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Jarntimarra Diary - Michael West
Michael West, an engineering student from the University of Sydney and the youngest member of the Project Jarnitmarra expedition has been enlisted to share some of the bizarre, humorous and out of the ordinary incidents from our Central Australian adventures.
Day 8 - 3/11/01
Well it's a week into our trip and I have finally been able to get some time on a laptop to share some thoughts and experiences with the wider world. After hording slices of fruit cake and butter scotch biscuits for several days I have been able to bribe Jennifer and distract Graham for long enough to type this!! No, this doesn't really reflect reality but the absurd has not been far from us in the past week.
To begin with I must mention the caricatures of James W and James L (a.k.a. 'Jim'). Sean Connery, cricket commentator and Marvin the Martian impersonations have provided light hearted relief. Cries of 'O Goodie!!' by little green men wannibees haven't been that uncommon.
The episodes of amnesia from our president, Guy Murphy, have been quite worrying. I have frequently had to remind him of the location of his hat, drink bottle and other such items. Of particular concern was the fate of Guy 's mobile phone. It appeared to have disappeared somewhere between Adelaide and Alice Springs - a period of nearly 4 days. We hoped it was somewhere amongst the tonnes of gear we have spread across 4 large 4WD vehicles. Our friend from the US, Larry Lemke, found it down the back of one of the seats. Larry was happy and Guy was as happy as Larry! :)
CB radios are wonderful creations. Apart from providing instant communication between vehicles, real time decision-making and opportunities for questioning the other members of the team CB's enable the chance for some great one liners. Most memorable of these was while the Today Show crew and Nick McCallum were filming our convoy driving down a dirt track looking all serious and expeditionary like. Just as we passed by the camera man lying in the dirt filming, James' voice cries 'HI MUM!' over the radio. All serious faces disappeared. Even the intrepid reporter gave a smile.
Exploits of vocabulary have also been quite impressive as we hunch around a bank of laptops late in the evenings. Our aim has been to include as many large and extraordinary words in Jen's daily reports. See if you can find some of the following suggestions in our daily reports: transmogrified, ethereal, perambulate, machinations, PERT (don't ask!), ferruginous and indifaticable.
And finally the other day while traversing sand hills along the Oodnadatta Track I questioned,
'Is there any geological reason why these sand hills are so up and down. almost sinusoidal?'
To which Jim replied philosophically,
' The answer my friend is blowing in the wind!'
Time to conclude my report as Graham is circling and Jennifer desires more food. I hope to return soon. Maybe I can get some time on the computer in the future in exchange for my water rations.
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