Communications Technical Officer/Fire team/SAR team/Hydroponics team
Greg, how many trips have you done to Antarctica, and what keeps you coming back?
Three summers previously and this is my first winter. At first it was the adventure thing but now it is a force of habit almost. The work is great, the people are great and the environment is totally mesmerising.
What is it like being a Comms Tech here?
Good. You don’t want to overstate these things or everyone might want to come here.
If not a Comms Tech, what job would you do Greg?
Well a merchant banker is a pretty good earner, but I’m probably not dodgy enough for that. My work has always been in communications operations and technical roles so I’d probably gravitate to something like that.
Best gig as a Comms Tech?
We did some tower inspections a couple of months ago and I had to climb to the top of one of our radio masts. That was pretty funky. Nice pics from up there. Was also great watching all the people on the ground, like little ants, looking up waiting for me to fall off. (There was one person very happy to see you get down safely from there Greg!)
What is the worst/funniest thing you have seen someone do to a computer?
Oh, where do you start? I’ve had laptops in 30 or so pieces cleaning spilled beer out of them. I’ve had to fix problems with people’s computers where the problem was, it wasn’t turned on. Vegemite in the DVD drive. There is an old saying in I.T. that for every idiot-proof system, the world goes ahead and creates a new level of idiot, but that would be unkind to repeat such things.
Are you a Microsoft or Mac person, and do you think this is related to whether you are a dog or a cat person?
So there are three main types of computer operating systems around: Microsoft, Apple Mac and Linux/Unix variants. We won’t talk about Linux people because they’re a bit odd, but the rest of the world is Microsoft or Mac. I’m a Microsoft person, done all my work with that technology. My first PC was a Mac. I’ve never gone back. As for the relationship between Mac/Microsoft vs. cat/dog, I’ve not been able to prove a direct link there. I think there is a relationship between Mac/Microsoft and thinking with the left/right side of the brain though. Don’t ask me which is which.
We have all admired your aurora and lights photography, what do you like about these sort of images?
I love the camera as a tool for both capturing and creating images. They can be as simple as a snapshot or more complex as a time lapse movie but they are all about expression. I’m not very good at it but I try to stop and think before I take a photo and ask myself, what makes this image interesting? What would a stranger want to see in this image?
What has been your best Antarctic experience?
Going home’s pretty good. Too many good experiences to mention. Probably the highlight for me is discovering all those unexpected skills that people have. Many of them are simply amazing. Who’d have thought that our Doc was such a talented quilter (and pretty handy with a band-aid too I must report). (Why thank you Greg. Ah yes, I do recall that you were in the running for the most innovative injury award over the summer.)
Who inspires you Greg?
I’m inspired by people who selflessly make a contribution to the people around them: thinking the late Mother Theresa of Calcutta or the late Fred Hollows. People who could have sat on their hands but decided to use their skills to make a difference for others. I’m also inspired by those early Antarctic explorers who came down here, with a compass and a sextant and not much else for navigation, to a place which was uncharted and managed to survive and explore this wonderful place. I’m easily inspired.
Greg, what have you learned living in our little Davis community?
I’ve learned three things down here.
1. It’s a long time between ships when there’s no tomato sauce. (Ahem. Who had a girl-look in the green store and found six boxes of said tomato sauce?)
2. The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
3. You don’t need to have a long neck to be a goose. Quite pertinent don’t you think? (Indeed)
What kind of car would you be Greg?
Not sure. Something efficient and reliable, but not too fancy. Bit of an A to B car. Someone suggested a Mini Moke, but I don’t know that it qualifies as either efficient or reliable. I think they may have been getting personal (not sure).
What is in store for you when you return home Greg?
Home is still a long way off. I don’t have work plans yet. Having my wife Nicki stay down here over the winter would be a nice wish to fulfill. She’d love to work down here and 12 or 13 months is a long time separated. I am looking forward to seeing Nicki and our two cats (Boags and Cooper). The cats miss me. I think Nicki does too.
Thank you so much for your time Greg. You know I am always in awe of the IT magic you manage to perform for me! And always with a smile.