First Week of Australian Antarctic Training

hey hey all, finally getting time to sit down an write! So, made it over to hobart just fine. kinda came the long way – queenstown – sydney – melbourne – hobart, but didnt have long in between flights.
Was straigt off to Aus Antarctic Division (aka AAD) early next morning. a bus picks us up from our apartments – its about a 15 minute drive.
First day was AAD 101 type stuff.. theres about 8 of us – ‘AGSO’s (Airport Ground Support) – yes, im fully back in the world of acronyms! Not all of us in this group will be at Wilkins – were split between 3 air strips / bases. So, ive met all my crew for Wilkins. Theres 8 of us ranging from 24 – 45 (our boss is 45). One of the guys is very quiet and keeps to himself (which stands out immeasurably), but me and the other 4 guys have bonded like selleys no more gaps 🙂

the friday was pretty much another cruisy day, with a bit of a tour around the AAD. The aads HUGE, three massive buildings, with warehousing and storage out the back. Parts of it are open to the public – cafe, small museum and display pieces – theres also a library, which i found on day one, AWESOME! Its all pertaining to the ice – from really old journals to modern novels – and two older men running it, very enthusiastic about their books i might add!

Friday night a small group of us went out – found a fantastic bar called ‘Grape’ which specialises in wine. Its heavenly, wine wine everywhere! I was hell bent on having a tuna steak for dinner – were near the sea so its seafood restaurants galore, but I couldnt find anywhere that did them, and the boys got sick of me towing them from restaurant to restaurant! So we settled in at Grape – and later on in the night I had salmon pizza, which was divine!

Next day was pretty low key – ive joined the local gym, which is the Hobart Aquatic centre, its about a ten minute walk away from where Im staying. The Australian Short Course championships were held there for the last week, kinda cool to see from where Im working out – one side of the gym looks down onto the pool.

Sunday – me and my ‘4 work cronies’ went into town for breakfast – eggs benedict at Grape, great coffee, then a visit to the national museum, there’s an Antarctic display on at the moment.

Monday at AAD was spent doing ‘Crew Resource Management Training’ – Im still a tad unclear about the gist of that whole course, as none of us are recruiting, managing or running aviation sections (it was aviation specific), however, its something different.. I think the aim of it was team building – and we get a certificate for doing it.

And then Tuesday, we started our ‘Wilderness First Aid’ course – an 8 day course that far out-shone any other first aid course Ive ever done!! I wondered about comparing it to New Zealands ‘Pre Hospital Emergency Care’ – but it differs from that again, because its aimed for those who work at least an hour away from ‘definitive medical care’. There was 21 of us in all, and we had scenario after scenario, with lessons in between. These scenarios included make-up for bruising, shock, heat etc, white chocolate pieces for teeth (tempting to ‘eat your teeth’), and a sickly, sweet mix of fake blood, that a group of us had injected up our noses for a fake fall incident (and a mouthful of it, with ‘white chocolate teeth’, that we had to let dribble out.. ) Ive never done anything as full on in my life (first aid wise) and though it was a bit of a mental drain, I flew through the 4 hours of exams yesterday – certificate on its way! The 5th day had a ‘night scenario’ – we went out into the bush in groups of five and had two ‘incidents’ to deal with. None of us knew who the patients were going to be, or what would happen – we had an ‘epileptic fit’ within the first five minutes, and then a ‘broken ankle’. Amazingly, after a very wet few days, it was a beautiful, clear starry night. We were done by 10.30pm.

Ive ha one apartment mate come and go, a French girl who drives small inflatable water craft, and now, I have a doctor staying here. She’s here for 3 weeks. She doesn’t have a base to go to – she’s down as a ‘spare’, but she’s here to do her crash courses in physio and dental care.

So, Im on days off at the moment, a nice mid-week break after such full on first aid training. I gymed this morning and then went into town for a mosey around. I like Hobart, its very like Wellington – lots of colonial style houses, wooden, colorful and colonial styles. It’s been incredibly wet lately, and swings from being cold to then mild and clammy – bring on Antarctic summer I say!

I WILL HAVE email contact at my base, its limited (NO photos or large files please) and its an address I can use now if anyone wants to start using it –

muchos lovos


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