Stephen Horn – Project Manager, updates from Antipodes.
All going well so far – lots of complex operations completed which is pleasing. We had another good day yesterday. We started clearing helicopter landing sites lower down the hill and closer to the hut as I was concerned about the 30 kt easterlies forecast for last night and this week. We dug in 4 deadman anchors per helicopter over the course of the day and the team on the Norfolk Guardian worked away from 7.30 to 9.30 getting the first helicopter ready – extracted from the hold and out onto the deck with the blades fitted. The first helicopter landed on the island about 9.45 – it was a great sight and good feeling to see Tony there. The ship was operating in Anchorage Bay. The second squirrel came off just before midday and we started lifting some cargo off about 1.30pm (heli fuel and petrol). The team worked well, the weather conditions in the morning were good. The forecast was for easterlies rising to 25 kts by 2 pm but they built slowly and we were able to complete cargo loads between 1.30pm and finishing by 4.15pm. Darron did the first 10 loads to get his fuel down before lifting the two diggers into place (970 kg loads). All went well and they landed them onto the grating we set up earlier with good control. Jamie was coordinating the heli loads at the ship end and James Ware did an outstanding job receiving loads at this end with Keith Springer calling in the pilot. The third helicopter (the R44) was slung loaded onto the island right at the end of the day. It was an amazing sight to see two helicopters, one on a long line under the other flying towards us. John Henderson and Ray Linton (Evohe crew and Digger driver)came ashore with the Evohe tender as well as the helicopter engineer. It was dark by 4.45pm so we worked to finish the securing of helicopters and they worked until about 6pm to assemble the first digger before coming down for dinner. Pete cooked a great curry for 17 and has quelled any fears the team may have had that the reason he laid low on the boat was that he can’t actually cook. We have 5 tent sites set up but need about another four. Three of us slept on the floor in the living room last night in the mean time. Feeling for the vessels parked up in the swell at the moment and possibly for the next few days. Operations may be possible on Tuesday morning with a easing of wind – will wait and see. We have 215 loads left to come off the Norfolk Guardian. John and Ray busy levelling the hangar site at present now that the two diggers were finished being put together this morning.