Archive | December, 2008

Christmas Day and the coming New Years.

27 Dec

Howdy folks,

I’ve been a little slack of late, but hey its christmas, and its going to get a lot more slack come New Years, as I won’t be around.

Christmas eve was spent having dinner where Mandy works at the Subiaco Hotel, we all got up and had a little boogie to the Jazz band.

Christmas day saw 11 of our perth family enjoying an international Christmas potluck lunch/dinner and festivities poolside at our place.

The coming New Year plans, camping tomorrow down south in the Margaret River wine area reknown for its surf the next couple of days. Then coming back to Perth for New Years, then heading down to the SouthBound music festival with a few of us, including Mandy’s sister Crystal whose over visiting from the US.

Anyway, here’s some photos of xmas eve, xmas lunch and the secret santa present opening (the “after” xmas lunch function has been censored as contains nudity etc, this unfortunately is a family oriented blog…….. kind of).

Christmas Party – Running Waters

16 Dec

Theres only one word to describe Running Waters…………… oasis.  It really is amazing to have an idylic spring fed swimming hole nestled amongest the baron red dirt of  the isolated, unforgiving Pilbara outback. 

We are lucky enough that it is only a half an hour drive (very rough tracks, 4WD only) from Woodie Woodie where I work. So, what better place to have our christmas party. Its definitely the most unique place I have spent a christmas party during my journey.  Check out some of the photos.

ERT training

13 Dec

Here’s a couple of photos of this mornings Emergency Response Team (ERT) ropes training out at one of our old pits. If your wondering why the pit is full of water, it’s becasue it is redundant and that’s the level of the water table. At Woodie Woodie its a constant battle for the mining guys to keep pumping the water out of the pits so they can keep mining.

Here’s a couple of photos,

Assessing the pit wall

Assessing the Pit Wall

Going down………the wall


The hard part for my skinny arms, coming back up the wall!

Posing on the wall

Dave ascending the rope and Jack descending

Dave and Jack

Merry Christmas and all that Jazz

12 Dec

Its that time of year where we all get frustrated fighting the Christmas crowds aimlessly browsing the shelves in the hope that something will jump up and say “oi! buy me, I’m the perfect present”.  But the perfect present is as easy to find as “weapons of mass destruction”, or maybe they don’t exist.  OK, don’t get all political Hap.

So its this crazy time of year which is full of sun, reindeer, BBQ’s (southern hemisphere), drunken office party romances, eating, the smell of pine trees and festive fun. Its also that time of year where you look back on the year that has passed us by and puts another notch on your belt of life (great analogy-pure genius).

So for me, as far as 2008 goes, its been a great year. In a sense its been a bit of a “holiday” from working the world, as I have been “settled” (coming up a 11 months in Perth) in the same place the whole year, where as usually I spend about 3 months at a job/place then move on. 

In this respect it has been quite hard at times, as I have had bad cases of itchy feet and all I’ve wanted to do is scratch that itch.  The normality of having a set address, same room, same work schedule etc just gets to you, I’ve found myself getting comfortable with normality, and this has annoyed me. 

Things that earlier in my journey I yearned for due to going without them for so long, eg my own room, space, regular income  etc I have lost the appreciation for and they have become a need and not a want. The excitement of the unknown has been replaced with the comfort of the known.  But not a day has gone by where I haven’t thought about my goal, infact it’s that constant thought of acheiving my goal that excites me like a teenage boy first discovering playboy magazine.

Having my goal consume my mind has been great, as it keeps reassuring me that what I am currently doing is in the best interest of my goal.  Being settled in the same place and  job has enabled me to fully recover from my back injury, pay off debts, be reunited with Mandy (allowing her to earn money in OZ for future travels) and save money (although you always want to save more).  Its that money that I’m earning now that will allow me to volunteer in Africa, and pay for my air tickets to the outstanding continents of Africa, South America (have been to Brazil and Colombia but have not lived and worked there) and Antarctica.

The above sounds all a bit negative. NO, 2008 has been a great year. Although normality and routine has surrounded me, it’s been a bloody good routine.  I love Perth, its a great city, laid back people, great weatehr (summer) and in my opinion some of the best beaches in the world, and also I am lucky enough to have a great crew of mates in Perth.

My job, to stay in a job for longer than 3 months meant I had to enjoy it.  Well as much as I may bitch about it sometimes,  I love it, its my favourite job so far in my journey. Why? I spend half my time in Perth, and half my time in the unique red sands of the Pilbara,  I 4WD to what seem like unchartered places, in the dry season I’m basically a boy scout, I cook on camp fires and sleep under the stars.  So apart from the fact that its my favourite job of my journey, its also the most I have ever been paid -by a long way-, now thats a good combination!

Enough of 2008, as it is fast becoming history, infact as you read, ‘now’ is becoming ‘then’ (wow, thats deep). 2009 is going to be the year that Hap works in Antarctica. At the start of this year I was unsuccessful in my application for Scott Base due to there being 1 cleaning position and 100 applications (and the fact that someone else was a better applicant than me).  

So this year has seen me making the most of the opportunities available to me in the mining industry to make my CV more Antarctica friendly.  Joining the Mines Emergency Response Team has been one of those opportunities. I have received invaluable experience in the emergency setting and attended courses, Rope Rescue, Emergency First Responder and Basic Fire Fighting.  This will help my application as the Antartic Bases have to be self sufficient and residents take turns at volunteering on the fire crew. Also I have volunteered my services at Woodie Woodie to help with the loading and refueling of the new Jets that are now landing, as this will be another tick to my name when I apply for the field assistant job down there. 

So cross your fingers come the start of next yeat for my applications. Hopefully this time next year I will be in Antarctica with 4 months left of my 5 month stint.

Oh, and the other thing I want to get done in 2009 is Sailing. Yep, sailing, I have a feeling that before my journey is up theres going to be some sailing involved, ummmmmm sailing up the coast of Africa, ummmmmmm, dreams, wonderful things, may as well live em.  So I want to get a bit of experience on the sailing boats, so will go put a note up at the local sailing clubs seeing if they need a rope headed fella to help crew.

Its about time I wrap this up, but did you really think it was going to be short? c’mon, it’s me, Hap.

Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Year

Nuthin But Christmas Love, Hap

Marble Bar – The hottest recorded town in the world.

1 Dec

Last swing (duration of time spent at mining camp working) I had the plessure of stopping off at Marble Bar to check out the sights on my way to Port Hedland.  

There’s not too much to do at Marble Bar, established back in 1893 to support the mining boom, and it currently has a population of a couple of hundred. Its a typical Ozzie outback mining town, scorching sun, red sand and a pub (Ironclad Hotel which has been around since 1893) and that’s basically it. Its not really a town that you are drawn to, especially when its claim to fame is being ‘the hottest town in Australia. Its not really a holiday destination, “umm should we go to Hell or Marble Bar?”  Read the following from the Australian Governments Bureau of Meteorology:

 The world record for the longest sequence of days above 100°Fahrenheit (or 37.8° on the Celsius scale) is held by Marble Bar in the inland Pilbara district of Western Australia. The temperature, measured under standard exposure conditions, reached or exceeded the century mark every day from 31 October 1923 to 7 April 1924, a total of 160 days. Temperatures above 100°F are common in Marble Bar and indeed throughout a wide area of northwestern Australia. On average, Marble Bar experiences about 154 such days each year.

If your reading this and it sounds appealing, and maybe your thinking of buying real estate there-I’m sure its cheap- then take a look at my previous post I did on the climate up where I work, which is an hour and a half drive inland from Marble Bar.

Me with a Marble Bar. 

Hap with a Marble Bar

 The Largest Shire in the world (with bugger all in it)

The Largest Shire in the World

Boody modeling the new sign.

Boody at the warmest recodered town in Australia.

My highlight of Marble Bar was the memorial in the main street dedicated to the early inhabitants, settlers, explorers, proscpectors and residents that had died in the East Pilbara region and had been buried in make-shift graves around the shire. It really gave you a feeling of what a rugged, savage and unforgiving (no air conditioning back then) place it must have been in its early days, with many of the early inhabitants cause of death being ‘speared’.

One of the plaques at the memorial was for Dr Ed Vines. Coincidently I had come accross his grave early in the year whilst taking a back road to our remote Ripon Hills Exploration camp.  

Dr Vines story was that he was the 3rd or 4th Doctor stationed at Marble Bar and had made the journey out to Braeside Station 130km east of Marble Bar to assist in the birth of the station managers wife. He arrived 3 days prior to the birth but unfortunately got caught up in an early morning attack on the station by Aborigines.  He was speared on the front verrandah where he died and was buried.

Checking out Dr Ed Vines headstone on the way to our remote exploration camp.


Dr Ed Vines headstone, “speared by natives, September 1899”

Dr Ed Vines headstone

Memorial Plague erected in 1991. To me this sums up how the Aboriginals are treated, what would of been wrong by writing “killed by Aboriginals”.