Here we go!

Month: November, 2012

Home I go!

Currently sitting in the Sydney Qantas club writing this.  It’ s been a busy week again.

Got up at 4, packed my things and got onto the 5:15am bus to Tontouta Aeroport.  Arrived there at 8:45am.  Three and a half hour van ride, I managed to have a little nap in the van,  but it seemed that whenever I fell asleep, the driver would stop for a break (twice).  Driver was fast (as usual) and raging (lifting palm towards the sky at other drivers), but friendly and on-time.  At 5:15am, she asked me what the time was, I said 5:15am, and she showed me her watch 5:15am, to confirm that it was time to go, and we left.  There was supposed to be one more person in the van, but it was just Mike and I.  On the way, we stopped at a small shop.  I didn’t need to go to the toilet and didn’t feel like eating and drinking, I was just tired.  However, I went to the toilet, and then Mike bought me chocolate milk and a croissant, it was very nice, and I felt very good after eating and drinking!

So, as mentioned before, I got to the aeroport at 8:45am, when my flight departure time was 12:50pm.  I was even too early to check-in.  So I looked in the shop, and sat down on the bench listening to music.  The airport was very quiet – until – it appeared that at least two busloads of Japanese tourists arrived.  Then the airport quickly filled up and was very busy.  I have not seen so many Japanese since leaving Japan!

Finally, the counter opened for me to check in.  There was a queue, but fortunately there was a special lane for Qantas Club and Frequent Flyers.  Since being downgraded from Gold to Silver, they gave me Qantas Club membership until the end of this year, so I got to jump the queue and walk straight to the counter – but there’s no rush because once I check in, I’ll still have to wait for the plane anyway.  So I checked in, and walked away from the counter, then remembered that I needed to check about whether my luggage was going all the way to Perth.  I went to the Aircalin counter, they called up and told me that I need to pick up my luggage at Sydney international and bring it to the domestic transfer.  While I was at the counter, I thought I might as well ask about the cost of flying to Korea and Japan, since they had a brochure with the costs listed, but not Seoul or Tokyo.  So she kindly wrote the costs for me.  These were the costs all year, but then the costs increase as it fills up.  They were more than the cost of flying back to Perth, but if I ever want to go there, I’ll just pay the difference, which is fare.  I asked if December/January was a good time to go, and she said no, it’s crazy.  Since there’s direct flights from Paris to Tokyo, then Tokyo to New Caledonia.  I asked when, she said February would be better.

I went through security and immigration, then had a browse through the duty free shop.  Bought some Tic Tacs, which I think were a good deal!

Plane departed late, but the flight was smooth.  I had the front seats in economy, and there wasn’t a board infront of me, just curtain, so plenty of leg-room!  I started to go to sleep, then realised that there’s movies!  So I watched the Amazing Spiderman.  Then after that, I started to watch Kath and Kimderella, but after the title came up, it was time to put the screen away.

Collected my luggage and went to the domestic transfer bus, then right up here to the lounge.  Had a shower and snacks…. biscuits, pasta, chocolate drink, internet, magazines… Relaxing before the flight back to Perth (which I should be at the gate in 10 minutes!).  I’ll arrive at 9:20pm, but since I’m three hours ahead, it’ll feel like midnight, so I can see that I’ll be super tired.

A big week ahead!

I haven’t had time to update this blog in the past week because it’s been very busy.  I’ll try write a summary post consolidating those days I missed.  If I can’t remember the details, it’ll probably just be photos of my lunch and dinner!


Another one of those days…

Today was another one of those days where I arrive to work before 6:30am, but don’t get to sit at my desk until after 6:30pm.  I love being on site Smile  So much happening, so much to do, this after that!

Encountered a few problems in the morning when I went to get the job started.  For example, the ventilation fans not being able to be turned on, then found out that they were isolated for some work that was done yesterday.  So got the crew onto another task, but then turns out the power to the hoist was also isolated!

It was a hot day today, I drank a lot of water,  but sweated a lot.

Here’s my lunch, it’s lamb!


In the afternoon, I was spotter for the running of one of the biggest fans here.  Driven by a 3.2MW motor (which I wrote about fan alignment being done in a previous post), it’s a big fan that sucks.

I was stationed at one of the compartment doors which was chained open and barricaded off, so that it could draw air through.


Long day, tired again.  Counting down the days until I’m home again Smile

Caving Sunday

Met up for breakfast at 8am.  There were still decorations out from last night (which I still don’t know what it was for), like this watermelon carving.


After breakfast, we set off for Grotte de Koumac.



It was a tough hike inside the cave, climbing, crawling, duckwalking, walking through water, etc.  I didn’t bring my camera inside, but used the action-camera, which I’ll upload some videos once I find a good way to.

After coming out of the cave, we had to hike over the massif to get back.  There was some really nice scenery on the way, and very sharp rocks!








After we finally made our way back to the car, we went to the supermarket at Koumac, bought some food and went out to the water to eat.


When we got back to camp, I had a shower, and dinner.  Very very tired, hopefully I have a chance to detail it more soon.

Thursday, Friday, Saturday

Thursday lunch


Finished late on Thursday evening, waiting for an electrical lock-out to be completed.  Site is very calm at night.


A collection of confiscated handmade tools.


Dinner… burger and chips!  Reminds me of my last lunch outing at the Perth office, when we went to Mcdonalds!


On Friday, went to the Chinese Canteen for lunch… ribs!


Went to the top level again for a deisolation.  This time, took the lift for the first time.  It’s scarey, but saves so much energy than climbing the stairs!  See the lift?


Went up, did some deisolations, and got to see the sunset.  Unfortunately, my phone battery went flat.  So these are all I could get:

Shadow of the building I’m on



The last photo I could get before my phone ran out of battery.


Proceeded to complete the rest of the deisolations in the building.  It’s very dark after the sun goes down.  Fortunately, I had my little torch with me, which gets very hot!

Saturday was a busy day as well – mostly with getting permit to work signed and lock-out-tag-outs.

I had ribs for lunch again, in the Western kitchen.


It was a wet evening, the clouds usually roll over the massif.


Then I went to dinner.


So much has been happening.  I’m always so busy at work, there’s so much to do.  I think I’m coping well with it.  The people here make it an interesting place to work, and sometimes fun.  I learned some French repeating after people, funny things.

Bus driver offered to buy my safety glasses from me

On Tuesday, I got in the bus to go to lunch and the driver offered to buy my tinted safety glasses I was wearing for XPF1000.  I told him that these were my only pair, so couldn’t.

Tuesday lunch:


Tuesday was a long day, left work just before 7pm, and straight to dinner.  Ate dinner in 15 minutes then went to French class.  I left French class early because I was tired, came back, and was in bed by 9.

Tuesday dinner:


I went to work a bit earlier on Wednesday so that I could start the crews working earlier (so that they don’t have to wait until I arrive).  There were a few issues.

  1. I went straight to the health and safety department to sign out two gas detectors, but I didn’t have a pen with me, so had to go back to my office to get a pen first.
  2. After getting the gas detectors and ready to go out on site, realised that someone had taken my harness (you must wear the harness if going up).  Managed to borrow a harness.
  3. I got up to EL50 just after 6am, prepared the paperwork.
  4. Kept calling control room on the radio to turn the ventilation fans on, but no answer.
  5. Waited for the crew to come.
  6. No one came.
  7. I left to go down to the control room to tell them to turn on the ventilation fans, on my way down, saw one of the supervisors who said that they were out of materials.


There was an eclipse later on in this morning.  My phone camera couldn’t capture it, and when I put the solar glasses over the top, the autofocus fails.


My shadows started to look funny under the eclipse.


I was involved in a job on Wednesday where I saw some actions I didn’t want to see.  Stopped them from what they were doing, after talking with the supervisor, managed to agree on an alternative method.  It slowed the job down, but I feel better.

Wednesday lunch:


The view from elevation 50m, the water is so blue, but we can’t go there!


Got back to my desk and saw a note saying that we were going out for dinner! Hooray!  On my way to the bus stop, to be picked up, I saw them playing volleyball!


Later, we went to Kone for dinner.  To the same restaurant – Escale.




The menu!


It’s been so busy this week that I haven’t even had time to turn on my laptop for the past few days.  I go to work thinking that I can leave early, but never do.  Though I work more hours, I’m only allowed to book my normal 60 hours a week, not more Sad smile

I need to go get ready to have breakfast, we’re going caving today, I’ll write about Thursday onwards soon!

Didn’t sit at my desk until after 6pm

Superly busy Monday.  So much happening.  Just remembered that I might not have returned the gas detectors!  I’ll have to check that first thing tomorrow morning.  Many things happening, lots of stair climbing.  A few issues here and there, keeping me busy.

Here’s a bin-load of boxes being loaded to elevation 50.  Totally beats carrying each individual box up the stairs!


This is what it looks like at the receiving end!


I didn’t like the way it was being unloaded, but I won’t comment about that here, so instead, you can see my lunch.


I didn’t finish the fish again, it was so dry.

This is from elevation 132 (I think), while waiting for air to drain from the isolation.


In the centre of this photo, you can see my room!


100% crop of the centre:


See the four rows? My room is the bottom left (bottom of the shortest row).





So much to do, so tired… here’s my dinner.


Dessert (all the bananas here look like that – green and brown)


And a happy juicer.


My legs are so tired from climbing up and down the stairs today.

Need to do some things before I sleep, goodnight!


Ate a lot at dinner, including a few desserts including icecream! Then after dinner, we played soccer.  It was about an hour, and a lot of fun! So tired now…


We stopped by at Kone to get some food: baguettes, drinks, etc.


Then headed out to Pindai based on some rough directions.  We stopped by at the petrol station and were told that it’s 5km away.  Drove for about 10km and then found a turn-off.  Ended up at Plage de Franco for a few minutes.RIMG0437

It was too rocky/muddy, so we headed off.


After going back on forth on RT1, and down a long driveway, Daniel called a local who told us the right way. Finally got to Plage de Pindai (Pindai Beach) and saw our South African colleagues there too!

We went walking/snorkelling to the island (Ilot Pindai), then walked around it, then snorkelled back.  On the way, some saw a sea snake.  On the island, we saw a tricot raye (local sea snake) come out, regurgitate an eel, and then go back in.  At first I was wondering why it’s tongue was so long, but then realised that it wasn’t it’s tongue!  First time I’ve seen something like that!

We got back to the beach, had baguettes and chicken for lunch.



Then headed back.  Stopped by the petrol station for some icecream, and now relaxing in my room.  Will go for a walk soon.

I had videos from snorkelling but they aren’t very exciting videos.  My mask doesn’t have a good seal because I haven’t shaved!  So I didn’t snorkel well today! Sad smile

It’s Sunday morning

Yesterday, it was a busy Saturday, had a few things to attend to.  In the morning, I was getting a job started – completing the DSTI, everyone signing onto the JSA, DSTI, isolation sheet.  It took a while, and fortunately I followed procedures as when I was still going through it, I was audited.  It was good though – I had the required paperwork, and only a few minor issues which I can learn for next time.  I didn’t get to sit at my desk until maybe 4pm.  Then there were things to do until about 7pm.

For lunch, I had


At night, many people sit around outside the offices and later even come into the office to use the desks.  It was like an internet cafe, everyone comes in with their laptops.  I can understand though, to be able to keep in contact with home is very important, especially for these people who have even longer rosters than me!  (10-2, or 24.5-2.5, or even a year+!)

There were lots of people waiting for the bus


And then I realised that the lighting was pretty good (fluorescent tubes on either side).



The busses at this time were infrequent, so we walked to the main road and hitched a ride.  It was in the nicest car we’ve been in on site.  So clean!

I had dinner


Then we went to the bush bar: since alcohol is not allowed on site, you only have to go outside the gate, and it’s like a street party.  A very relaxed atmosphere, people sitting on one side of the road drinking, and people urinating in the bushes on the other side of the road.  There’s people singing, hitting plastic bottles for a beat, and a lot of fun!  A lot of blowing water!


Met some friendly people, had fun.  Didn’t drink but accepted a beer and held it for most of the night, then later exchanged it for an empty can and held the empty can.

The stars are so bright, you can see all the constellations.  It’s really great!  Got back after 11pm.

This morning, reluctantly got up and went to have breakfast.

Going to get ready to go out to the beach now! See you later.

You Indian?

Just got back from dinner.  I went to the Indian kitchen.

I lined up and the lady serving looked at me disapprovingly.

She looked at me and said “You Indian?”,  I was honest and said no without nodding.

I could not pretend to be Indian.

She turned to the lady next to her, and after few seconds of discussion, she reluctantly served me.


I’ll have to work on my Indianess.