After lunch, saw an email from Ray with a link to news about an earthquake near the Solomon Islands and tsunami warning. Soon after, our commissioning director came out and told us about what is happening, that it was expected to arrive in an hour, that the port is being evacuated and that we don’t go anywhere (because there is no where to go). It was exciting – but then I thought, if it really did come, would it still be exciting? Would it still be exciting if I didn’t have electricity and plumbing? Maybe not for long!
Later, our safety manager would announce updates to us. It felt like in an aeroplane, while you’re watching a movie, and then it pauses for a cabin announcement from the pilot, only for him to tell you the altitude, and then interrupt you again to tell you the temperature outside. It was good to have the updates and assurance though!
Meanwhile, I was preparing for an isolation (9 mechanical, 10 electrical), as one of the major equipment was having a problem with the valve and needed to be repaired! Urgent work!
My concerned friends SMS/email/whatsapp me regarding the tsunami. Thanks for caring
Later, we were updated that the warning was lifted. There was a general sigh of
I need a chinstrap for my hardhat, the brim makes it like a kite, and it blew off my head into the mud
Around 5pm, I started the big isolation. The sun was setting when it was almost over. Check out the portable toilet sitting out on the scaffold, about 32 metres above the ground. It’s a very popular toilet (the only one around this area), and smells!
I got Andrew to help me take a photo! Thanks Andrew E!
Finished everything by 7:30, and got in the car that Scott had access to, but… the battery was flat! So we went to wait for a bus. I was tired and hungry.
We got to dinner at 7:57pm (they close the kitchen doors at 8pm), so just made it!
Had dinner, came home, and showered, then now relaxing before going to bed!
I did not go to work today expecting so much to happen.
In the morning, heard that there will be wet ore conveyed into the plant today. Was out with Scott checking that it was ready to receive. Was told to expect it to come around 11:45am. Then I had an early lunch (11am) and rushed back (11:40am), but there were some problems so I didn’t need to rush. Then suddenly got a phone call telling me that it’ll be there in 5 minutes. I quickly walked up the conveyor gallery, but only saw water on the belt.
Clean belt, only water! Five minutes later, it was brown!
This is the conveyor feed coming in.
I was spotting at a conveyor for a while.
Noticed that the roller on the belt drift limit switch was rolling at set times, so measured it on/off. I was splattered with mud.
What’s this white thing… asbestos?
There was too much water in the wet ore feed… uh ho!
The view was nice as always.
Then the control room opened the hammer mill feed slide gate and I was to press the emergency stop button. I tried to press it, and it was already pressed in, and wouldn’t stop! Then realised that it wasn’t wired up!
Then I was told to manually open the slide gate. So I began to turn the wheel with the help of Franklin. While turning, I noticed light coming from the motor. That’s where the control was!
So Roy showed me how to use that, and saved us from having to manually actuate the slide gate. It was tough!
So we began to feed from the dryer weigh belt, a batch at a time, so that it wouldn’t dry on the belt. I was responsible for starting the belt on and off, upon command. There was a lot of time in between, so I waited… and took some photos.
See the mess behind?
Then I watched the apron feeder feed onto the dryer weigh belt. The ore was so wet it looked like curry, or chocolate… or diarrhea!
What was amazing though, was how clean the apron feeder looked after the last mud had passed.
It was really cool to see material finally going through the equipment, rather than just air!
Relatively quiet week overall.
On Friday night, we went out to drink (celebrating a project milestone). It was nice to be out of camp on a Friday night. There was a bus that brought us there.
We found a good place to sit and talk.
On Saturday, the buses weren’t frequent, so there was a big crowd waiting to get into the bus.
Got to lunch to eat this.
On Saturday evening, I got to see the pre-ops band play at the bar, just very quickly while waiting to be picked up to go to Deon and Rob’s place for Deon’s birthday barbeque.
It was really nice to go out of camp for the second night in a row (and second Saturday night in a row, since we went there for Australia day barbeque last week too!). It was really dark outside, which let us see the stars really well!
Sunday… I got up, had 8 croissants and squeezed three oranges for juice. Then we headed out to Malabou Beach. It was a beautiful looking beach. Nice white sand and warm blue water. But nothing much to see when snorkelling. I brought my ball along (the one I bought in Busselton), it was really fun!
On the way there, we stopped at Koumac supermarket (where they sell everything). This is Boon with a machete.
Before leaving, I saw a photo of our dear site-dogs on the noticeboard outside!
We got to Malabou, but couldn’t find the beach at first.
It looked like we arrived at someone’s backyard.
Then took another small road and ended up at a private gate.
A bit more driving and we got there!
I was in a rush this morning, so only shaved the moustache off, so that I could get a good seal on the mask. However, I shaved the rest off this evening. I got to try out the new flat-lens dive door on my Sony actioncamera. It seems to have helped a lot!
There wasn’t much to see under the water, just sea-cucumbers.
It was nice being in warm blue water, surrounded by hills.
We ended up swimming towards the mangroves as there was more to see.
There was a lot of singing in the car, it was enjoyable.
Now I am brown.