Here we go!

Month: March, 2013

Mitchell has a Monkey Tail


Thursday: I had two burgers for dinner tonight.

This morning, I left my room around 5:50am and noticed that the full moon was setting behind the plant.  I went back and got my camera and took a few photographs.


Here’s Monday’s sunset.


Last night was at a teleconference which we had to end before the canteen closed.  Got back to the camp and ran to the canteen, the front door was already locked.  We were let in through the back, and then I ate the food and wondered why I ran.


Malabou Beach Hotel

Got up this morning at 7:30am, went for breakfast, then met up at 9:30am to go to Malabou beach hotel.

In our car, were Josh (driving), Ray, Liam, and I.  In the other car were Jonathan, William, Daniel, and Duncan.  On the way there, we stopped by the supermarket at Koumac to get some snacks, and saw another group on the way to Malabou (but they were only going to the beach).  We got there, and it was really nice!

I went for a walk with Josh, and took some photos, I’ll put them here once I get them developed and scanned.

Came back to the bar where the rest were drinking cocktails, and I had a banana milkshake.  After a while, we went over the jetty to the island, for lunch.  I had a burger and fries.



It was a good burger and the fries were hot, and surprisingly not too expensive and I had been expecting!

Lunch eating and sitting around, I went to sit and lie on the grass next to the volleyball field with Josh.  It looked like it was going to start raining from far, and there was a nice breeze.  I took this photo from where I was sitting, next to the volleyball field, you can see the island where we had lunch, and the rain clouds in the distance!


Had a nice little nap, then was awoken by some people moving kayaks into the water.  Then saw Liam and Ray in the pool.


Sat and enjoyed for longer, before heading back.



We were tired in the car on the way back.  Liam and I kept awake, and of course, Josh, who was driving.



When we passed fields of cows, we moo-ed with them, and they looked at us.  We were happy.

We got back and went straight to bible study.  After bible study, had dinner, and now I’m back in my room!

Still a bit sore from tennis last night.


Had Tapas at the canteen before tennis.


Relaxed Sunday

I didn’t want to go out today.  Just wanted to stay in my room and relax, and so I did!

After breakfast, came back to my room and read, looked at gear online, watched YouTube, ate my snacks from Japan, played guitar.

Then I went for lunch, saw Boon, Jacubus and Paul who were having lunch too (since they were working today!).  Then saw Daniel as well Smile  Jacobus has orange eyes.


Had fried noodles for lunch, and then icecream Smile

After lunch, I came back to my room, and then there was a power outage.  My room started getting warm without air conditioning, so I went outside to read in the shade, there was a nice breeze.  About an hour later, the power came back.

Had more snacks and a big cup of tea.


In the evening, I went for a walk and listen to music while the sun was setting.  Saw Boon blasting his body, Paul and Jacobus rowing hard at the gym, and remote control cars on the futsal field.  Now I’m back in my room before going to dinner.  I’ll have an early night tonight.


The Cyclone Non-Event

As expected, Cyclone Sandra didn’t follow the forecasted route and didn’t come close to us.  All we got was a cloudy day, periods of drizzle and some short periods of heavy rain.  I think that deep inside, many of us were secretly hoping that it would happen.  However, I wasn’t looking forward to having a day off, only to have to make up for it on Sunday – that’s what happened around New Year, when Cyclone Freda approached, construction had a day off, but had to make up for it by working on Sunday.

Week 2 has ended, Week 3 is here!

I encountered Mr Strangeman again.  On Friday, he asked for my watch.  On Saturday, when I saw him, I said “ni hao!” and his response was “ni bu hao!”.  His workmates gestured that this man is a bit crazy, but it’s funny having people like him around.

The first few hours on Saturday were spent trying to retrieve some items from the warehouse.  Getting there in the morning from site wasn’t too bad, probably left the office at 6:55am and got there at 7:05am.  Then was told that the guy I needed to see wasn’t going to be in for another half-hour.  So I waited there for him.  When he came in, he said that I needed to get a signature from construction since the material was originally indicated for construction.  So I waited for the bus to go back to the site.  After getting the signature, I called for a bus, it took about 40 minutes for a bus to come, and then finally picked up the material.  Coming back didn’t take too long, but it felt like an unproductive morning.  All I had to do was retrieve the material and be back, and it took a few hours to achieve just that!  The rest of the day was quite busy though.  Ended up leaving work around 6:45pm, had dinner, then came back to sleep.  I only had 8 scoops of icecream on Saturday.  4 at lunch and 4 at dinner.

Sunday, we were supposed to go to Poe beach, until I saw Boon at breakfast, and the plans have been changed.  We had lunch at Koumac instead.  Ray’s was working on Sunday morning.  He was working Saturday night until 10:30pm! and then Sunday working!).  I stayed in my room, blogged, read, played guitar.


I let them try on my glasses.


Didn’t get one of Boon, because he was around, taking photos.


Selfies! (With Boon behind!)


Then we took photos of each other (thanks Ray!)





It’s now week 3, Monday night.  There’s cyclone Sandra nearing, the breeze was strong tonight.  Thankfully, it hasn’t started raining yet.  After dinner, we had our bible study. There was good discussion.  We’ll see how the cyclone develops tomorrow.

According to the tracking/forecast, it should be just missing us, but we will still feel it’s effects.  Here’s the map from


Check out the satellite image!


The scaffolds I requested for the shutdown couldn’t be built today because the crews were busy doing housekeeping, so that things don’t blow away.  Safety first Winking smile


4-2-Wednesday as it is my 4th swing, 2nd week, Wednesday here!

After lunch, I was telling Ray and Duncan about a strange man who I have encountered a few times on site.  After 5pm, I was up at elevation 81m doing an isolation.  I got up there, and was looking at the valve, then I heard that man say (in Chinese) “Australian guy!”, I turned and look, and there he was, lying under a scaffold!  I took out my phone to take a photo of him and he quickly got up.  As usual, he asked me for a lock, and I told him no, that they are mine (I needed them for my isolation anyway).  Then I continued my isolation and he asks to see my phone.  He pulls his out and compares them, and asks to swap.  I said no.  Then we talk about our family, work etc.  My Chinese is so limited so I asked him if he can speak English, his response was that if he could speak English, he wouldn’t be here!  Funny guy.

Unexpected challenges slow progress but make it interesting



Oh no! VSD water leak!

Busy morning, deisolating, isolating, and then when we went to deisolate a VSD, it was pointed out that the water level was low/empty.  How does it become empty?  A leak!  the leak was found.  It’s more interesting than I know how to write.

At lunch, I had pineapple, and it got stuck in my teeth, so I came back to my room to brush my teeth.  Since I felt dirty (another humid day), I had a lunch-time-shower as well!  It felt so good!

I brought some assorted Japanese rice crackers and tea back to my office in my cup.


As I was walking to site, I got a call.  Can you see Ewan?  He is tall, but the plant is taller.


It was raining yesterday, so there’s a lot of water around.  Stale still water for dengue to breed and lots of mud to slip on.  It’s fantastic.  Even when you’re walking up stairs, mud will fall on you from someone walking on the stairs above you.



After dinner, dropped by reception while Paul tried getting batteries for his air-con remote control.  They took some from the battery disposal bin and gave it to him.  I took selfies while waiting.


End of the first week back

I arrived back on site last week on Sunday.  It took a while to adjust back into routine, so hopefully I’ll be fully back into it again tomorrow!

We went out for dinner on Friday, at Peter’s, for pizza.  It was nice to be out, though the pizza wasn’t as good as the previous time we went there.  Base was very thin, topping was sparse, cheese not as good, and not hot.  On the way back, we stopped at the bush bar for a little while.

On Saturday night, after dinner, we went to the bush bar.  It was so happening, I haven’t seen it so busy before.  It’s developed and the atmosphere more lively.  A group of Thais beating an empty 20 litre bottle as a drum and singing, and even fried chicken being sold!  Had a great time there.  As I didn’t drink, I could drive us all back into camp.

Sunday, In the morning, I had a quick breakfast and then watched a helicopter lift of a cover off the stack.


We were going to go to Poe beach.  14 of us went, packed into 3 cars.

First we stopped at Kone for supplies.

Daniel is recovering from an eye infection and the eyedrops are red.


We went to Baie des Tortues (Turtle Bay) instead.  Found a good place to sit on logs in the shade and relax.  Some of the guys started a fire and barbequed.  Some of us made sandwiches.


Ray needed help getting suncream on his back while he enjoyed barbequed prawns.


Then he massaged sauce into the meat.


It was warm weather today, and I didn’t want to be in the sun, so didn’t go into the water.  Just rested on the mat in the shade.

I walked around with Paul and took some photos, the trees were interesting.





Then I spammed more.  I used the Summitar 5cm.  Looking up the serial number on this lens tells me that it was made in 1946.  It’s a fun lens to use and had interesting character, which you can see below.  Also shot wide open, here are the shots from the camera (I also tried out of camera black and white).