Archive for August, 2010

Antarctica Training, round three!
August 31, 2010

Hi again

so here i am, back in Hobart preparing for another season on the ice, with the Australians.  week three of training has just commenced, and while im not directly invovled with the training happening this week (its all what I call ‘man training’ stuff, in heavy plant machinery) Im busy helping out – sorting things for cargo flights etc.  And that included sorting myself – well, my chef gear is on this same, important cargo flight.  This year, im adamant I will take less gear – and i dont mean on that cargo flight, I mean in general.  Third time around, and Im hoping ive learnt from the past!

Ok, so what happens in Antarctic training? well, we started nearly three weeks ago.  We had two days that involved the smaller necessities – bank account details and tax numbers for payment, issuing of antarctic clothing, internet usage both before and after the ice, finding where our offices are (there in a different location this year than last year, and I like the new one, its a building now, not just one room with desks and pc’s-  we have a conference room, kitchenette and bathroom, sorted!) oh, and lots of 2 person offices.  Its a bit of a longer walk to the cafe, but, Im still caffeine free so, who cares!

So, the two days were done – meeting greeting etc etc and then, the following monday, we started on ‘Aviation Meteorology training’.  I did this course last year, but, it was a week longer this year.  Its a great course, you learn a lot, (re: there is A LOT to learn in two weeks!), and each week has an exam at the end.  This was like being back at school, and it comes with its stresses, naturally, but, although i dont know the marks for my second exam, i was 94/100 for the first one.

So what do we cover? The first  week covered more on the hows and whys of cloud formation around the  globe, paying more attention to antarctic patterns.  Air movements, winds, moisture, pressures and aviation.. Week two was looking at more specific aviatic forecasting.  What pilots look at and what it means.  Its quite something to make sense of what, initially, looks like two to 5 lines of numbers and letters – but when it makes sense, its kinda cool.  I struggled with Zulu time, and UTC time – and smaller nuances in types of forecasts – which depends on whats happening with the weather, as to how often a forecast is done and what has to be included in it..

Then there’s the cloud types, which is its own science, but this year, I felt as if I clicked more with clouds.  The more I think about it, the more they make sense – like literally, from the latin bases of the names, to the height they sit in the  sky.

And, thanks to my trusty iPhone, I now have some cloud and aviation apps, which should, hopefully, help keep me in the loop! This year, we will spend up to five days with a forecaster from Casey Station, and then, all going well, be ‘passed out’ – which means getting a Certificate in ‘Antarctic Aviation Meteorology’, valid for two years, sweet!

thats it for now.

margs 🙂