21 Again….

No really, I am twenty one again, literally…Forty two being twenty one the second time round…Yesterday being the 6th of October t’was my Birthday, so that’s one Christmas and a Birthday down South now….One more Christmas to go in terms of large scale calendar events and I will eventually be getting back home. Odd though, at forty two I still have to do a double take when I look at my watch or computer and see that the date is my birthday, I’ve always done it, always will….Christmas is the other day for thinking it looks weird on calendars, am I the only one who thinks this?

For my birthday I was made a strawberry cheesecake which I proceeded to faceplant (as is the requirement), had a few beers and went to bed having aged another year, nothing too ‘celebratory’ – I shall leave that sort of thing to the kids at home to get excited about, that said though, I do note that there are some uncanny similarities between myself and a certain vodka based product right now:

42-Below-Vodka

The days are getting very long again now, I’m looking out the window at what is currently 9pm and the sun has only just dropped below the horizon, I’m not 100% on the exact date but I believe we start entering into perpetual sunlight again on the 25th of November – I’m going to have to start looking for that bit of cardboard that used to black out my window soon, you really do need to do that in order to convince your body that it’s still going through night and day cycles otherwise you have real trouble getting to sleep in the Summer.

Another useless bit of information around dates is that there’s allegedly a bit of prestige to be had if you spend more than five hundred days on the Antarctic continent, this is the same amount of time that Shackleton’s men had to spend away on their ill fated endurance expedition when they began on December the 6th, 1914 (of which we will soon see the hundredth anniversary of) and didn’t make it back to civilisation until April the 9th, 1916 – As it stands, for the remaining 67th ANARE Winter crew staying on for the extra Summer, if we don’t board the Summer ship until the 21st of March it means we’ll have been on the continent for over five hundred days which will be quite a stint. That said, I in no way compare our experience and ‘effort’ to survive to be comparable with Shackleton…Before anyone says it!

Quick weekend trip

So I managed to get out this weekend gone, left station at about 2pm on Saturday and got back about midday Sunday, myself, Josh & Alyce headed up to Bandits hut with no greater intention than drinking wine, eating cheese and talking rubbish (standard hut protocol) – In all reality if the weather had been better we’d have spent more time on the Sunday exploring and looking for the seals which are now starting to have pups in the area – The visibility, however, was pretty bad, it wasn’t the warmest weekend either and the wind was cutting in at around 25 knots so it was best to just keep moving back to station and trying to stay warm. On the way back my bike decided to try and catch fire, well the battery did but thankfully we weren’t too far from home so Josh towed me back – All good apart from the fact that when the battery dies there’s obviously nothing powering the heated hand grips so whilst it wasn’t an issue sitting on the bike and steering as I was being towed my hands did take the majority of the afternoon to get any feeling back into them!

There’s a fair bit of work currently on the go, nothing unmanageable, it just needs keeping on top of so that the Summer arrivals don’t catch us unawares – The original ship’s departure date of Oct the 15th is now back a week to the 22nd which has thrown my inbuilt calendar out but has at least given us an extra week in hand for contingency.

I put together a quick bit of fire training for the BA teams last Friday just so they could re-familiarise themselves with the BA kit again, I put on the nasty home made ‘poor vis’ training masks and made the teams drag a hose attached to a weighted bag too…..It looked ridiculous but is as close to the real thing as we can simulate without actually setting fire to things.

Anyway, that’s all I have to say for now, very soon our lives will be thrown into turmoil again so I guess I should make the most of the peace and quiet whilst we still have some.

cheers

Stu

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