Day 17: Waterproof
am woken by Martin well before it is light. As he was bringing me a cup
of coffee it was probably pretty uncharitable to greet him with the immortal
Leahy early morning greeting.
Although a thin cloud
layer has spread over the night it is still quite frosty. It is nowhere
near as cold as the previous morning's –7 or –8 degrees,
but is cold enough to put me off washing until after breakfast. Peter
has already freshened up down at the creek. After eating I follow suit.
The water is clean enough to drink safely and is very cold. I soon feel
‘fresh' so walk back to the porch of the old hut to have another
cup of tea before pulling the tent down to let Kate arrive by helicopter.
Five minutes later, as we work to move/disassemble the surprisingly robust
tent we hear the sound of a helicopter above the beguiling song of the
bellbirds. Damn, Kate's nearly here!
We ask Chris to give
us five minutes to clear the landing site. Chris dips down, only to climb
again a couple of times to blow any loose stuff from the landing site.
The last thing he wants is a fern branch becoming entangled in his rotors.
Then he comes down to land. It's the first time that Kate has seen
the clearing. I think that she is impressed.
quick cup of tea and we walk down to the creek. I'm told to carry
Mikey's rucksack while he has mine. It's because the crowbar
that I'll be using later is in Mikey's bag. I'll be
in trouble when I get home because my bag was chosen by Liz to match my
outfit. Not sure that Mikey's is the right colour. I look across
to Derek and John as they unplug from each other's equipment to
walk along the treacherously slippery rocks. Memories of the first ‘Rough
Science' series flood back. Those two guys work so closely together
that they might as well be man and wife. I'm sure that they know
each other better than many married couples. I love the close teamwork
here and love working with five or six people rather than fifteen or sixteen.
Kate, Martin, Mikey
and the crew walk down one of the old mineshafts. I am to stay near the
surface with ‘Peter the ground crew'. I chat to Peter for
another half an hour or so about culling in the interests of the environment
and why you should never walk down a creek if you don't know it.
After a while I begin to worry about the guys down the mine. Peter and
I have talked for ages. We haven't heard landslips and there is
no reason to suspect that the shallow mineshaft is full of gas but we're
a little uncomfortable. We walk to the entrance - no sound comes from
it. We don't have a torch but can hardly get lost so walk slowly
down the claustrophobic passage. Still not a sound. God. I hope that they
are OK. We slowly work further into the mine, now in total darkness, then
I hear Derek's laugh. They must be OK. We wait a while and then
see lights. Apparently there has been a technical problem.
others exit the cave and we climb up to an exposed reef of quartz. I hammer
some rock off and Peter carries it to the hut while I hump Mikey's
bag and some tools back. We've finished filming a little early.
Cool! We clear up and leave the place in silence again. Our next stop
is a quarry where Kathy and J are trying out their seismometer. The final
scene takes hours to film because each time Kate twists the lever to set
the explosives off nothing happens and because the construction isn't