Archive | April, 2008

Busy Hap

27 Apr

Howdy people,

well I have been a busy little Hap of late, hence the lack of posts. 

I have been growing a moustache which has been keeping me very occupied, you may get a glimpse of it in the photos at the end. 

But no that is not the reason I have been busy. I have been writting a newspaper article on working in the Western Australian Mining industry, as there is a big myth back home in New Zealand that it is really easy to get work over here, which it is not, basically its all about who you know.  But I have finished that, and will try and get that published.  Writing a newspaper article is quite hard, well for me anyway, it means I have to be serious, its amazing how much unserious stuff comes into my head, and I’m glad I’ve finally finished it, cheers to Dad for the proofreading and cheers to Sarah for being the little legend she is.

I have also been applying for jobs at Scott Base in Antarctica, as they do all their recruitment for the upcoming season (End of year) 2 weeks in April, so I have been spending my nights at work filling out the application forms etc.  I have been applying for cleaning jobs, hahaha, to think I’m going to give up highest paid job I’ve ever had and I love, to go and clean toilets in -40! hahaha, classic.  But it’s extremely competitive with 100’s of people applying for the 3 cleaning positions. So please everyone cross your fingers and legs that i get accepted for Scott Base, would be awesome (even though it would suck leaving my present job)!

What makes it even more cool is that I just got great news today, that Amanda my girlfriend is pregnant, hahahah, no, that would require us being in the same country, I digress, she just got accepted for work at Mcmurdo Base in Antarctica for the upcoming season,   I applied for work there aswell, but as its an American Base, you require an American work visa, yeah we all know that my track record with US immigration does not help that process.

Also, works been flat out which is another reason for my lack of communication. We have started our regional exploration stuff, which I’m loving, out camping in the middle of nowhere, actually it use to be an old mine camp back in the 60’s, but theres only a few concrete pads and rusted out old machinery left.  But we have a great crew of guys down there, myself and the Geo and the drill crew.  Have a caravan which we use for cooking etc, and then sleep out under the stars on swags (Ozzie invention which incorporates a sleeping bag and mattress rolled into one), and have been working out my massive thighs and bringing back memories of Korea with squatting.

So I have been away from Woodie Woodie mine camp, so have been even more removed from communication, internet, phones (my cell phone doesn’t work in Woodie anyway) no nothing, just finish work, light the fire, cook dinner, have a few beers and play cards, the simple things.  The weather is quite nice up here at present, its not so hot, the flies have calmed down (thank god, as that would make going to the toilet a nightmare), its just blue skies and temps in the high 20’s low 30’s on hot days, and cool at night. perfect!

Well thats me, theres a post a couple back of the awesome house I’m living in in Cottesloe, Perth………………………. just got an email from Bugz saying that we have to be out in May, hahaha., was good while it lasted!  Amanda the girlfriend comes out start of July (we meet up in Bali start of June), she going to come and live with her deported boyfriend, who is know homeless, hahahaa, shit I’m a catch.

Hope everyone is fine and dandy in your respective parts of the world.

Peace, love, rainbows, flowers and skipping kangaroos,

Nuthin but love hap

PS: Kangaroo’s are my new favourite animal, see heaps of them on a daily basis bouncing around keeping me company and scaring me uphere.

 

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What is it I do?

18 Apr

Since the start of the year I have been working as an Exploration Field Assistant (Fieldy) in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.  I describe being a Filedy as a cross between an outback council worker and a boy scout.  When I first started I couldn’t believe I was being paid to 4WD and hike around the outback. This is one of my most enjoyable jobs from my 5 years of working the world. 

But like any job you have your days. You know the days, the ones when you have had a bad nights sleep, and all the little things that don’t usually annoy you, start to really annoy you, like the office chap whose too happy. Well out here, theres plenty of things that annoy yousomedays the flies and heat get to you, sometimes you wish you worked a 40 hour week instead of 84 hours, but on the whole I love being a Fieldy and would be one of my favourite jobs out of my 5 years of working the world. And if you ever ask me if I like my job, I will reply “I love it, I get paid to be a boy scout”!.

I get flown up to Woodie Woodie, a Manganese mine which is 3 1/2 hours flying from Perth.  My 2 weeks up in camp (there is no town here, it is just a mining camp) consists of working 12 hours (starting at 5am) and then having 12 hours off, then working 12 hours etc, until my 2 weeks is up.

The goal of the Exploration Department, is to find Manganese, which is used in the production of steel. This process involves drilling the extensive area surrounding the current mines, sometimes 1 hour of off-roading from site. 

  

Being a Field Assistant (Fieldy) my 12 hours of work is quite varied, which is lucky for me, as many jobs in the mines are monotonous (but paid better). For example the dump truck drivers that drive the same short route for 12hours a day (The dump trucks are surprisinly easy to operate considering they look so menacing, they are automatic,  an up down lever operates the tray and theres a rear view camera to help reverse).

As a Fieldy my tasks involve:

  • Laying out gridlines– This involves using DGPS and walking kilometre upon kilometre in a straight line, marking every 100 metres with ribbon (we have 320km of grids to walk in the coming months – I’m going to be a walking skeleton). We do this so some fellas (Geophysics) can come along and send messages into the ground and then the Manganese sends little messages up to the surface saying “I’m in here, come and get me”. 

 

 
  • Pegging– Using GPS and pegging out drill sites where the rigs will drill (hopefully where there is “Mango”)

 

 

  • Sampling – After the holes have been drilled, I come along and sample them (basically I put dirt in a bag – it all looks like dirt to me)

 

 

  • Rehabilitate the drill site – When they have finished drilling I then come back and cut the collar (plastic piping in the ground where the drill hole is), plug it (so Kangaroos don’t fall down) and try and make it look like no one has been there (try but its pretty bloody hard when a bulldozer has leveled the place – the cost of wanting steel I suppose)

 

 

  • Office work– Yep, I get on my little secretary skirt (Feminists, no sexiest conatations intended – men wear skirts, maybe I’m a Fijian Secretary) and input some data (and check my email and drink coffee).

 

Now that the cyclone season has finished we will be starting our regional work. This will see us setting up small camps with caravans and swags (Aussie invention involving a mattress and sleeping bag in one – The best thing to come out of Australia) further into the middle of nowhere. From these camps we will work as we look for the elusive manganese. So hopefully the future is dark! (get it  – Manganese is black)

5 years!

9 Apr

April 7th 2003 was the day I arrived in Korea at the start of my little journey aged 21, short haired, clean shaven and innocent. To think its been 5 years and now I’m 26, dreadlocked, bearded (in the poorest sense of the word, its a disgrace really, it’s more like a wayward goaty), and not so innocent (don’t really think I was all that innocent to start with).

I Never thought I would of been working in the Australian outback 5 years on, didn’t actually know what I would of been doing.

But would just like to thank all those people who have helped me over the years, giving me a couch to surf, getting me work, looking after my traveling/broke/homeless/deported/injured butt.

To all the people I have met over the 5 years of travel, its been a blast, heres to another 3 and a half.

Nuthin but love hap 

 

Where do I live?

2 Apr

When people ask me where I live and I reply “Cottesloe”, they are probably thinking to themselves, ‘How does a scruffy hippy fella like him live in Cottesloe, he must just park his combi on the street there and use the public toilet facilities’.

The Norfolk Pine Lined streets of Cottesloe 5 mins walk to thise!

Cottesloeis a pretty wealthy Suburb of Perth, due to its close proximity to beautiful gold sand beaches and Norfolk pine lined streets. The house down the road from us is going for $2,000,000 to give you an idea. When Heath Ledger (famous Aussie actor) had his funeral in Perth, all the superstars were seen swimming at Cottesloe beach. In saying all that, it is not a pretentious place, its still relaxed and attracts a mixed crowd of people, especially a young crowd at the beaches and the bars.

Its so relaxed, that when I ‘m home on my week of R&R, I get out of bed, put on my boardies, walk down to the corner deli for a coffee, I don’t even bother to put on a shirt or jandals – thats how it should be. I love it, it reminds me of being in a Mexican beach town, the only difference being that I have control of my bowels, its first world, people generally understand me, I have money and they sell more than taco’s.

The postcard shot of Cottesloe Surf life saving club Main Cott Beach

So how did I end up living in Cottesloe.  I was very lucky, or unlucky, depending on how you look at it.  The mining boom has attracted thousands of people, putting extreme pressure on accommodation that has seen rent/house prices sky rocket due to the competition. 

When going to look at open home rental properties, there would be groups of people waiting outside. So the competition was steep, especially when 6 young people are competing with families. The only time I went along for an open home, I had to wait around the corner (in a 1970’s leaking Holden Kingswood), like a stinky dog being locked in the cupboard while the dinner party guests arrive – it was in the best interests of our group, as we sent our 2 most respectable members posing as a couple.

So after 2 months in Perth, we had been accepted for 2 places. Our dream house that was 2 storied, close to the beach and subway with a swimming pool that had a bar in the middle, only to have it taken from under us a couple of days before move-in due to a “family emergency”-we were even paying $650 a week rent (straight off the bat we had offered $50 more a week than they were asking).

Our palace on Kathleen St Poker in the Outside zone

But as things tend to do, it all fell into place like waking up in your own bed after a big night out. The mates place where Bugz and I had been crashing since in Perth had 2 flatmates move out, so we officially moved in last week. And it just happened to be in Cottesloe (Their parents had originally signed the lease, but have since moved up north)

Sunset at the end of the road Watching sunset with some of the crew

Its a great location, 5 mins walk to the train station that takes 15/20 mins to get to downtown Perth, or head the other direction to Fremantle. Our house is 5 mins walk to amazing golden sand beaches that see great sunsets. I can not say enough good things about the WA beaches. Its great to live in Perth, a big city, but yet have access to uncrowded beaches that rival the best in the world (for cities).

Having a Sunday afternoon coffee in Cott watching the girls………i mean day pass us by. Oz day spent beside the pool

As well as the primo location, its a primo house. It has 5 bedrooms, a pool, outside relaxing area and is big. Also for once I don’t have the gimp room, infact I would call it the pimp room. I have the 2nd storey (consists of only my room) to myself, with red carpet and even the pimping (tacky)fake zebra duvet cover that I picked up half priced (I wonder why). 

Dinners is served at Kathleen St  The zebra duvet cover adding the last touch to the room

 Oh, and also, the most important factor to any great house, is great people. No doubt a few people reading this blog will recognise a few familiar faces, made up of Waimea College and Otago Uni faces. 

Fingers cross that when the lease comes up in May, all goes well.