Archive | September, 2008

Welcome Waimea Weekly Readers

22 Sep

G’day Waimea Weekly Readers,

If after reading the article in the Waimea Weekly about my goal to live and work in every continent of the world before I’m 30, Welcome.

I will take this chance to say what a great job the team do at the Waimea Weekly. Its great to come home to Richmond and read up on what’s been happening, they have created a real community feel – two thumbs up Waimea Weekly! But watch out for that AJ, I’m pretty sure he was hitting on me when he was interviewing me – haha, just kidding AJ mate.

I created my blog site to act as an on-the-road journal for myself. Also it allowed friends and family to keep track of my whereabouts.  Please feel free to browse the site and see where my goal has taken me over the past 5 years. 

If you want you can sign up on the right hand side and get updates sent straight to your email. But please be aware that my blog is not affiliated with anyone and the content is the independent and politically incorrect thoughts of myself – haha.

If you clicked on my blog to check out what I’m currently doing in Perth, Western Australia and want more information on the mining industry etc, click on the previous post links below:

Where am I working?

What is my job?

The harsh outback environment (flies and heat)

Photos from the remote Ripon Hills Exploration Camp

A day I would rather forget!

Thanks for visiting and please feel free to come again. Hope you enjoyed it, now get outside and go and enjoy that beautiful place that you know as Richmond and are lucky enough to call home!

Nuthin But Love Hap

Life in a Mining Camp.

20 Sep

For sometime now I’ve been meaning to do a post on life in a mining camp for those of you that are curious as to what it is really like. 

I personally love it. Whats not to love about getting your meals cooked for you, room cleaned, free gym membership etc. And whats better is that as of last month I now work a 8:6 roster, so I work 8 days and then have 6 days off, compared to my previous 2 weeks work, 1 week off. 

Although for some the camp lifestyle wears thin after awhile. Away from the wife/husband and kids (isn’t that a good thing? – haha),  camp food, hot weather etc.

My camp is located 400km south east of Port Hedland in Western Australia (Map of Western Australia) at Woodie Woodie Manganese mine. All the mine employees get flown up to Woodie Woodie from Perth on a 30 seater Brasilia airplane, the flight takes 3 hours and lands at the mine airstrip.

The closest town is Marble Bar just over an hour away. After 8 months I still haven’t been there, and with its claim to fame is being “the hottest recorded place in Australia” I don’t really have much desire to go there, although it has one pub! Woodie is in the middle of nowhere, its just the mine and the camp, that’s it.

As far as camps go, Woodie Woodie is apparently scrapping the bottom of the barrel as it does not have cell phone coverage or reliable internet for personal use, and these comforts (or maybe these days, necessities) are pretty important, especially if you have a family back in Perth. This is probably why the camp turnover rate is so high, being estimated around 80%. Although a new camp is planned to be completed by the start of 2009.

The people that complain about conditions are usually people that have worked in the mining industry for a long time and are use to the high standards of other camps. But for me being new to the industry and compared to the oil/gas rig camps I was staying at in Canada, Woodie is 5 star

Some of the Western Australian mining camps should be called Mining resorts. My mate works at Tefler Gold mine, they have a basketball court, Olympic sized swimming pool, massive gym, big bar, driving range, playing field, a bowling green, en-suite rooms with internet/phone, plus they get air points for flying to work!  – and they pay you to stay there!

So now I will run you through my typical day at work.

0440– beep beep beep – No your not stuck in traffic, its that dreaded sound that pulls you from the lovely dreamland and signals the start of the day. I bounce out of bed ready for another glorious day in the Mining Industry.  I start my extensive beauty regime, I apply my make-up, brush my hair, have a shave – NO – I put on my clothes, do 20 minutes of back exercises, then its off out the door.

0510– Breakfast time runs for a few hours, from about 4am to 7.30am. As they have to cater for the guys starting day shift at 5.30am and the guy’s finishing night shift at 5.30am. There’s breakfast options for everyone, for the people that want type 2 diabetes there’s always a cooked breakfast, aswell as cereals and fruit etc.  You also pick-up your lunch for the day at a self serve buffet counter, with breads, salads, lunch meats, fruit etc on offer.

0530– Each department eg Exploration, Mining, Dewatering etc have there morning shift change/safety meeting.  The first thing completed is the pre-shift alcohol breatho, where you have to blow zero’s before starting work. A safety topic is discussed, an update given from the night shifts drilling (mines are 24/7 operations) and tasks to be completed for the day planned.

0545-1730 – Then for the following 12 hours I complete my tasks (I work as an Exploration Field Assistant which involves taking samples, marking out drill sites, etc – basically I’m a boy scout). If you are interested in what I do click here on this link What is my job?

1745-1830– This time I usually go to the gym and work on adding some meat to my skeletal system – I think I’m one of not many on-site that has a 24pack (of ribs). The mine site also has an on-site Physiologist who organises events each night, eg fitball classes, volleyball etc. 

 1830-1900 – After showering, its time for dinner at the communal mess hall (dining hall), where you choose from 3 meal options and side dishes. Dinners served from 1600 to 1930.

 1900 – 2000– Sometimes I head down to the wet mess (bar) for a beer after dinner.  The Wet mess opens at 1700 and shuts at 2030.  Although now with the new astroturf soccer field in place there’s less time spent in the wet mess which benefits the health and wallet, although the on-site injuries have skyrocketed with some rough soccer games, haha 

2000 – till bed time-Then its back to my Donga (the name for your allocated room with accompanying ensuite) where I chill out, read a book, watch a movie or just hit the sack and get ready to do it all again tomorrow.  It can sometimes feel like ground-hog day especially when you stay and work a long swing (4 weeks etc).

So thats my life while at camp. And before you know it, its fly out day and your on the plane back to Perth, woop woop!

Perth City to Surf Half Marathon

6 Sep

Hello my good friends.

Aaahhhhhhh, what a beautiful day it is today! Today is one of those Perth blue skied days, its Tuesday morning, most people are at work, but I am not. But despite all this, the reason today is more beautiful than other days is because I don’t have to go for a run! Yep, no more running for me, no little voice in the back of your heading going ‘Hap you must go running now, if you don’t go now you have to go later, you have a 1/2 marathon coming up, no don’t sit down with your friends and relax, go for a run!‘. LEAVE ME ALONE ANNOYING LITTLE VOICE!

Yep Sunday signalled the beginning and end of my running career.  It was about 5 weeks ago that good friend and fitness fanatic Ngaire suggested we do the Perth City to Surf Half Marathon, which for those of you that don’t know involves 21km of running fun.

I have only done one other 1/2 marathon and that was over 5 years ago at Outward Bound, and I have always wanted to have another shot at doing one, so there was no better time than the present, since I have semi “settled down”.

The last 5 weeks I have been doing my best to train, but its usually pretty hard when your at the mines, doing 12 hour shifts doesn’t leave much time (or daylight) to go for a decent run, although I did my best and ended up getting pretty fit.  I also totally embraced the psychological form of preparation, (its just easier, and it doesn’t involve running). My goal was to get under 1hr30min, which was pretty ambitious, but I had a good feeling.

Anyway, race day came around, sickness and injuries had depleted our crew, Ngaire the ring leader guttingly for her had to pull out due to a virus.  But there were still myself, Mandy, Stu and Sam (the evening before when we were coming back from climbing and I suggested to Sam he take Ngaires race pack and do it, he couldn’t think of any good excuses why not, so he did it – that’s the spirit!) 

So where was I, oh yeah Race Day. Kick off, or what ever you call the start for a half marathon was at 7.15am.  By this time I had already done number 2’s 3 times. I must have been nervous, why? I don’t know. What makes you more nervous is using a public toilet early on a Sunday morning with no lock on the door and 37,000 City to Surf participants converging on central Perth!

Long story short, well actually its not that long.  I hated life for nearly an hour an a half, I crossed the line, continued to dry heave my guts up while concerned volunteers asked if I was OK “I”m OK……..I just need to find a place to die”.  Then over the loud speaker booms the commentators voice “and about to cross the line is the second placed female competitor with a time of 1 hour and 27 minutes”. My first thought was, ‘if I had had a had a sex change before the race I could of picked up the womans 2nd place prize’ and my second thought was ‘wooooohooooo I got under a 1hour 30minutes’ and then I continued trying to give oral birth to my insides.

As I was walking to the booth to collect my complimentary water I bumped into a couple of older competitors. He says to me in good natured banter “your the guy that past me on the last hill wearing jeans and dreadlocks” (I think he was just having a laugh that I didn’t really look like a runner). I had a bit of laugh, but it must be a little bit demoralising when you have the latest Nike running shoes, matching short shorts and singlet and spend your lunch breaks in on-line running chat rooms discussing your training program to have a dread-locked hippie run pass you in board-shorts and a t-shirt from his snowboard season in Canada a couple of years previous. Priceless. 

OK, so basically its taken me 800 words to tell you that I did a 1/2 marathon in the weekend.

Nuthing but love Hap

PS All the other competitors our little team totally dominated and reached all their goals aswell, high fives!

PPS Just got the official results back, I placed 56th with a time of 1:26:33.