Explosive Chopper Ride

Where should I start?

Lol... Somewhere along a lunch in (where else?) Dakotan.
Chilli dogs-

They are huge! I only managed to finish one of the chilli dogs. It's not bad but I believe there's loads of calories in that. It's not really that spicy, with kidney beans, and a large helping of cheese on top.

3rd day of field work, got a ride on the chopper :)

Totally certified mushroom... Had to put on a hard had and safety vest around the staging area. The pilot gave me sort of a heli orientation, stuff like no going around the back of the chopper, signalling the pilot on the way out, seat belts, etc.

What can I say? It was pretty cool! The chopper's very responsive, couldn't find any other words to describe it. It turns around like so fluidly, the chopper rising slowly and then everything on the ground gets further and further away until they are just little specks...

This is Chapo! One of the nicest guys in the crew. He's kinda short and a funny guy with a jacket that are 3 sizes too big for him hahahahah.

Somewhere there is a store that we always go to... For me to pee and get unhealthy deep fried food. Or chips.

I was on the chopper just to sort of observe the troubleshooters fix the lines. And I say observe, because they told me I didn't have to get off the chopper, which I gladly oblige. Even though I was just sitting in the chopper the whole time, my feet just felt cold because of, well, the cold! Can't imagine how these guys go out there in the wind and deep snow.

Saw the other guys who practically had to hike their way even on even land because the snow is so thick... goes up sometimes to knee level, and worse at waist level I heard.

I got bored sitting in the chopper after a while, lol, simply because the whirring of the engine was drowning everything else and I didn't have anyone to talk to inside.

This is Chapo again with a shooting pack. This thingie control the the explosive shots. I was really excited when I got to know that I'll be going with the shooters to see some dynamites in action. So I followed Chapo and 3 others in a truck. They said they gonna stop by the recorder first.

Btw, the recorder is a trailer where all datas from the shots go to. The observer, Hector (you will see him later) controls and QCs the signals received.

But somehow along the way, to cut a long story short, Chapo and the others didn't know where I was and they went on ahead to shoot! I missed the good stuff :(
Then as I searched for them, I stumbled upon Joe, the vibe tech. Lol... went into the warm vibe just because I didn't know where to go to. Snapped some pics of some more snow flakes lol...

The recorder:

And here is Hector! He's a pretty nice guy (seems like everyone is). There was once when someone opened the trailer door and left it open and the chilly wind just filled the trailer. Hector got up (he's usually seated cos he's just too busy radio-ing people or clicking away on the mouse.) and looked around and pulled his hoodie tight! Hehehehhe just like Kenny :D

Mike Lampe, the tech support fella. Taught me a lot of stuff, just didnt know if I did retain all of them!

How instant can Americans get? Found in trailer:

Hector dumped me with this great stack of notes from Sercel, a sub-company under CGGV to let me read. lol.

Back to the trailer in staging, this is the map where Junior the coordinator notes lines that have been laid out. The pink highlighted ones means its done.

Sunset @ staging:

My instant dinners for the few nights: Chicken Oriental with my fave steamed broccoli :)

This is pasta meatballs... looks good?

Well, looks are deceiving... it tastes YUCKY!. Ueks... thinking about it makes me feel sick. It's not rotten or anything. It's just the taste it's so weird and gooey... yucks. I threw everything after about 2 small nips.

Finally, I get to go out with the shooters! I was already warned by the others that it's gonna be cold and they are not going to pick me up just after a few shots. So I got prepared, wore 2 layers of socks, both wools, 2 pairs of gloves, including one that Junior lent me that should keep me sufficiently toasty.

It was kind of a scary feeling, having the chopper drop you there and then leaving you. Well, at least there was the other 2 shooters there too. They signalled me to follow them and I began this long hike up and down the hills. It may not seem hard, but trekking in that snow is exhausting! It goes up to thigh-high in some areas and you practically had to wade through that... so it's pretty tiring. I was doing pretty good, not really cold at all except my feet. I think it's probably due to the lousy $30 boots I had. Anyway, as long as you keep on moving, your body pretty much stays warm.

Top pic: see that high cliff over there? We came down from there! It was quite steep and about 3m high. No way you could walk down, so had to park my butt at the top and slide down! It's fun! The good thing is that it is so cold, that the snow does not make you wet. Just brush them off and you're good to go :)

Wild flowers... that are dead? But not quite...

Oh yea, talking about shooting packs... I was disappointed cos I was hoping to see some blowouts. What are blowouts? Hmm... to get seismic datas, explosives are used as one of the ways to obtain them. These dynamites are planted deep into ground (sometimes up to 50m) and are blasted where the receivers/geophones intercept the waves and translate these information into data. Blow outs happen when the plugging is not done well enough. Blow outs are not good because the energy is going up instead of going downwards.

So anyway, there isn't any blowouts because the ground was hard, and there was also snow, and melted snow which created ice thus hardening the surface even more.

I was ready to head back after about 7-8 shots, I think that took around half an hour-40mins. Lolz, this is me getting ready to rob the deers...

huh? did I say deers? Some weird unidentified tracks...

While waiting for the chopper to pick me up, the guys took a quick cigg break lol. The guy in blue jacket, actually had snow lined on his lashes!

L-R : Junior, dunno-name, and Pablo.

I enjoyed working with these people, I may not know much Spanish, but they are a bunch of happy-go-lucky people and funny. I was almost done with my assignment and have most of the materials that I may need (I hope) so there was one day I was so bored that I was just sitting there staring into space. One of the crew, a coordinator, Junior asked me if I wanted to watch a movie on his laptop.
And so I did, it was Babylon AD, not bad has Vin Diesel in it too. Not a huge fan of his, but the movie was alright. Halfway through the movie, I heard noises from the back of the trailer so I asked Pable, and he said a bunch of them are at the back 'play dice' lolz.

They were playing a Mexican card game, the rules seem to be simple enough, get rid of all the cards in your hands, either sort them in order or same numbers. 3 cards per set.

Counting down the days back to Houston...3 more days to go. I had fun here, at the same time I am nervous about that 15-mins presentation that we are all supposed to deliver on Wednesday of the week back there. I hope the materials I had are sufficient, and I hope that's good to make my instructors happy...

Sigh... 3 more days.

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