From the island…1/6/2016

Stephen Horn down Antipodes Island.

Stephen Horn down Antipodes Island.

Stephen Horn(Project Manager) updates from Antipodes

1/6/2016. 8:17pm

Still next to no rain since arrival – just drizzle that blows past so fast that it is almost drying. Forecasting has been excellent so far – all the wind shifts in terms of speed and direction basically bang on and given us good planning ability. Team going exceptionally well – working hard and achieving a lot. Everyday the plans that we have been working on for months and in some cases years are taking more physical shape. Pete has been preparing about 9 cups of porridge each night ready for the morning so we tucked in again this morning at 6 am and talked to the Norfolk Guardian at 7am, who had moved out in front of us here in Anchorage Bay early this morning from Mirounga Bay. The crew had been up since 2 am this morning preparing loads – moving them around the hold and into position, all doing a fantastic job. The Evohe also came into the Bay first thing, swinging a lot more noticably in the swells than the larger ship.  Jamie Doube had readied the 38 empty Industrial Bulk Containers (IBCs) that we need to fill with water to ballast the hangar. They were tied up in an intricate stack of 8 IBCs double stacked in fours. We were worried they wouldn’t fly very well but they came over fine – it just took us a while this evening to figure out how to undo the strops – Mark and I had to get the engineer involved! We had a great day in the end – received 69 of the total 94 bait loads (25 remaining on the ship) and 39 drums of fuel, about 35 loads of fuel to go, plus about 10 sundry loads of bait buckets, blade boxes etc. The team at LP3 worked in a brisk south westerly breeze all day with the odd bucket of food delivered to keep them going.

The construction team were back in the mud today – the dumpy level has been getting a workout over the past few days getting the site level for the heliplatform and hangar. Everytime I walk past I am in awe of the skill of the guys on the diggers and constructing the hangar. The first runs of timber were laid into the muddy site today – tomorrow will be a big push on the platform then getting the diggers cleaned up before breaking them down to go back to the ship. We need to get a fair bit of mud off them before they will be light enough to fly. We also got the pump going, so we now have 14 tonne of the 38 tonne of water we need in the tanks, close to the heliplatform – ready to pump up to the site when we are ready. We will continue with this work tomorrow.

With all the activity going on it is great to get back to the hut and find a delicious meal ready for us. It is dark about 4.40 at the moment so we are generally getting to the warmth of the diesel stove by 5 pm. The living room is cosy with 17 people finding place around the table to talk about the days events and wait for dinner. Bedtime has been pretty early, it is a little like Everest base camp to look at, with 9 orange macpac tents pockmarked in the tussock around the buildings. We had to shift the longdrop on day two – so it now has an amazing view out over Bollons Island. I have to give a big thanks to the Evohe crew who are bobbing around in the bay supporting us – waiting to take the build crew home. One of their crew – Ray Linton is a professional digger driver and has been helping us out on the island for the past 3 days.

So far so good – some windy days ahead by the looks of it, hoping to get the ship away early next week.