The first group of Macca expeditioners head down island on field travel training. Returning expeditioner Dr Mal Vernon reflects of his experience.
“I know you’ve done it before Vernon but things change.”
Secretly I think to myself, thank God, it’s such fun. Field training is a right of passage for anyone who wants to leave station limits for work or pleasure. It’s a professionally guided tour so what’s there not to like.
It’s a learning curve about safe processes so you return to station in one piece. After all it is the wilderness out there wherever you are in the Australian Antarctic Program.
Two thoughts I take away from training philosophically are:
- Be comfortable, part of the trip is sorting your gear out i.e. what works/what doesn’t, stop to rest, change layers, eat and drink, check out how your mates are travelling.
- It’s the journey not the destination. If you take care of point one, two takes care of itself.
There is also a process:
- Station Leader and work supervisor approval needed for the exercise.
- Training from compass and map reading to reading the geography.
- Care of the land in staying to prescribed tracks and when off track how the group travels. Until you get experience your trip leader is your font of knowledge.
- Equipment is a big ticket item from clothes to communications to carbon monoxide monitors in the huts.
It’s an exciting experience opening the door to further adventures.
Dr Mal Vernon — Antarctic Medical Practitioner