Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Redployment, Travels

I'm in Hobart, Tasmania now. I left the ice on the 11th of February, so I've been on the road for almost two weeks now. I got to be among the first folks to fly north on the Royal New Zealand Air Force 757. It's just like a commercial airliner, but the flight attendents wore camouflage. It took a long time to get us and our luggage loaded, but once that was sorted, the flight was uneventful.
I hung around in Christchurch for a couple of days, soaking up the humidity and warmth, and hanging around with southbound and northbound ice folks. Flew to Sydney, and hung around there for a couple of days. Next was Hobart, Tazmania. I ran into a fellow traveller who had a very similar agenda to mine, and we decided to team up for a tour of Tassie. Rented a car and headed up the east coast, checking out Wineglass Bay and miles of beaches. We made our way up to Launceston, and spent the night at a great backpacker there. I've been feeling a bit off for the last couple of days-- I think I got ahold of some questionable chow at some point, and have been in distress, making it hard to go on any major adventures. Best to stay close to the facilities, if you know what I mean... I also seem to be picking up a cold. After Launceston, we drove west to Cradle Mountain, and walked around a little bit there. Yesterday was a huge driving day, and feeling lousy made it worse. I felt completely whooped when we got back to Hobart. I returned the car this morning, and I'm going to be just hanging around in town, reading in the sun. Sorry about the lack of pictures. I need to find a suitable computer where I can get them off my camera and post them.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


There have been a lot of big changes this year on the ice. The galley (building 155) has been painted bright blue, from the foundations to the chimneys. It's crazy. The old T-site building has been torn down, the bowling alley has been torn down, the old buildings up on Ob Hill have been wrecked, as well. (Those buildings are frequently referred to as "the old nuclear power plant", but I think the actual power plant was removed along time ago. The remaining buildings on the hill are B-87 and B-126, an electrical warehouse and the old water plant. Just the bare frames remain now. Old T-site is in the cleanup stages, and where the bowling alley once stood, there is a vacant lot. Kind of sad to see the old buildings go. On the other hand, there are some positive changes. Three huge wind turbines are up and working above T-site, at the foot of Crater Hill. Another milestone of change is the arrival, unloading, reloading, and departure of the vessel. Our crew went out to the ship this morning and removed the radio telephones and wireless internet gear we loaned them for the brief time they are in port. They should be setting sail as I write this. Watching the cargo ship steam away from the ice pier is part of the official winding down of the summer season. A lot of my winter friends are coming in now. It's a bittersweet reunion, since I'm about ready to leave. I figure that I've spent 19 of the last 24 months down here. That'll probably do for now.