Ice monitoring system and how we’re supposed to update it, the ship was busy with the arrival of the two helicopters that were stripped of their props and wheeled into the helideck hangar ready for departure. Some things are still rather ‘last minute’ in my eyes but this is an expedition and quite often things happen ‘on the fly’ so I have to expect a lot of things I’d normally pre-plan to turn up this way and we just deal with them.

We had a ships briefing back at Kingston HQ this afternoon, all fairly straight forward along with the safety at sea stuff which I’ve done before, emersion suits are available should we sink, likewise so are the life boats – I will be wandering round with my personal EPIRB on my hip for the duration, I have no issues with being sunk and surviving at sea but the bit where nobody can find me and I will eventually starve or be eaten by a Kraken would annoy me so I’ll keep the beacon close to hand just in case šŸ™‚

please note, the link I have on the blog which shows the location of the Aurora Australis will stop working as soon as we’re out of VHF range of land, so when you don’t see the line continue, we’ve not sunk, we’re just gone….Thought I’d best add that before I cause a panic!! You may be able to see the webcams and the activity of today from here:

http://www.antarctica.gov.au/webcams/aurora

We had a weather briefing and, well, it doesn’t look good, the first four days are horrendous, there is a very large low area of pressure that we will be crossing, we will be facing ten metres of swell and waves in the Southern Ocean which the captain himself said he will likely be sick most of the time….Great…Oh well, it’s not supposed to be easy. I have grabbed some sea sickness pills from Judy, our doctor, in advance, I’d sooner be armed and ready…

Final meal tonight with some of the Casey guys that we’ve trained with since the beginning, will be a bit weird to be leaving Hobart tomorrow after all this time here, I’m currently in my room packing the final small items I have left as hand luggage and hoping I have everything I need.

This will be my last post for a few weeks as I will not have internet availability on the ship, once we get there we will also have a full week of resupply which is totally hectic – I will likely not have much time then either….The next post you’ll see from me will hopefully be the one where I finally set foot on the ice after all this time…

I can receive mail on the ship but without attachments, I’m on stuart.shaw@aurora.aad.gov.au should anyone want some information about anything…Don’t be offended if I don’t get back to you immediately though, I will likely be either being sick, swimming to Hawaii, busy or have broken all the comms systems.

The day is nearly here, It’s finally happening….I need to keep reminding myself just how lucky I am to be doing this…

Cheers civilisation, see you in a bit šŸ™‚

Stu

P.S. So here’s a thought too, just got home from a couple of leaving drinks and was trying to take note of all the things I ‘won’t’ see over the next year and a bit, stuff that we, as westernised people take for granted on a day by day basis…..I remember two expeditions I’ve returned from in the past where seeing ‘things’ shocked me for a while, I came back from being in the bush for a few months in both Chile and Brunei where being immediately thrown back into society was a massive shock to the system – Here’s an example of items that I know I will look at with new eyes again in about fourteen months time:

Letterboxes, cars, trees, tarmac, TV antennae’s, road signs, gas bottles, advertising, roundabouts, flouro lighting, pubs, restaurant’s, grass, aircraft in the sky, pylons, concrete, cats, fresh fruit, shops, fat people, mobile phones, big brother, hairstyles, fences, Woolworths, loud racing car exhausts, ATMs, light pollution etc etc etc…..

Work it out, the list is endless…

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