Archive | January, 2009

My Australia Day Wet Dream

26 Jan

Happy Australia Day Everybody.

Its that time of year again where the Ozzie’s pull on the green and gold, wave their Australian flags and listen to the Triple J’s hottest 100 songs from the previous year………………….and have the biggest party of the year.  Good on them I say.

Australia Day last year I had just arrived in the country, and what a welcome.  My Australia Day this year was a lot different to last year.


Australia Day this year you could say was very Australian, in a very different way. I spent it at work, which involved camping in the middle of the Australian Outback.  An Australia Day weekend it was.

We had a 2-day field trip where we convoyed down to our southern most prospective drill sites for the coming season.  It was always going to be touch and go with the weather, as it’s cyclone season and the daily weather forecast constantly forecasts possible thunder storms. But in the true spirit of explorers, we went ahead.


We drove for 10 hours, without seeing a person, this is not unusual, infact it is the norm, but it made me realise the sheer isolation of where we were.  How many places in the world can you drive for 10 hours and not see a single human being I thought to myself. 


It makes you think that you have to be self sufficient and prepared, as if you break down, you can’t flag over a passing motorist to help, and heaven forbid needing medical treatment.

After 10 hours of driving on outback roads and a bit of bush bashing we set up camp for the night on a dried up river bank. We had just finished laying out the last of the swags (Australian invention that encompasses a sleeping bag and mattress inside a canvas zip-up bag/shell), lit the camp fire, set-up the grill plate for dinner. Then it was as though someone was watching us.  First we were hit by a sand storm, then by a good old fashion Australian Outback downpour.


At first it was all laughter, as its a welcome relief from the heat and flies.  Then after an hour when the rain showed no sign of giving up, and the water level around was increasing, it was time to throw everything into the back of the trucks and head for safer ground. 


 As I said in a previous post, storms out here are not to be played with, the photo below shows debri 5 metres up a tree that had been deposited there by floods. What the photo doesn’t show is the creek bed also drops off another 5 metres to the left of there, so really those branches/debris are 10 metres off the ground.  Water rises quick, and flash floods happen.  6 months ago we had 3 road trains (trucks that tow 4 trailors, 40 metres long in total) washed out by a flash flood at a river crossing. Apparently within 3 mins the creek bed went from normal to raging, raging meaning it had the capacity to take down 3 fully loaded 40 metre trucks!


Long story short, we made it to safer ground, climbed into our swags at 10pm and fell asleep to the pitter patter of rain on our faces.  In the middle of the night I awoke to the feeling of a wet groin area, and this was weird as I had put on my last set of dry clothes before going to bed. Yep, you guessed it………………………….my swag wasn’t totally waterproof, I was sleeping in a “water-bed”.  The rest of the night was spent reassuring myself I had not wet the bed, and hitting off the pools of water that had settled into the hollows of my swag. That was my Australia Day wet dream!


Hap’s Visual CV for the Best Job in the World

20 Jan

The following is what I call my “visual CV”. The following photos, in chronological order depict me over the past 6 years of my journey, utilising skills and having experiences that have moulded me to be the ideal candidate for “the best job in the world”.  Here it goes.

My first stop, being an English teacher in Korea


Becoming a seafood connoisseur with my Taekwondo Masters, Korean style (live octopus)


Spain, crewing my employer’s boat from France to Spain


Brazil, rising early to make the most of the picturesque sunrises and exploring the vast Pantanal by horse back




Hap the Assistant Marketing Manager – Finally using my Marketing and Management degree in the States


Taming the wild waters of the Rocky Mountains


The Fudge Packer making toffee apples under the watchful eyes of tourists’ video cameras while doing a snowboard season in Banff, Canada


Sleeping in a car, bathing in the local river and eating at soup kitchens with a my good mate Barney until we could find jobs in Alberta, Canada


2 months of sleeping in the car paid off, I gained employment in the Canadian Oil and Gas industry, I was finally a “rig pig”


Having my visa denied in Canada, decided to go to Mexico, live on the beach and learn to surf


Volunteered for 2 months at an orphanage on the Mexican/Guatemala border


Getting dreadlocks in Denver Colorado, making me the ideal looking island caretaker


Trekking in the jungle of South America’s “most dangerous” country, Colombia


After having some visa troubles in the US and being kindly put up at Atlanta City Prision and deported the next morning, I found myself back in New Zealand trying to find a legal way back into the US where my girlfriend Mandy was living. A trip I won’t forget- falling 5 metres from a rope swing, impacting on my upper spine, losing vision temporarily (someone reiterating to me to make the most of this life, and things happen for a reason).  Without falling off that rope swing, I wouldn’t have had the 3 months of doctor ordered rest and relaxation in which I spent creating my blog.



Getting scuba certified with girlfriend Mandy in Indonesia and falling in love with life underwater


The year just been has seen me working as a geologists field assistant, exploring the northwestern Australian Outback in search of manganese (a black mineral used in the production of steel). This involves sleeping out under the stars, cooking on camp fires, all whilst being surrounded by the unique Australian Outback flora and fauna that I have grown to love.


Following my passion to learn to sail, I started going to a local sailing club here in Perth, Australia so I could get some experience. I know at some point in the remaining 3 years of my journey I will crew a yatch on a long voyage.


To read a newspaper article I wrote on trying to get a job in the Australian Mining Industry, click here

To read an article written about me and my goal, click here.

To listen to me being interviewed about my goal on ABC radio, click below.


To see me in action giving a motivational speech to a crowd of 500 at a College graduation, click on the video below.

(to see part 2 of the speech, go to my public speaking page).

If you want to see further articles and hear radio interviews, there are a couple more under the public speaking page above.

Thank you for your time, have a great day. Hap


Behind the scenes of Hap’s video application

20 Jan

With my video application for the “best job in the world” I wanted something that was going to stand out. I didn’t want to sit in front of my webcam and complain about the weather or tell the judges about the Great Barrier Reef facts I had just googled, eg, “Hi, I’m Bob, I’m sick of winter, I want to come to the Great Barrier reef where there’s 900 islands, 2900 individual reefs, over 1500 species of fish, and did you know that you can see it from outerspace!”.


Video Application – Part 1

The seed of the spa idea arose when at work (in the outback for the new readers), we had stopped off at a river that was inundated with weeds and mud, acting the clown I covered my face in mud and hair with weeds. Then I thought I could shoot the movie up in the middle of  the outback and pretend I was at spa etc.  The original skit plot was a lot more indepth, due to the 60 sec time constraint of the video application, I made do with the skeleton plot.


With an upcoming dive trip to Thailand looming, I was fast running out of time. I decided to get the video done in Perth before I flew back to the outback for work. The problem now was that I had no outback setting.  The best setting I could find was the “lake” at the local golf course.  I use the term “lake” very loosely. The “lake” has more mud than water, and the lack of rain lately meant the drain run off from the street gutters hadn’t replenished the stagnated water. To add to matters, my mate told me that I was stupid to do it there as he had heard that the lake is situated on reclaimed rubbish dump land, and the waters toxic, even the ducks get sores from the water! 


I was fast running out of time, and had to utilise the lake. When you watch the video application, and think that the setting looks pristine, think again, watch this behind the scenes video of me rubbing mud on myself and trying to cross the stagnated ankle deep mud that sends up a repugnant odour when you stir up the mud.

To bring my video idea into fruition I called on the help of my mates. The “production crew” consisted of my girlfriend Mandy as my “publicist”, number 1 fan and co-star. Long time mate Bugz was behind the camera, taking a day off from his reason films commitments.  And finally Matty as logistics manager and behind the scenes photographer (also ball thrower for the dog that wouldn’t leave us alone).


I thought the video wasn’t going to get off the ground as concerned morning joggers saw us heading into the park with a petrol can (filled with water for me to wash myself with), a mirror, and video camera, especially after the weekend arson attacks on Perth’s King park that saw major roads into centre city shut down as fire crews tried to contain the arson blaze.


It did get underway, but the funny looks didn’t stop.  There were many bemused morning walkers stopping to rubber neck at the skinny dreadlocked guy covered in mud (and no doubt duck fecal matter) wearing a rubber ducky shower cap lying in the repulsive water that not even the ducks were swimming in – I don’t blame them either.


But all in all we had a great laugh, and found the end result to be a success, a big thanks goes out to my “production crew”, and also my workmate Jacko for letting me use his video camera.


Video Application 2

With my marketing budget depleted (a carton of beers for my mates that helped me), Mandy my girlfriend at Pilates, mates at work, the battery of the borrowed camcorder nearly depleted, and fly out day to work looming, it was up to me to “get er done” as they say on the rigs in Canada.

So “get er done” I did. I hung up a sheet, set the camera up and talked the talk.  My origianl idea was to wear a suit on top and a skirt and high heels on my bottom half.  Then at the end of the video after being all serious, the camera would zoom out and I would be dressed like a woman on the bottom (ummm yeah, I think some of my ideas are best left in my head).  But when I got changed into the skirt, I had no one to operate the camera zoom, and realised it was bad idea aswell.  So I did all the takes wearing a skirt,  in the video posted in my visual CV, I’m actually wearing a skirt (No high heels though, I couldn’t find any high heels in the house that fitted me)!


But the funny part of me wearing a skirt and videoing myself was when my flatmate came home from work early and walked in on me wearing a skirt with a video camera set up! His frist thoughts were that I was making some weird kind of homemade porn movie, and he says “do you want me to leave you alone?”.  After I explained about the best job in the world and the need to make a video application he was a little more understanding, haha.

That wraps up behind the scenes, I hope it gives you a little bit of an insight to my video application.  Wish me luck!

The best job in the world!

20 Jan

NO, I’m not talking about my current job. You may have already heard about it. It’s being dubbed as “the best job in the world”. Tourism Queensland launched a worldwide publicity campaign last week, as they ask for applicants all over the world to send in their 1 minute videos of why they should have “the best job in the world”


So what is this job? It’s being promoted as an “island caretaker” where you live in a luxurious 3 bedroom mansion on Queensland’s Hamilton Island for 6 months. During your 6 month contract you are required to explore the vast array of surrounding islands and take part in island activities. The successful applicant is required to keep a weekly blog and video diary of their experiences. And if this didn’t sound good enough, they are also paying the lucky person $150,000 for their troubles!


As you can imagine, the interest in the job has well surpassed all expectations, with the website crashing last week due to heavy traffic. Which isn’t a surprise considering its been launched in 18 different countries and has been broadcast on the likes of the UK’s BBC. To find out more about this “best job in the world”, go to the official website or google “best job in the world”.


And yes my good friends, the question you’re probably thinking “Is Hap going to apply for the job?” Of course! I have not been this excited about a job application in my life. When I was reading through the credentials of the ideal candidate, I was thinking to myself “I tick all the boxes!”. To some it is a dream job due to its location, pay packet, plush living etc, but for me it’s a dream job as it encompasses all that I am passionate about: blogging, public speaking, writing, dealing with the media, outdoor adventure, the sea, travel, exploring a new place -it’s just perfect. Needless to say, I’ve put all my time, thought and energy into this project.


Keep an eye out on the islandreefjob website for my video application, or stay posted to my blog as I want to have my video up and posted before I fly out to work tomorrow morning.

Nuthin but love Hap

Post Christmas swing at work.

14 Jan

The first swing back at work after the Christmas break has been a good one.  Apart from the fact that the daily temperatures has been hitting 47 degree celsius with a splash of humidity to wash it down during the day. But luckily it’s been dropping to a chilly 28 degrees celsius overnight! I’m currently in our “air conditioned” office, its 5.30pm, all 4 air conditioners are reading the INSIDE temperature as 30 degrees! Even the air conditioners can’t handle the heat!

Yep, summer has definitely hit the Pilbara region, and the flies have come to the party.  Its the time of the year when there’s no such thing as a cold shower, why? Because when you turn on the cold water tap you nearly burn yourself with the water that’s been sitting in the black pipes sun bathing. Check out my previous blog post on Pilbara weather and flies.

OK, enough of the weather and flies, so what have I been up to this swing. Exploring will be the best word to describe it, and well since I’m an Exploration Field Assistant, that shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Its currently cyclone season in the Northwest of Australia, so all our drill rigs are currently on break until the wet season is over, which will be around April. The reason being as we don’t want them stranded by flood waters in the remote Outback.  And flood it does, flash floods to be exact, as when it rains, it rains. Take a look at the photo below, its a photo of me in a dry river bed, but check out whats 5 metres above me in the tree, yep sticks and debris from previous floods.

So now while its the Exploration quiet period we are preparing for kick off in April.  This requires going out to our tenements, and scouting out our proposed drilling areas.  As there are no roads this involves four-wheel driving all day to try and figure out the best tracks for the bulldozers to make roads in for the drill rigs. It takes a long time usually to get to the co-ordinates of the sites, and sometimes we are unsuccessful and have to come back the following day to try an alternative route to get there as we try to dodge boulders, canyons, rivers, ditches, cliffs, wildlife and those tyre popping stakes.  And bumpy, lets just say my backs been taking a hammering, but I can’t think of a better way to get a sore back.

Sorry for those of you in your office hating the report that’s due, I can’t help it, I’m just doing my job. Check out the photos, if you click on the thumbnails (photos) they will go to a bigger size, and I have saved them as a bigger size from past photos, so its worth a click.

ABC radio interview

8 Jan

The end of last year I did a radio interview on ABC with Niki Morrell on her morning show.  She had seen my blog post on Marble Bar and wanted to do a story on my goal. 

Have a listen, I have put a slide show of my field assistant photos for you to watch as you listen to it. If you have read my blog, or use to receive my emails back in the day you will recognise a few of the stories, enjoy.

New Year’s Festivities

8 Jan

As I said on my last post, I was looking forward to flying back to work/reality/normality/routine yesterday morning. I don’t think I have been this happy to get up at 4.30am to go to work for awhile, well thats what I was thinking until I hopped off the plane at Woodie to 46 degrees and humidity. 

Anyway, I was fortunate enough to have 3 weeks off over christmas.  Mandy’s sister was over from the US firing on all 8 cylinders.  It has been one non-stop party, as we all do in this festive season.  


Music festivals. The Music festival binge started on New Years eve, with ‘Origin’ a Hip Hop/Drum’n’Bass festival in Perth that featured such big names as Public Enemy, Pendulum etc.



Then New Years Day was spent feasting on some good ‘ol’ Aotearoa (for the international readers Aotearoa is the Maori name for New Zealand, meaning ‘land of the long white cloud’) music, Fat Freddies Drop was the dish of the day.  But before going there, we all met up for a New Years Day feast at Little Creatures Brewery in Fremantle, its gold.  Then it was onto a mates place who lives around the corner from where Fat Freddies was playing. 




Fat Freddies was super duper, blue skies greeted the NZ population of Perth, of which there is an abundance.  The gig was a melting pop of Maori designed tattooed, half naked kiwis rocking out to the unique sound of chilled out kiwi music.




Then the following morning after 5 hours sleep the alarm went beep beep at 6.30am signalling it was time to rise again to do it all over again for a 3rd time, but this time for 2 days.  Myself, Mandy and Crystal (Mandy’s sister), absently mindfully packed the car, and headed 4 hours south to Busselton for the SouthBound music festival with 4 other good mates. 


SouthBound was hosting a wide smorgasbord of music genres, with bands such as, The Hives, The Kooks, Donaven Frankenreiter, The Cat Empire, South Rakkas crew, Atmosphere & Brother Ali.


For me the best gigs came from the up and coming or unknown performers from whom you expected nothing, the ones you had no expectations of, the likes of Soko, a young 22 year old French girl who was first recognised on MySpace. She was so sweet and innocent, but with some pretty crazy lyrics, eg, “in my wet dreams I suck your dick like a whore”, and then another song when she sings “I’ll kill her” as she sings about a girl that that her ex-boyfriend cheated on. The above lyrics may seem quite extreme, but if you saw this tiny little girl on stage who was crying while singing her songs, who was so overwhelmed and excited at playing at her first music festival, you also would of been drawn to her. I remember her excitingly looking behind her at the big screen with her face on it, and exclaiming in her quietly spoken french accented englsih “oh my god, hahaha, I never seen my face in big”, as she put her hand up to her mouth to hide her embarrassment. Her youthfulness and nonMTV lyrics were refreshing like a fresh fruit salad after a morning dip in the ocean. 


The other powerfully energetic performance that we randomly stumbled accross was Sharon Jones, a big buxomness Afro American lass, with a Hearty Aretha Franklin voice and character too match. The kind of lady that made you move your feet and drop your bottom lip as her energy engulfed you and transformed your body in a moving object.


Then there was ‘Blue King Brown’, a local Perth Reggae Band that had 10 or so people up on stage rocking the crowd into a frenzy. 



Then like all good things, it came to an end, it was time to pack up camp and head to Busselton to wash our stinky bodies, and stinky they were, a couple of days dancing in 40 degree heat , ummmmm.



OK, shut up Hap your not a bloody music columnist, just put the dam photos up and shut up! (If you get my email updates and have trouble viewing the photos, either go direct to my blog, or right click on the photos and go to ‘show picture’).