Saturday, March 12, 2011

Checking, training and gathering

Today the islander aircraft came with the FIGAS (Falkland Islands Government Air Service) fire officer.  Twice a year the fire apliances used to met the plane are checked at all the camp airstrips.  The apliances are set off, and then refilled.  It is a chance for both Christopher and I to use the apliance.  We are also instructed on what we should do both outside and inside the aircraft if the unthinkable happened and there should be an accident.  The apliance here is a one man unit but we both attend the plane.  It is a tow along extinguisher.  It is very simple to use,  my job is to turn a knob which in turn pressurises the cylinder. Christopher works the  hose, which is also straight forward and operated by a lever.  It is always good to refresh.
Sheep being pushed into the paddock (this was several years ago, the sheep in coats were part of a trial)
Concordia Bay is now coming a day earlier. It looks like there will be too big a swell for her to load on Tuesday.  This meant we had to start gathering today.  We didnt find out until about 11:00am but it was then too late to start until after the fire visit.  Christopher went out at about 3:00pm and gathered the back of the island.  This camp is 1,056 hectares.  I didnt go for this one as I'm not needed.  It was 4:50pm before we were able to go out and start the second gather which is a  biger piece of land at 1,367 hectares.  I went out on my beat which is to go to the far side of the island and go down around the coast pushing any sheep I see over into the middle of the island.  Today I had loads of sheep on my beat and they were fit and quick.  By the time I got to Deception Island which is where I  sit and wait for Christopher while he brings the sheep out  of Strike Off point, my sheep which had pulled out into the middle of the island where pulling back and heading into his point.  This is not good because Christopher is normally 30 minutes or more clearing it out and I had visions of my hundreds meeting him half way down the point.  Today was my lucky day however because there were no sheep in the point at all and he was back up the point before they had got too far into it.  All in all it was a very good gather and the sheep were in the paddock at 6:10pm.  We would not even normally contemplate leaving so late to gather but needs must and today it all worked out.

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