16 Dec The Mission
Luke’s Wolfe Creek blog in August was so entertaining that we asked him to put pen to paper again on his next journey. Turns out, we didn’t have to wait long. Luke’s journal continues … (the story started with On the Road Again)
Most expeditions are content with one aim, for example: hunting for a meteorite. This is generally more than enough excitement for most people …
Not us, apparently! Not only are we going to try to recover one meteorite, we’re going to aim for three meteorites! We’re also going to service half the Nullarbor DFN cameras on the way, and build a brand new camera station somewhere. We certainly don’t do things by halves! There have only been 10 days to plan for the trip, not just for Martin and myself but for seven people in total. You’ll be surprised to hear that these trips are not as simple as jumping in a car and going. So I want to give you a taste of the blood, sweat and tears that goes into packing a truck for this kind of expedition:
12:00 pm We gather with the team in the shade on the grass by the library, chatting about the trip and making sure everything is in order. This is going to be the last relaxing moment for the rest of the day and probably the next 3 weeks.
1:00 pm Drive to various hardware shops to get extra bits and bobs
2:30 pm Go to the Geology department to load the truck with camera building things (stand*, batteries, antenna, star pickets, fencing wire, camera repair kit) and camping things (tent, gazebo, table, water jerry cans, fridge, stove, axe, shovel, jack, car repair kit, , lanterns, tarpaulins, chairs).
3:30 pm Drive to Coles to buy 6 days’ worth of food. Plan meals, buy goodies, fill back seats with boxes and camp fridge with food. Ute is now full…
5:00 pm Go to lab, collect four cameras and many spare hard drives (to replace in existing cameras). Luckily ‘Tetris Master’ qualifications are a prerequisite for these trips. Squeeze equipment into the ute’s tray. The leaf springs (suspension) are flat – the ute can’t take any more!
6:00 pm Back to the office to load up swags, more chairs, and the new UAV (drone). Throw unceremoniously on top … Rearrange ute tray to fit in these, plus three jerry cans, a six-person cooking kit, personal things, a guitar, a football, and I nearly forgot the beer, wine, gin and tonic (very important to not forget the liquid morale boost). Oh, and turns out our physical bodies take up space too …. Shift more heavy gear around, try to squeeze twice as much volume into half as much space. Done. (By the end I was dead on my feet, totally exhausted, and could feel my bed calling me)
8:45 pm Pick up another swag and a tent from Ellie’s house … Yes, more things! Tomorrow- tomorrow we’ll fit them in, somehow!
9:00 pm Hadrien, who witnesses the state I am in kindly offers to cook me dinner (for which I am very grateful!)
10:30 pm Packing my own things. I’m luckily a fieldwork veteran at 25 (so far I’ve done around 250 days in the field) so packing was rapid, was although somewhat countered by my delirious state.
12:00 am Bed.
6:00 am Up! Shower, shave, make myself as clean as possible before 2-3 weeks with no shower happens.
7:00 am Nearly forgot the limes from the tree for the GnT. Disaster averted!
7:15 am Martin arrives, loads up gear. Suspension starting to invert …
8:00 am Pick up fuel jerries, cooking kit etc, tie everything down with bungees, ratchet straps, netting and a good dollop of hope and wishes.
9:00 am Let it be known for all who care that the wheels are turning! We are off! Let the fun begin!
*I’m actually writing this on the road as we drive … and we’ve just realised we forgot the Solar panel stand … guess we’re not going to be building a camera any time soon then!
For the next installment of Luke’s blog head over to Luke Crosses the Nullarbor, Day 1.