Counting Down….

It’s approximately five weeks until the ship gets here now, it’s scheduled to leave Hobart on the 15th of October and could take two or three weeks to get here – We then have to deal with resupply, probably the busiest and most chaotic time on station all year. There will be a range of ‘new folk’ arriving to stay the Summer months, some who’ve been down before, some who never been here – Knowing how it was last year for me the learning curve for the newbies is pretty intense, you don’t get a lot of time to breathe in the first few weeks.

Right now we’re running through the end of season tasks, preparing for the arrival of the Aurora, tidying up and organising all the equipment and RTA (Return to Australia) and basically trying to gear ourselves up for the pandemonium which is resupply. There will be rosters for everything, 3km of fuel line to be run from the ship to the shore, 600,000 litres of fuel to be pumped into the tanks over five or so days, food to be restocked, building materials to come ashore by the container load, personal cargo, vehicles & helicopters arriving, science projects to set up, you name it it’s all happening. Among things happening for myself I’ll be receiving a few more staff, two communications officers who’ll be working the radios throughout the Summer, they basically look after all air traffic along with maintaining a watch over people on and off the sea ice etc – Along with that we have two riggers turning up for six weeks worth of repairs on the numerous radio masts we have. the first part of summer is going to be a busy time for me, especially with co-ordinating any downtime to aviation radio systems whilst the riggers carry out their work…Hopefully we’ll be able to put a secondary system in place whilst these guys get their jobs done.

What else, well not that much to be honest, the Rauers traverse guys got back only this week which means I’ve been hanging around station unable to get out, I sort of semi arranged the station photograph late this week – I wanted to get a photo of us all out on the ice silhouetted against the iceberg panorama that always greets us as we look out of the windows – I basically asked if everyone could start walking out one evening at about 4pm to where we’d laid out some furniture, sit down, have a beer, relax and enjoy the weather…I had a camera about 200m away clicking away trying to capture one good moment out of many – I don’t think it turned out too bad…Technically though this can’t be used as the expedition photo as we need something of a standard 7×5 style…We have some other pics too for that…

67th ANARE Davis Station

There was a funnier side to this though…When the main pic was finished a few of us just stood behind to have a beer and tidy up….

“Where’s Stu?”Where's Stu?

“Here he is”Here he is..

“Beer time…!”Random_1

One of life’s more random moments, but we all loved it….In fact I think we’ll likely do it again…Next time though I must remember to get some pictures of the beer as it freezes, crunching on beercicles is a little odd….Pre-heating beer is the only way to go, as weird as that sounds…

We did have a bit of a ‘Super Aurora’ one evening this week, on the phone system we’ve got an Aurora alert number, if anyone see’s a good Aurora, you dial ‘8888’ and it calls anyone who’s subscribed – Well I got a call about midnight, ninety minutes into my sleep and I was certainly not interested….Then there was the knock at the door as someone else wanted to let me know it was worth it……Meh…

So, I dragged myself to the window had a quick look and, yep, you almost needed sunglasses…Jumped up, got the camera, headed outside and walked around station taking shots in some places I’d not tried before.

The only trouble with taking shots of this sort of Aurora is that actually it is too bright, the stars don’t appear in the shot, parts of it actually appear over-exposed…It’s a very different beast….But nevertheless it’s amazing to stand and watch as this thing swirls around you from above….It may well be -20C but laying down on your back and looking up as it all falls down towards you is something I will not forget, it is literally something from another planet falling down on you in waves, all coming from the sun….I’ll miss these, and very soon, maybe another month and it will be getting close to 24hr sunlight so yes, I will miss these….

Yes, so as I say, not much else of photographic interest..Actually I say that, perhaps you should have a look at this video clip….I’ve been spending more time on my ‘expedition video’ now that the time is running out, video editing, footage collection, the whole thing just take ages, unlike standard still photography you don’t just point a camera, take the shot and hope it comes out (although obviously there is more to it than that) – When you get home and plug your camera in you either got the shot or you didn’t, by that point it’s too late…Cinematography on the other hand takes patience and a plan for what you want the finished article to look like…Now I’ve been working on collecting footage for a ten minute video now for around twelve months, it’s amazing how long it takes…………So, with that in mind I think it’s interesting that my eldest son Stan is also now interested in making a few short movies of his own, albeit ‘Halo’ related death and destruction movies…(Yes I was young once too)…He submitted a ‘business case’ to me last week stating that he is now 13 years old and legally able to have his own YouTube channel…..So after a lecture, agreement to rules and a few promises this was granted…:-)

It may only be four minutes long but this takes a lot of work…Have a look, and if you enjoyed it click ‘Like’ to show him some appreciation for his work…I think this took him four months (in between homework & reading my blog obviously!) 🙂

Oh and just so you know, the footstep sounds are me walking in the ice out here that he wanted me to record……..quite effective I reckon!

Righto, enough for now, hopefully I’ll have more interesting stuff to say next time.

Cheers all


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