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A great week at work!

17 Feb

Last week would go down as one of my best weeks of work and it wasn’t because it was my last week either. Basically I was choppered out into the middle of nowhere for 5 days fieldwork, but I will let the photos do the explaining.

This beats the hell out of bush bashing for days on end carrying all the gear into the middle of nowhere. Why not take the kitchen sink?

 

Our sleeping area for the week.

 

Our cooking shelter for when it inevitably rains –it is the West Coast of Tasmaina- and of course it did for 2 days. We also had a tidy 5 star toilet area.

 

It wasn’t all fun and games. Up at 6.30am and we spent the days taking soil samples.

 

 

Steep terrain makes for long hard days of bush bashing, but when you stumble across a clearing like this for a snack it makes it all worth while. Or at least the cold beer at the end of the day does. It really hammers home how remote we really were, and you wonder if anyone has ever been here. We were a 20 minute chopper ride from civilisation. True wilderness.

 

It doesn’t really do the steepness of the terrain any justice, but there was lots of sliding on arse with 35kg packs of dirt.

 

Not a bad spot for lunch and a quick dip in the icy river –and yes I think they are possibly fat rolls on my stomach!

 

Getting water and another excuse for me to get my clothes off – And yes poor Lee my workmate got the job of photographing me.

 

Oh yeah, fine weather, dinner and hot chocolate.

 

After the week out bush I went back to Hobart with Lee and checked out the Tasmanian capital. I absolutely loved this little city, for a city 220,000 it packs a lot of punch, laid back people, surrounded by beautiful mountains, a picturesque harbour, a good little hippy/artist scene, easy access to beaches and the mountains.

I explain Tasmania as New Zealand and Australia’s love child, as if the two countries were going to make love, Tasmania would be the off spring. Two thumbs up from this nomadic hippy, here are some pics. Big cheers to Nic and Lee for having me crash the night and being super tour guides.

Could this be NZ? No, it’s the road to Hobart from Tasmania’s west coast.

 

The Picturesque Hobart harbour.

 

Some floating Tassie entertainment. Plenty happening in the weekends, one of the best markets I have been to, every Saturday in Hobart they have the Salamanca markets. GOLD

 

Work-mates and Hobart crew finishing up ice-creams on the beach, good times.

So it was a great last week at work. And tomorrow I start a new job, and yep I’m super stoked on it as well. I will fill you in on that next week. I also want to have my stand-up comedy routine up-loaded onto the blog in the coming days as well.

OK, hapworkingtheworld is Melbourne based now until Africa. Best get my skates on.

NBL Hap

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End of another chapter.

7 Feb

Howdy folks,

Yep, it’s that time again for me where another chapter comes to an end. I have let work know that this week will be my last, signalling the end of my Tasmanian chapter which has been my third longest chapter at 9 months

For those of you that don’t know, I was working as an Exploration Field Assistant on the West Coast of Tasmania. Some of you that have followed my journey from when my blog first started will remember I did the same job out in the Western Australian outback. But the only similarities between the jobs were the job titles. Everything was different, firstly I was living in a small residential town of 200 people as opposed to living in a mining camp, at this job there was no mine as we were doing the prefeasibility tests for a proposed mine and were doing a different type of drilling (I won’t bore you).

The biggest difference was the climate; in fact you could not get a more varied difference if you tried. In my 2008 job I was working a 2 hour drive inland from Marble Bar, the hottest recorded town in Australia, with the record of having 160 consecutive days over 37.8˚C. This is what the weather website says about Tullah, the town I worked in Tasmania:

“Tullah is one of the rainiest and overcast places in Australia. It experiences exceptionally high rainfall, humidity levels and numbers of cloudy days………..”

Now I could not agree with the above more, in fact it is the rainiest and most overcast place I have ever lived and worked. Literally everyday bar two during the winter whilst I was here it rained, I kid you not. So it made for a pretty tough place to work for a skinny fella who loves the sun. Plus in the winter there is minimal field work due to the rain, so all winter was spent in a shed, measuring, cutting, photographing, weighing rocks – yes it was a long winter. But there was a good bunch of people and it enabled me to save a bit of money for Africa, and in summer the odd sunny blue skied day is pretty dam spectacular as you will see at the end.

But at the end of the day I was in it for the wrong reasons (saving money and writing), and working in a shed has a shelf life. So back to Melbourne it is where I’m hoping to get work in a local bike shop and be surrounded by biking enthusiasts. Failing that, any job the allows me to get enough money to live on and gives me some spare time to organise Africa. As Africa looms closer it will be a great to be on the ground for the organising as our press for sponsorship increases, our fundrasining event in May, getting bikes, organising gear, route planning, filling container – it getters rather taunting at times thinking of what needs to get done before our departure.

Now for my final week of work in Tasmania, and I have to say it, it is probably going to be one of my best weeks of work in my working the world quest. For my final week of work I’m being helicoptered out with 3 others into the middle of nowhere and camping for 5 days whilst taking some soil samples. Hell yeah, this is what being an Exploration Field Assistant is about………..ummm maybe I should stay and see out the summer……………

OK, here are some of my rosier/summery photos from my time in Tullah as I realise I have been focussing all my blog posts on Africa,

Snow on the hill around Tullah

Walk up the hill above Tullah, a beautiful night.

Snow on the ground.


Going for a canoe after work in summer.


A day out of the shed, up the hill soil sampling, and yes I’m posing.


Umm, yup guilty again, posing and trying to look deep and meaningful.


Looks beautiful when you’re not crawling through it with a pack full of dirt, ahhhh looks beautiful anyway!


Tullah at the head of Lake Rosebery.


Sunset over Tullah


Myself and workmate Lee having a romantic sunset at the trig point above Tullah.

Rocking it in the rain.

29 Apr

So I’m back in the real world of work, and to tell you the truth I’m kind of enjoying being back in a routine. It’s a little unfortunate that I’m not in Melbourne – well I am but I’m working a 2 weeks on in Tasmania (1 hour flight across Bass Straight from Melbourne) and then 1 week back in Melbourne roster. The reason I have chosen this job is to save money for Africa, as when I’m in Tasmania there is nowhere to spend money so I’m forced to save, its’ just work and no play (in theory).

I’m doing exploration field work again, as you may remember I did similar work in Western Australia in 2008 and it was my favourite job that I have had out of my 7 years of “working the world”. This role is a lot different, a little more monotonous at times which basically consists of making big rocks into small rocks. But it is also varied with work in the bush, collecting samples and cutting tracks etc which will be cool.

It’s quite funny to compare this job with my cruise ship job. Working as a 6 star waiter on an Antarctic cruise ship sounds rather glamorous and looking at rocks all day rather unglamorous. But I would rather this job any day. The sole reason, the people! Both jobs I work long hours but in this job I’m actually treated like a person and shown respect instead of a slave that is treated as a resource and shouted at! It also helps that my boss here does not say “I’m your boss, I demand respect”………………ooohhhhhhhh my blood just boils thinking back how I was spoken to on that ship for no better reason than I was in a lower position. I remember being shouted at “I could train my dog better than you (expletives)” and then having to reply with “yes sir, sorry sir (stick it up your arse sir)”..

I best stop talking about that as I’m getting all tense…………………..anyway here are some photos from my first 2 week stint at work in Western Tasmania.

First day of work, going bush bashing to collect some dirt samples with other fieldy’s Kristen and Q. You will notice that it is raining; it has rained every day since I have been here, but I can’t complain as I’m getting paid to go hiking.

Beautiful native bush – although sometimes it loses its appeal when you have to clamber/crawl/fall through it with a 30 kg pack full of dirt in the rain. I kind of hope they don’t find anything here as you know if we strike gold, or in our case tin (what we are looking for), there will be a mine here. But I suppose that’s the price we have to pay for our tin cans, unfortunately tin doesn’t grow on trees

Where are we? Follow the sun………….….shit!

The bush “sticking” it to me, or you could say that I’m “branching out” (notice the stick coming out of my ear)

That is one expensive bag of dirt! A lot of time and money goes into getting this bag of dirt..

It can’t be all fun and games, the shed where I spend a lot of time playing with rocks and dirt.

One of the ways we make the big rocks into small rocks. This is the part of the day where I have to stop thinking about the Africa expedition and concentrate on what I’m doing……well I suppose I could still cycle with only 3 fingers.

“Airport security, come with me”

26 Apr

My plane touched down at Devonport Airport in Tasmania, an island off the south eastern coast of Australia. Tassie as it’s known by Aussies is famous for the Tasmanian devil and jokes about inbreeding and off spring with extra digits. I suppose it has a lot of similarities with New Zealand, a couple of islands off the south eastern coast of Australia and all you have to do is change the Tasmanian devil for the kiwi and the inbreeding for sheep shagging – I should feel at home!

My thoughts of sheep shagging and extra digited off spring vanished as the seat belt signs were switched off and all the passengers did that frantic scramble to get their bag out of the overhead lockers only to wait standing up while the air hostess struggled with the door.

I exited the plane as the airport guys unloaded my bags on to the small cart and I headed in the direction of the small town airport terminal. My mind wondered what my new work colleagues would be like, and how the “exploration field assistant – fieldy” job would differ from my previous role in Western Australia’s desert. One thing was clear from what I saw out of the airplane window, there was going to be no red dirt, but a lot of green hills rolling into mountainous native bush, I felt as though I had just flown across the Tasman Sea and arrived on New Zealand’s west coast (I wonder if the sheep are less paranoid here in Tasmania?).

I entered the terminal doors and did the disguised relaxed look around where I try to look as though I’m not looking for someone but really I just look like a person who is trying to not look like he’s looking for someone. I eventually run out of waiting people that could be my new boss and I stand there looking like a 4 year old who’s lost his mother in a crowded shopping mall.

I get my cell phone out to call the number of my senior field assistant who is meant to be meeting me. As I’m putting in the number my arm is grabbed from behind and I spin around in 3rd world backpacker mode ready to defend my most expensive possessions (which currently amounts to a laptop that has no battery) in my day pack. I’m met by an athletic retired cop looking guy with short “steelo” like hair looking me in the eye, he says “airport security, come with me”.

As you know I haven’t really had much luck with airport security in the past and I tried to think what I had done or packed to warrant airport securities eagle eye. My mind was running “I no longer have dreadlocks, I didn’t pack my sheep, I left my 1kg of herion in Melbourne, ……”. As my night spent in cell 210 in Atlanta city prison before being deported from the states flashed before my eyes, the retired cop face beamed into a smile, “You must be the man, Hap is it? I’m Brendon your senior fieldy, nice to meet you”. – Gold, I think I’ll fit in just fine.

First day of work!

18 Apr

Tomorrow is going to be a shock to the system as it will be my first day of work – I wonder if my body will remember what to do when it hears the beep beep beep of my alarm clock. The past 14 months as I have completed my Dive Masters in Thailand, lived and travelled in South America, looked for Antarctic work, studied Spanish I have only worked a total of 2 months. So it’s going to be hard yards getting back into the slog but I’m looking forward to it. The settling down process is in session, time to start earning some money, get set –up so I can start focusing on Africa.

So what is my job? I’m back into the old mining industry doing my favourite job; Exploration Field Assistant. Once again a friend opened the door so it saved me going through the whole job hunting process. In fact since I’ve been working the world 95% of my jobs have come from contacts. I have a 2 week trial so I will see what happens, I will be flying out of Melbourne to work in Tasmania.

How’s the house hunting going? Well it’s going, there’s quite a bit of competition over here and on paper Mandy and I aren’t really the best tenants when you put us up against…………well anyone I suppose, for example the questions like; previous addresses (this takes up a page), previous jobs (this another page), how long were you at your last address (not long), bank accounts showing income (last years income – what’s that?)etc. You can imagine what my history of this looks like, somewhat nomadic would sum it up. But we have 3 more applications that we are waiting to hear back about so fingers crossed. We are lucky though as we are staying with friends Matt and Linnley which means there is no rush. I’m loving Melbourne as a city, and enjoying hanging out with mates.

Mandy’s immigration application has been handed in. And in true immigration style it won’t even be looked at for another 4-6 weeks, so Mandy is unable to work until this comes through which is looking like July.

Today I added a new asset to my asset portfolio that consists of my pack and all the clothes that fill it – oh and a 15 year old stereo in Mum and Dads attic with a missing button. But check it out, my new wheels, $30 at a garage sale – gold!

Animals of the Outback

8 Feb

This is officially my last swing at work. I have 3 more days of being an Exploration Field Assistant. It’s always in the last days of a job that you start to appreciate (more) your surroundings. It’s a time of “lasts”, eg the last time I will sleep in my donga, the last time I will have a laugh with my work mates, the last time I will go four wheel driving in the outback, the last time I will get on the plane to Perth etc.

This past year I have been lucky enough to have experienced the unique Austrlian Outback and all its glory. A big part of that glory are the animals that inhabit this vast red wilderness, animals that are as Ozzie as beer and barbies.

Below are photos of animals I have come across throughout the past year.  There have been some animals that I have failed to snap photos of, emu’s, wedge tail eagles and others I can not think of, but enjoy the ones I got.

Dingos. I’ve seen plenty of  these wild dogs cruising the outback. Dingo stole me baby!

dingo

Kangaroos, my new favourite animal, they’re so bouncy, happy and unique, plus they don’t want to hurt you, unlike most of the animals in OZ.  I’ve taken a lot of Kangaroo photos at work, but decided to post this comical one that I took 3 weeks ago when camping in Margaret River.   “Mum have you seen my socks”?

kangaroos-version-of-putting-your-head-in-the-sand

Cattle.  Woodie Woodie where I work is located on a cattle farm, so there are always our bovine buddies walking around camp feasting on the green grass of the camp, which is very much a delicacy in the outback, its like eating lobster in the desert.

cattle

Camels.  Australia is home to the largest wild camel population in the world!

camels

This is my pitiful photo of the first snake I saw. And yes I was scared shitless, that’s the reason the photo’s taken from a million miles away, check out my blog post I did on my my encounter with my first snake.

my-first-snake-and-yes-i-squeled

Donkies.  Now that’s a great arse!

hello-mr-donkey

Bungarras.  Otherwise known as Goanna’s are commonly sighted around the camp. From the tip of their tale to their head they are easily over a metre long. When you walk around the side of a donga (sleeping cabin) and startle one of these miniature dinosaurs, it requires a change of underwear afterwards.

bungara-finding-some-shade-under-the-dongas

bungara-outside-the-office-door

Frogs.  Now I’ve heard of  toilet ducks (toilet cleaner in NZ), but toilet frogs! You can imagine my surprise when busting for a pee and being confronted by this little fella (frog), to pee or not to pee? Now that is the question.

toilet-frog

It wouldn’t be an authentic outback post without mentioning those annoying little flying maggots that are so abundant this time of year. The flies applying first aid to my cut.

my-friends-the-flies-applying-first-aid-to-my-cut

The Australian Outback is a harsh unrelenting place to be, especially if your a sick/elderly camel.

The story behind the photo below is, I was riding shot gun with El at the wheel and the two passenger side wheels start sliding down the river bank into the boggy area. El giggling as my passenger side sank down so that I was nearly face to face with the decaying carcass of the camel. As you can imagine I exited the vehicle through the drivers side, but didn’t last long before I jumped back in as my gag reflect was about to start due to the stench. Luckily I was able to unbog it from the comfort of the odourless drivers seat.

bogged-by-dead-camel

As mentioned before, carcasses are part of everyday work up here, especially when travelling on the 400km of sealed outback highway-on any NW Australian highway for that matter- to Port Headland.  It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out that cattle and fast travelling road trains hauling our manganese don’t mix.  But I had never seen anything like the photo below that I took a couple of swings ago while doing a field trip to Mount Sydney. It’s a mystery to me, maybe it’s the site of  a camel cult mass suicide.

grave-yard

OK Hap, enough of the dead animals.  Best I leave you with a warm fuzzy cute animal photo.  Although I have not come across any of our woolly four legged friends during my Outback chapter, they deserve a place in the blog.  Why? Because although us kiwi’s get the reputation as…….how do I say it ………as “sheep lovers”, it is our big brother Australia that has the largest sheep population in the world! (NZ has 40 million sheep and Australia has 90 million-and yes I realise that’s a ratio of 10 sheep to every kiwi and only 5 sheep to every Ozzie, but let’s not focus on that, Australia has the biggest sheep population, end of story).  

sheep_racing

PS, while googling for a “sexy sheep photo” (weird I know), this website came up as first choice,  AdultSheepFinder – The Worlds #1 Sheep Sex and Dating Personals Site  – now that’s weird! (bet you its an Australian site – haha, come on Australia I’ve had my fare share of sheep jokes, it’s about time you guys got your share). The website was blocked on my work computer, I just hope the IT guys don’t over my internet browser history!

Stay posted for my next post, it will be the last post of my Australian chapter.

Woodie Woodie Airport

2 Feb

The end of last year Woodie Woodie (the mine where I am working) got the best Christmas present ever, a new airport!  Gone are the days of the red dirt runway with the outdoor shade cloth terminal. 

the-old-woodie-airport-outback-style

The new airport was built so jets could land.  This is great news for the workers of Woodie.  It means that we no longer have to fly in the Brasilia airplanes.  If you don’t watch Air Crash Investigation, your probably not familiar with the Brasilia aircraft.  At work it is nicknamed the flying coffin, and everybody has countless stories of the aircraft being grounded for maintenance problems and dodgy landings by the trainee pilots they use to transport the miners into the outback.  To sum up the Brasilia aircraft, before taking off the air hostess hands out ear plugs, becasue as soon as its in the air, you can’t even hear your ipodon full volume.  OK, it’s not that bad, I’m sure it would be the pride of the Air Ethiopia fleet.

The new fokker 100 jet, woop woop.

the-lucky-people-back-to-the-real-world

So now its all big pimping for the Woodie workers, we don’t have to worry about the red dirt runway getting washed away in a down pour, we now wait in an air conditioned terminal while the flies wait outside and we are all guaranteed to get on the flight, as the jet seats 100 people compared to the 30 on the Brasilia.  It was pretty classic, one of the first flights from Perth, the jet brought up 2 passengers, haha, if you work it out, that’s probably atleast $20,000 per passenger (but a contracts a contract and the jet has to fly)!

woodies-flash-new-terminal

With the new airport, I volunteered my services to the “jet pit crew”, helping out with baggage handling, refuelling, marshalling etc.  I saw this as a great opportunity to get experience working around aircrafts, as this will be invaluable when applying for work in Antarctica. 

Here’s some photos kindly taken by my photographer Jacko of the first dreadlocked marshaller, you can imagine the pilots thought as he’s bringing the jet full of 100 passengers into land and sees the state of the guy marshalling him in, he’s probably already said his “hail mary’s”.

marshalling-in-the-jet

“Hey Hap you poser, you forget to pick-up the baggage”

toot-toot-the-baggage-train

Chilling out in the baggage compartment, it’s amazing in there, as it comes down from altitude and its still freezing, a welcome relief from the heat (And people wonder why it takes so long for their bags to come off the plane).

chilling-out

Jacko guarding the “stairway to heaven – civilisation”

jack-hanging-out-by-the-stairway-to-heaven