Tuesday, February 15, 2011

 Here are the guys from Clarence-Nambucca, left to right, Robyn, Bryan, Graeme (kneeling), Kim, Victor, George, Nicky and me. Graeme was my team leader, and Kim and Robyn team mates.
 This was a huge job at the marina that we started but had to leave to get back to Cairns. I was all harnessed up at the bottom of ladder when it was canceled.
 Kim and I did this job alone on the roof - chainsawing off a big clump of palms and two single palms.
 These were enemy number one (well two if you count heat/humidity). Green ants make nest with leaves and actively defend the branch by swarming on you and biting and spraying formic acid. Which as poor Kim found out really hurts if they bite you on your eyelids and spray in your eyes (she got one on each eye within two minutes). They also will drop down from above if tree is bumped.
 The trees were stripped of leaves and minor branches for kilometers. Jungle covered hills now look as if a bad fire has been through.
The marina got badly hit - Hinchinbrook island funneled the worst onto Cardwell. There was an 8m swell which lifted the boats and dropped them onto the land.


Typical scene, house in background is one of about 80 totally uninhabitable, piles of debris and green waste on verges. Cardwell has about 1500 residents and most houses had some damage, their local SES has 6 members.

First job

This was our first job, a classic example of a job too difficult for standard SES. It will need a professional tree lopper because no-one in our team has done the advance tree felling course (so we can only cut fallen trees) and the two broken branches could fall at any time (called widow-makers) onto the roof and do more damage.

Hurry up and wait

Here we are "waiting" for a bus which we got quite good at.

Bankstown SES building

The Bankstown SES complex is apparently the best in the state. It was purpose built and cost 8 million. Here we got our medical checks, about 5% got sent back home mainly due to high blood pressure, and got DPT and HepA shots. We got given some new gear including waterproof duffel bag, camelback water bags, sports towel and extra uniform so we all had 3 full sets. We spent the night in Sydney in a nice hotel.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Home sweet home for three days

Staying in the showgrounds in the bar (no free drinks though there is a pub within walking distance). Bus leaves at 7:15 for Cardwell 80 min drive, returns at 5:30pm (in theory). Sounds like things are a lot more comfortable than the first rotation working here (we are third). They had no aircon, 3 cold water showers (for 70 people) and little equipment.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

My first roof job

Actually I only went onto lower roof but had to do it without safety line since we couldn't get the rope over both storeys from the ground.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

First night of deployment - roughing it ...not

Staying in Sydney before flight to Cairns then bus to Innisfail where we will be staying in the showgrounds, traveling daily to Cardwell. Two needles (DPT and HepA), and warnings on power lines (people hooking generators up leaking back into grid), asbestos, crocodiles, mosquito borne diseases, prickly heat, heat stroke, foot care, bedbugs, and dehydration.