Hi everyone, nice to hear (second hand) that people are enjoying the blog. Anytime there is a blog post with photos, it has been put up by my beautiful assistant Sarah Armstrong and she’s having to juggle getting all the bits from me in separate emails, so if you’ve had odd messages showing incomplete posts, that’s why – just wait a little while and check the actual blog itself and you should see the full post and the pictures.
I’m putting up my text-only posts remotely via an email service (as there is no internet access on the ship), which means I can’t actually see the blog or read the comments. But I’m looking forward to seeing them all when I have internet access again at Davis Station – so feel free to leave comments. It will be like the olden days, arriving in Rome and going to the post office to get the poste restante mail all at once. Or, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you like. It’s always nice to get news from home.
A new air of serious purposefulness is creeping over the ship. We’ve had helicopter training on how to get in and out and how to behave around helicopters and all had a turn getting into one of the squirrel helicopters on board. I didn’t realise that helicopters have a deadly tail rotor that spins in a vertical plane and is more or less invisible once it’s going, but our helicopter trainer Frank told us so many stories of people walking into rotors that I think he got the message home.Then it was upstairs for a pre-arrival briefing and I started to appreciate the enormity of the unloading task for the resupply of Davis and Mawson stations. Thousands (in fact, I think it’s hundreds of thousands) of litres of fuel and water and many many tonnes of cargo to be pumped or unloaded several kilometres across the sea ice by a veritable army of people and machines, all in a particular order. Not to mention the self-deploying cargo (as I’ve heard humans described), running around all over the place and getting underfoot. While we are enjoying our days and eating too much, the people involved in planning the resupply are working very very hard to make sure it all unfolds smoothly.
With just a few days of the voyage to go, I’m suddenly overcome with the urge to photograph the people around me – such an interesting group – but I feel a bit funny skulking around the ship taking snaps. I’d never have made a photojournalist, unfortunately.