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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Santa,an Elf, and a Well Hung Reindeer

An Elf, Santa, and a Well Hung Reindeer

Sorry about the title but I just couldn’t help myself. Christmas in Antarctica, like anywhere else, means something different for everyone. For most here in Antarctica, I believe, (having not interviewed anyone else before posting  blog, this could be a load of rubbish) is a combination of having a good party with good friends and a touch of sadness being away from home and family. To cope with the missing of family,people, that being me, do things that would not usually surface back home (like playing Santa). I played Santa last year at Casey and again this year at Davis. Not having children of my own, and actually not remembering ever visiting one as a child, I have no idea how the role playing of Santa should go (especially with a bunch of adults with various sensitivities and political correctness). So, just being oneself is the way to go(suffer the roth of the  politically correctness police later). Not being politically correct myself, I normally wouldn’t care about a well hung reindeer posing with Santa and present recipients, but I must admit at the time I thought these pictures may want to be emailed back home to the kids and other family members. The reindeer did behave for most of the photos, especially those where young eyes maybe viewing the picture back home. . . ! Hoping everyone back home had a great christmas, or whatever you want to call getting together with friends and family at this time of year.

Sorry for those of you that thought Santa actually lived in the Northern Hemisphere, nope. That's the tourist version.
From Antarctica,  a Fat bloke in a red suit, an Elf, and a well hung reindeer on loan from the Northern Hemisphere.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Creation of Man's Divine Boat Shed - Antarctica

All the trades at Davis Station who just happen to turn
up for the boat shed party.
Photograph by David (Horse) Barringhaus

Look, it's no Sistine Chapel all right, but it's one hell of a boat shed.

This boat shed located at Davis Station is typical of the type of construction that we employ in the Australian Antarctic. Consisting of 4, 10 foot, and 2, 40 foot shipping containers it's what every boy wants at home for his tinnie. Tinnie for all you none Aussie types is what we call any metal boat. Be it aluminium or steel. Usually trailable, but pretty much any boat that is made of some kind of metal, like the Queen Mary or Britannia. Anyway, that's enough of the Aussie slang lesson.

This shed has a overhead monorail crane as well. Precast concrete slabs add to the charm of this shed. It will house our IRB's (inflatable rubber boats) and their associated motors and survival equipment.

It is clad with 100mm thick aluminium cladded foam slabs.

Some of "the boat shed bandits"
Photograph by David (Horse) Barringhaus

Photograph by David (Horse) Barringhaus

Photograph by David (Horse) Barringhaus

As with anything that is built by us trades type people, any excuse for a party with good mates and food and drink will do. So no better way of getting all the "really" important people for a photo, throw a party.

Thanks to the boat shed crew which I played a small part in, but really the hard work goes to the "chippies", rigger and crane driver on the job. Nice one.

Antarctic Wildlife - South Polar Skua

Skua in Flight
Photograph by David(Horse) Barringhaus

Scientific name

Catharacta maccormicki

Physical description

The south polar skua is a large bird that grows to 53 cm in length.

Distribution & Abundance

Photograph by David(Horse) Barringhaus

The south polar skua breeds on the Antarctic Continent and is a winter visitor to Australia. It has been recorded as far north as Greenland and the Aleutian Islands.

Conservation status

least concern


South polar skuas arrive at their breeding colonies in late October to mid-December. Their nests are a shallow depression on the ground and are generally found in sheltered locations on rocky outcrops, moss covered cliffsides or valley floors.
The eggs hatch in late December to late January after an incubation period of 24-34 days.

Diet and Feeding

During the summer months, south polar skuas prey on eggs and young of Adélie penguins near the coast, while other skuas feed solely on fish and krill. South polar skuas are often seen following ships at sea.
Many skuas nest in close association with their prey. Southern giant-petrel and other skuas are infrequent predators on unattended nests and wandering chicks. Some eggs and chicks are lost each season to exposure.

For images that are for sale in print,canvas, framed print and acrylic go to my online store

Source: Australian Antarctic Division
Skua on Davis Station Beach
Photograph by David (Horse) Barringhaus

Boxing Day in the Ol' Wallow - Davis Station

Elephant Seal Pup - "You humans are so boring with all your picture taking!"
Photograph by David (Horse) Barringhaus
Boxing Day in Antarctica. Well it's just like boxing day back home. A day to relax after a day of over eating and perhaps drinking. So the order of the day is to take in a walk, photograph sleepy Elephant Seals in a very smelly "wallow", then go have a sleep one's self. Actually these 4 young guys were probably doing just that when we rocked up and disturbed their sleep. Not all the sea ice has disappeared yet from around the station so there are still very few elephant seals around. We expect to see this change over the next few weeks as the ice gets blown out and we see the return of hundreds of these sleepy fellas to the various sandy beaches around the station.
Now I don't know about you but that flipper has a certain familiarity about it. Even the nails look like mine!

Elephant Seal Pup - "Bugger off and leave me alone!"
Photograph by David (Horse) Barringhaus

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Building a Wharf in Antarctica

Existing Wharf Configuration
Photo by David (Horse) Barringhaus

So, the question is, “What the hell am I doing in Antarctica, again, really?”
First of all, my apologies to you all if I go off on a boilermakers rant that sounds a bit technical.Well at this time I’m involved in the extension of the wharf at Davis. The existing wharf is not really a wharf, but rather a mound of dirt flattened out and protruding into the water like a break water wall. It currently has a few precast concrete slabs where cranes can be set up for the loading and unloading of supplies that come in on jet barges, usually from the Aurora Australis. As I see it, we are to construct a more permanent, what they call a, “ Whaler Wall “ wharf. That is we:
For images that are for sale in print,canvas, framed print and acrylic go to my online store

Part of the "Whaler Wall" Being Rolled Over
Photo by David (Horse) Barringhaus

1.    drill down into sea bed a couple of metres down through the sea ice and down into the rock bed;

2.     we then grout 36mm deformed bar into the holes using special water displacing underwater grout cement;

3.    We then locate 125mm heavy wall RHS (that’s hollow steel that’s sort of squarish, has rounded edges opposed to nice sharp square corners)steel pylons over the deformed bar and grout them into place;

Horse Apparently Welding
Photo by Cliff (Rowdy) Davis

4.    A fabricated “Whaler Wall “ frame is then attached to the pylons in a half octagon shape;

5.    Steel “Whaler Wall” cladding(looks like oversized corrugated iron, 12mm thick) is then attached to the outside of the frame work;

6.    Earth works are then completed by back filling up to the “Whaler Wall”;
7.    We complete the welding side of things with ladders down to the water and bollards for tying up of the barges and IRB’s (inflatable rubber boats); and finally we;

8.    Break out the beer and celebrate.

Weldmaster Remote Wire Feeder
Photo by David (Horse) Barringhaus

All welding is done in sub zero temps using mainly flux core mig. No gas mig for obvious reasons, it blows like hell most of the time. All my tacks are done with a stick welder using 4816 or 18’s (7016/18’s) although I do prefer the WIA TC 16’s. We have a few caddy welders here which are ideal for the tacking job. The mig is not 3 phase due to availability of power supply and portability of the generator. It all has to be stowed away each night due to the weather conditions. Also large gen sets require more storage space which we don’t have. Hence our mig is a 15 amp “weldmaster” with a remote wire feed. The genset is a Honda V twin ULP petrol motor driving a 15 KVA generator. All in all, a trouble free outfit, so far.

36mm Deformed Bar Being Placed in Predrilled Holes
Photo by David (Horse) Barringhaus
I can also tell you that whilst welding you generally are standing in one place for some time. The only thing that really gets cold are your bloody toes. I’ve yet to have a day welding when my toes didn’t feel like ice blocks. The rest of you is bound up in pure wool thermal underwear Carhart jacket, welding leathers. But the old Antarctic socks just don’t cut it. Anyway, good excuse to go and have a cuppa and thaw out.
There is some aerial shots of the Wharf at another blog of mine, Aerial Images of Davis

There you have it. Just one of the jobs a boilermaker gets to do whilst in Antarctica. Now watch the epic slideshow which captures the project in a five minute snapshot.

Air Drill for Drilling Through Ice and Rock For 36mm Rebar
Photograph by David (Horse) Barringhaus 
Lifting Main Wall Frame. Frame Has to be Slung Using Fibre Slings Because Welding Has to be Done Whilst Crane is Still "Hooked" Up. Welding A Frame That is Slung Using Chains or Wire Slings Can Cause the Cranes Computer to Fail. Photograph by David (Horse) Barringhaus 

Lifting the Frame Into Place Photograph by David (Horse) Barringhaus 

Bolting the Side Frames to Main Frontal Frame. Dry Suits Being Worn Because the Water Temp. is minus 1.5
Photograph by David (Horse) Barringhaus 

Horse Welding 125mm RHS Pillon to Side Frame. Note Fibre Sling Being Used , Not Chains or Wire Sling.
Photograph by  Cliff (Rowdy) Davis

Horse Using Metal Displacement Technology to Trim Bottom Side Beam. It's All About the Science in Antarctica. Photograph by Cliff (Rowdy) Davis
Wall Frames With Cross Ties.  Gal.N36 Rebar. Conrete Plinth in Foreground
Photograph by David (Horse) Barringhaus 

Cross Tie Bars Gal. N36 Rebar Photograph by David (Horse) Barringhaus 

Cross Tie Bars N36 Rebar. Note Vertical N36 Bars. These are Up to 2m Long and Grouted Into Rock
Photograph by David (Horse) Barringhaus 

Rock Drilling For Conrete Plinth Rebar Photograph by David (Horse) Barringhaus 
Cross Tie Bars Being Back Filled Photograph by David (Horse) Barringhaus

Excavator Spreading Back Fill
Photograph by David (Horse) Barringhaus 

Antarctica by Air - According to a Boilermaker

Photograph by David (Horse) Barringhaus

Taking aerial photgraphs from any aircraft can be a photographers nightmare. Windows are usually scratched,dirty, have reflections in them, oddly shaped, the light source can be difficult to take control of. But when you get told to go off and take photographs of penguin rookeries 4 hours away by aircraft, you'll pretty much jump at the chance. So armed with my 3 cameras and alot of optimism, 5 other photographers, and 2 pilots we did our bit for science.

Photograph by David (Horse) Barringhaus
Some of my tips are:
1. Get a seat well away from wings, fixed wheels or skis and engines, especially if you are in a plane with an under wing, not so bad when in a twin otter with the wing over. When in a helicopter get the front seat as its has a much better view; and

2. Never use flash;and

3. Set your apperture at somewhere between F11 and F16. I usually use apperture priority. Watch your shutter speed. Keep it as high as possible. This depends alot on ground speed and how much shake you are getting from the aircraft; and

4. Look at setting your expossure compensation 1/3 to 2/3 stops under. Check your white balance setting; and

5. I use mostly a wide angle zoom of 24 - 70mm. This will obviously depend on altitudes of your flight; and

6. Watch how much time you spend with your eyes stuck looking through your view finder. With the constant rocking and jumping around, banking etc, you can become sick as in motion sickness.

7. I use 3 cameras only because Antarctica is a harsh place on DSLR cameras. Primary camera is a Canon 5D Mk11, second camera is a Canon 400D, and third an Olympus 8100 Tough.

8. Always carry extra batteries as the cold will drain the batteries quicker. My Canon 5D Mk11 has a battery grip with 2 batteries.

These are only some of my thoughts and really you need to assess the days light conditions to suit. I
See Air Antarctica Pics at my facebook album.
For images that are for sale in print,canvas, framed print and acrylic go to my online store

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Davis Workshop Sealed

Photograph by David (Horse) Barringhaus
 Well Hell, what do you do when you go to work and find a 1500kg Elephant Seal pup in the workshop. Grab a camera and take pictures of course. Ceril, as I will refer to him as, was the first Elephant Seal to appear at Davis this summer. He turned up a bit early as the sea ice is still fast and no other seal have yet to arrive. Ceril has traveled all around the station and does not seem to mind all the heavy machinery that we use during summer to maintain the station. In fact,Ceril, just lies around sleeping, opening his eyes occasionally to see who is taking pictures and disturbing his sleep.Now Ceril has worked out how to open our doors to our workshop, and why not. It's warm and cosey inside. Now you would think that once in a while could be accepted as a bit of a fluke at getting in by Ceril. But he managed to break into the workshop twice on the same day using two different doors. Onya Ceril.
The doors if your wondering are just like the big industrial fridge doors. They are around 6 inches (150mm) thick and have a large connecting bar which you push to disengage the two locking latches.

See also Elephant Seals Blog 

Photograph by David (Horse) Barringhaus

Photograph by David (Horse) Barringhaus

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Antarctic Wildlife - Elephant Seals

First Elephant Seal to Appear at Davis 2011 Summer
Photograph by David (Horse) Barringhaus

Scientific name: Mirounga leonina

Physical description

Southern elephant seals are named after the large proboscis (nose) of the adult males, which is used to make loud roaring sounds, especially during the mating season.
They are large ocean-going mammals with adult males weighing up to 3000 kg and adult females between 300 and 900 kg just prior to giving birth. Pups weigh about 40 kg at birth and are weaned after 24 days by which time they weigh on average 120 kg. A large weaner may weigh in excess of 220 kg.
They are big and cumbersome on land, but are superb swimmers and divers. Biologists have recorded them diving up to two kilometres deep and holding their breath under water for up to two hours.

Special adaptations

Elephant seals can navigate very accurately to feed. They can dive to over 1500 m and can stay submerged for up to two hours. Most dives are about 30 minutes duration and of depths between 300 and 800 m. The seals can dive constantly while at sea, spending about two minutes on the surface between dives.
Elephant seals are able to accomplish these amazing diving feats because they have evolved some special adaptations, by which they conserve energy very economically.
They have a torpedo shape, which accounts for their prowess in swimming and diving. And an enormous volume of blood in which to store oxygen, which they use very efficiently. Elephant seals even have extra spaces called sinuses in their abdomens to store extra blood.
Haemoglobin in red blood cells carries oxygen, and elephant seals have a lot more red blood cells per unit of blood than other animals. Their red blood cells may, as an adaptation for diving, contain more haemoglobin than normal. These extra red blood cells make elephant seals’ blood very thick. Elephant seal muscles are also used to store oxygen. Molecules of oxygen-carrying myoglobin are present in the muscles and colour them black. The analogy of fully charging a battery is sometimes used to describe their ability to take a breath and make the oxygen last for up to two hours.
Southern elephant seals have a thick layer of blubber that sustains them during the breeding season as they do not feed during this time.

Distribution and abundance

Southern elephant seals have a circumpolar distribution and visit subantarctic islands to breed (September-November) and to moult their hair and skin (January to April). There are four main stock groups: South Georgia, Peninsula Valdez, Iles Kerguelen (including Heard Island), and Macquarie Island.
From 1950 to 1985 the elephant seal populations at Macquarie Island, Heard Island, and others of the Iles Kerguelen stock declined by about 50%. Since then the population at Heard and Kerguelen has remained relatively stable but the Macquarie population has continued to decline at about 1.2% per year.
Australian scientists have tracked these seals using plastic ear tags. Elephant seals cruise the whole Southern Ocean and can swim enormous distances. Individuals spotted on Kerguelen Island, for example, have later been seen at Davis then Casey station in Antarctica.
For many years seals were killed for their blubber which was boiled down to make oil.
Conservation status: least concern


They breed on the ice in spring, from late September to early November. Females give birth to a single pup which is weaned 3–4 weeks after birth. During this time the female spends the entire time on the ice with the pup.
During the breeding season the female and pup are usually accompanied by a male which mates with the female when she comes into oestrous. The male plays no part in bringing up the pup, and the group disbands once the pup is weaned.

Diet and feeding

Elephant seals migrate south to Antarctica, after breeding or moulting, to feed on squid and fish at the edge of the sea-ice.
They travel long distances to their foraging areas. Males forage mainly on the Antarctic continental shelf while females forage in more pelagic areas, such as off the Antarctic shelf within the pack ice, or near the Antarctic Polar Frontal Zone. Foraging areas can be several thousand kilometres away from their breeding islands.

See also a small  Slideshow on the Elephant seals
Elephant Seals are also pretty smart and determined animals see Workshop Sealed
More Seal Pics at my Facebook Album Seals Around Davis
See also Weddell Seal , Leopard Seal and Antarctic Fur Seals.

For images that are for sale in print,canvas, framed print and acrylic go to my online store

First Elephant Seal in Davis Summer 2011 making his way to the Davis beach
Photograph by David (Horse) Barringhaus
Young Elephant Seal on Davis Station Beach
Photograph by David (Horse) Barringhaus

Young Elephant Seal on Davis Station Beach
Photograph by David (Horse) Barringhaus

Older Male Elephant Seals on Davis Station Beach Photograph by David (Horse) Barringhaus

Older Male Elephant Seals on Davis Station Beach Photograph by David (Horse) Barringhaus

Yong Elephant Seals in Mock Battle on Davis Station Beach Photograph by David (Horse) Barringhaus

Davis Station. Where the Hell is That?

The following info is copied directly from Wikipedia and saves you the trouble of going looking up all sorts of other stuff as well. Told you I was a lazy bastard . . .! Oh, If your trying to find it on the map above, go to the middle of the map, that's where all the blue lines sort of meet in the middle. Follow the little blue line thingy to the right until you hit the coastline of the greyish blob in the middle and then follow the coastline to the top about 1 cm. There we are! Just near the East Antarctic Ice sheet.

See also my other blog Aerial Photography of Davis Station. These aerial images where taken by me on the 21 Feb 2012.

Davis Station is a permanent base in Antarctica managed by the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD). It is the busiest Australian scientific research station. Davis Station is located at 68°35′S 77°58′E / 68.583°S 77.967°E / -68.583; 77.967 on the coast of Cooperation Sea in Princess Elizabeth Land (Ingrid Christensen Coast) in a remarkable ice free area (Antarctic oasis) of Antarctica known as the Vestfold Hills.

The first recorded sighting of the coastline now occupied by Davis Station was on 9 February 1931, during the second British Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition (BANZARE) voyage aboard Discovery. Sir Douglas Mawson and Flight Lieutenant Stuart Campbell sighted the Antarctic continent from a seaplane and named the high land to the southeast Princess Elizabeth Land.
The first recorded landing in the region was made in 1935 by the Norwegian whaler Captain Klarius Mikkelsen in the vessel Thorshavn. Mikkelsen named the hills after the Vestfold province of Norway, on the western side of Oslo Fjord, which he considered it resembled, and where the Christensen company's headquarters was located, at the town of Sandefjord.

Davis Station

On 20 February 1935, together with his wife and seven crew members (including the ship's dentist, Lief Sørsdal), Mikkelsen landed in a small bay on an unnamed island at the northern end of the Vestfold Hills. Mrs Caroline Mikkelsen was the first woman to set foot on the Antarctic continent and the party raised the Norwegian flag on an improvised flagpole and built a rock cairn to mark the site. This cairn was found by members of the Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions (ANARE) in 1960 but was lost for many years until its rediscovery in 1995. (As an interesting aside, Caroline Mikkelsen was still alive in 1996 and received word of the rediscovery of the original flag pole.) Captain Mikkelsen named the area "Ingrid Christensen Land" after the wife of the ship's owner, Lars Christensen. Mrs Christensen was later to land in Antarctica herself - on 30 January 1937, at Scullin Monolith (which the Norwegians called Klarius Mikkelsen Mountain).
The Thorshavn and Klarius Mikkelsen, along with Lars Christensen, were back in the Vestfold Hills area in the 1936–37 summer. An area to the immediate north of the Vestfold Hills was used as a take-off and landing area for a seaplane, from which oblique aerial photos were taken for mapping purposes. The first map of the Vestfold Hills, derived from this imagery, was published after WW2.
The next recorded visitors to the area were the American explorer Lincoln Ellsworth and his Australian aircraft pilot and observer, Sir Hubert Wilkins in Ellsworth's ship the Wyatt Earp. Despite Wilkins' protestations that Mawson had already claimed the area for Australia, Ellsworth planned to lodge a counter claim for America. In response to this, Wilkins took pre-emptive action and made two landings. The first was on one of the Rauer Islands, at 68° 46' South, 77° 50' East on 8 January 1939, and the second on a rocky outcrop at 68° 22' South 70° 33' East on 11 January 1939. At both of these locations he deposited decrees recognising Australia's right to ". . . administrate . . . those parts of His Majesty's dominions in the Antarctic Seas". Along with the decree he left a copy of the famous Australian geographical magazine 'Walkabout". Of three such sites, only the northern cairn has been located and hence the name "Walkabout Rocks".
During the U.S. Antarctic explorations that formed a part of "Operation Highjump" in 1947 the USS Currituck visited the area, but no landing took place. As part of Operation Highjump, the Vestfolds and surrounding were extensively photographed from the air.
The first ANARE landing in the Vestfold Hills was made on 3 March 1954 by Phillip Law, Peter Shaw, John Hansen, Arthur Gwynn and R. Thompson. They raised the Australian flag at Law Cairn, to the north of Davis Station, but had to return to their ship soon after due to deteriorating weather.
On 12 January 1956, members of the Soviet Antarctic Expedition landed on the Ingrid Christensen Coast, in preparation for the International Geophysical Year (1957–58). The Soviets did not stay for long but even today the Russian presence is betrayed by some distinctively Russian names on the map (Lakes Lebed, Zvezda and Druzhby among them) They later established their base at Mirny Station, some 350km to the east of Davis.
As Phillip Law recalled during a short visit to Davis on 11 January 1998, it was felt that if Australia did not establish a base in the Vestfold Hills the Russians would, and so in 1955 the Australian Government announced that a new station would be established in the Vestfold Hills.
A further exploratory visit was made by ANARE in January 1955 that involved two teams traversing much of the Vestfold Hills. During January 1957, an ANARE party led by Dr Phillip Law sailing on the Kista Dan attempted to locate a suitable site for the station. This proved difficult due to a lack of good ship anchorages and a scarcity of fresh water sources. On 12 January, after two days of attempting to find a suitable site, a last minute decision was made to locate the station on a small rocky plateau located above a black sandy beach. Unloading began immediately and, on 13 January 1957, a small ceremony was held to officially open the new station. It was named Davis " . . .to honour Captain John King Davis, a famous Antarctic navigator and captain . . . at present . . . living in Melbourne, a member of the ANARE Planning Committee". (Law's address on the day). After the ceremony, unloading recommenced and continued until 20 January when the Kista Dan sailed. The Kista Dan made a return visit to Davis later dropping off dogs and one more expeditioner.
Bob Dingle, Alan Hawker, Nils Lied, Bill Lucas and Bruce Stinear made up the first party to winter in the Vestfold Hills. The party was not completely isolated however as Auster aircraft flew between Mawson Station and Davis several times that year exchanging personnel and supplies.
Davis was temporarily closed on 25 January 1965 in order to make resources available for the rebuilding of Casey Station. It was reopened on 15 February 1969 and has been continuously occupied since that time. The original small huts ("dongas") fell into disuse and disrepair from the late 1970s / early 1980s, with a major rebuilding program.
Davis has become the busiest of Australia's Antarctic stations supporting a wide variety of scientific research in both the local and surrounding areas during the summer time. During the winter time, the principal research activity is Upper Atmospheric Physics.

For images that are for sale in print,canvas, framed print and acrylic go to my online store

Resupply of Davis Station - According to a Boilermaker

The resupply of Davis is different from that of Casey. Whereas the Casey resupply is done over open water using jet barges, Davis resupply is done over sea ice that is over 1.5 m thick. This ice can, so I've been told, stand well over 100 tonnes of weight. This is very reassuring given I'm driving a Mack truck with a payload of 12t and observing the offloading of mobile cranes and rock crushers with weights of over 30t.

Other determining factors that make the resupply different is that the resupply of Davis is done one (1) month ahead of Casey. This means that the sea ice is still packed tight after the winter. Also Davis has a closed harbour with islands stopping the sea ice from being blown out. Casey on the other hand has an open harbour and a higher average wind speed allowing sea ice to be easily blown out of the harbour. 

So, the  Aurora Australis breaks its way into the Davis harbour using its 13400 hp engine and its icebreaking hull. It gets to within about 2.5km of the shore and parks up. The ice remains solid around the ship with only a small gap around the hull that is open to the sea. The ice can not go anywhere or move as it is locked into the surrounding shorelines of islands and the greater continent of Antarctica. This is also reassuring as one drives along the snow plowed roads built to allow transport vehicles to move cargo to and from the ship. I've included more pics of the Davis resupply at my facebook album.

For images that are for sale in print,canvas, framed print and acrylic go to my online store

Icebergs Heading South - According to a Boilermaker

 You know when you used to go to a friends house and they'd pull out 30 000 slides of waterfalls, sunsets, beach scenes and you would have to politely endure what seemed to be an eternity of relentless, "wow, what a great shot." or " Looks like you had a great time," moments, well, icebergs seem to have same effect on some photographers. There seems to be no end of these floating ice cubes, each with their unique shape and colours. Perhaps what one is trying to capture is not only the uniqueness of the iceberg, but the dare I say the spiritual feeling about the place you are in.
Unfortunately that is really not possible with places like Antarctica. Icebergs started to appear around the 60 degrees South parallel. This as it turns out to be the actual start of the Southern Ocean decreed by the Oceanographic Society. Anyway, nobody really gives a hoot where this ocean actually starts and finishes except to say the water is bloody cold, down to - 1.7 degrees C and its rough. Back to the Icebergs, don't know much about them at all. Some are formed from glaciers braking off from the Antarctic continent making them mostly fresh water. Some are frozen sea water build up over years rafting up on top of others. Add a little snow on top and you've got icebergs. Some of these things are massive. The Aurora Australis is dwarfed by these things, some of which could house a small city on. As much as I tried, I did not capture 30 000 icebergs on file. Not from the lack of trying. But if you are keen I've got a couple more on this link to more icebergs.

For images that are for sale in print,canvas, framed print and acrylic go to my online store

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Returning to Antarctica

I must appologise for being a little slow in getting going with this blog again due to two main factors, laziness and a very slow internet connection.
Resupply start at Davis - Ice 1.6 metres thick
On my return to Australia from the last summer season in April of this year(2011), I thought I was going to get some time at home to reacquaint myself with my wife and family. However coming from a mining and construction background it was within 2 weeks I was offered a new contract back in Western Australia completing a contract for BHP. On the same day as the WA offer came the offer to return to Antarctica, this time at Davis Station. Hell, what a buggar.As it turned out the contract in WA was for only 4 months, and I didn't need to be back in Hobart for my southern departure until early October. So as a money hungry boilermaker looking to retire early, I took both offers. I completed the WA job early September,six weeks at home doing a few odd jobs like concreting the driveway and plumbing in a new washing machine, and arrived down Hobart to catch the Aurora Australis south again. Now, the trip south I thought was going to be a bit dodgy when it came to me being sea sick for the first day on board on my first trip. So I took some 25mg phenergan to counter any illness that may befall me. It worked. Had a sickness free trip. It took around 17 days to get here. Not too boring as we had some great talks from our scientists on board and Tui de Roy, a world renowned wildlife photographer who came down to photograph the emperor penguins. Would loved to have gone a shooting trek with her but I'm here to build  and repair things. However, as some of you may know, I do like to take a few snaps, so I've included some of my trip down that being mainly of icebergs and birds in up coming blogs

For images that are for sale in print,canvas, framed print and acrylic go to my online store