30 September 2002
Expeditioners heading off on voyage 1 and 1.1 spent three days at Bronte last week undergoing basic training. This training session will be continued on the voyages south with field training officers accompanying the expeditioners to provide more training both on the ship and at the stations.
|Quad training at Bronte. Photo by R. Easther|
About one hundred expeditioners attended detailed briefings in the areas of:
- Australia's Antarctic science program
- operational support for science
- environmental management principles and all the attendant legislative requirements
- community living
- separation issues
- harassment and anti-discrimination issues
- alcohol and drug abuse education
- how to communicate with those back home
- an overview of the season's science programs for each station
- voting in Antarctica
- information on on voyage management
- an introduction to buildings and facilities at each station
The expeditioners underwent a comprehensive training program which included briefings and participation in practical sessions on:
- basic quad training
- basic field first aid
- basic fire fighting
- how to use camping equipment such as Tilley lamps and 'choofer' stoves
- basic navigation
- search and rescue
Each of the two groups participated in an overnight exercise which included basic navigation and search and rescue techniques.
On arrival at Bronte, the weather was far from pleasant. Heavy snow falls preceded the group's arrival, providing them with a taste of what was to come in Antarctica. However, the snow quickly turned to rain and ingoing Mawson station leader, Sarah Bolt, recalled I woke during that first night andheard the rain come down with a vengeance. I was as warm as toast in my cabin bunk, just so thankful that it was the other party that was sleeping out in the tents that night!
|Rough terrain quad training at Bronte. Photo by S. Bolt|
For many of those present, the quad training exercises was the first time they had been on a bike. Facilitated by a professional Honda trainer, the course introduced the expeditioners to the basics of machine handling, skills which would be further extended in Antarctic snow and ice conditions once each expeditioner reached the stations.
Most of us felt far more confident at the conclusion of the quad session than when we started. This was the first time that I had ever used a fire extinguisher as well, and I am sure it was the same for many of the others. It was particularly interesting to learn how not to put out a fire!
Fire fighting training at Bronte. Photo by S. Bolt
Despite the cold bleak and windy weather, we had very productive session in VHF and HF radio techniques. This was particularly valuable for those of us who had never used a radio before. Our instructor, Al Rooke willingly shared his years of experience and gave us many useful tips and clues.
Sarah was impressed with the enthusiasm of all who took part in the training program. I was particularly taken by the good humour and tolerance of all those who had done this training so many times before. They continually encouraged all of us for whom this training was quite new, and contributed a great deal to the success of the Bronte program.
You will need the Apple QuickTme plugin installed be able to view these videos. The plugin is available from http://www.apple.com.au/quicktime/. Please be aware of the file sizes as they may take a while to load if you have a slow Internet connection. All video by Rob Easther.