Photography page, Antarctica images and a new development

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I’ve been meaning for a very long time to upload some decent galleries of my photographs to this blog, for the reader’s general enjoyment.  You’ll have noted the occasional random image post in the past.  To this end, I’ve begun experimenting with a gallery plugin, accessed via the “Photography” page (above, or click the link).

So far, I’ve just uploaded a small selection of photographs from my last Antarctic trip, as expedition doctor for Cheeseman’s Ecology Safari’s voyage to the Falklands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula aboard the MV Polar Star.  Have a look and let me know what you think of the interface.  There’s obviously more to come.

Finally, a new development: my photo’s have caught the eye of a local company called workART, who have an online artwork and framing business aimed at gettign good-quality prints to the public at affordable prices.  Watch this space – soon you’ll be able to order many (or any!) of my photographs as framed prints at low cost.

Locum MO position on Tristan da Cunha

An interesting position has emerged – Tristan da Cunha Island is looking for a locum medical officer for a limited period of time. See the info below:

“The usual contract is 12-24 months. There is however now an unusual
opportunity. They are struggling to find a replacement doctor. So
much so that they may be willing to break it up in periods of a few
months each (depending on the schedule of the supply ship – see
attached schedule) till the end of September. At the moment there are
two windows of opportunity: 26 May to 18 July and 18 July to 2
October. Perhaps the latter may still be broken up as well but the
ship’s schedule is not known yet.

There are some interesting You Tube video clips here.

As can be expected there will be the occasional medical emergency
(MI, heart failure, etc). Obstetrics is also a required skill – a
baby will be due in June. However, on the rare occasion you need to
be able and willing to give an anaesthetic / spinal and then do the
surgery yourself (eg c-section, appendectomy etc). There are 5 nurses
that can give a hand.”

You’d need to be at least and MO with relevant qualifications and experience – contact me if genuinely interested.

C-MAC Self-laryngoscopy

Today, we acquired a new toy… uh, I mean tool on loan at work.  It’s a Storz C-MAC video laryngoscope.  (If that doesn’t mean anything to you, you’re allowed not be be excited and stop reading now.  Still here?  OK – it’s a thingymegummy for looking down the throat for putting in a breathing tube in patients under anaesthesia, with a video camera built in so that you can see better.  Practical AND technogeeky… who could ask for more?)

We’ve had a GlideScope on loan for quite some time, but it regularly gets withdrawn from theatre for training, so we obviously want our own.  There is of course a lot of competition in the video laryngoscope market, with many different devices and philosophies behind their construction.  I’ve really enjoyed the GlideScope, which (after you’ve ascended the learning curve) is a wonderful device, but it is good to play…uh, I mean work with as many different tools as possible.  Hence, it’s the C-MAC’s turn.

Typically, when the device arrived we had no suitable patients on which to use it, so I had to improvise:  10% lignocaine spray in my own oropharynx eased the process.  The C-MAC has an SD card slot and records photos and video at the touch of a button, so I was able to take a nice picture of my own vocal cords (that’s a Cormack-Lehane grade 2 view for those studying airways) and a video of the process:

If the video is not working you can watch it on YouTube (a goldmine for medical training, by the way):  C-MAC Self-Laryngoscopy

Powered Hang Gliding

Let me see, the short story:  Even though I have been paragliding for quite some time, I did a hang-gliding course back in 2009 because, well, it looked like fun and I had always wanted to try it.  This year my instructor posted some pictures of his newest creation – a super-light-weight powered hang-glider (PHG) trike.  It looked like fun… so I had to try it.  Here are some shots from my conversion course in Wilderness last weekend – click on the image for a larger view.  Aerial photos by me on my cellphone (don’t ask!) and the rest by my increasingly talented brother brother, Stephen.

Thick sea mist limited morning flying activity but was beautiful to behold.

Preflight checks on Kleinkrantz beach

“Magneto’s on… Clear Prop!”

First take-off!

Cruising along Paradise Ridge

Sedgefield from above Gericke’s Point

Enjoying the high life.

Kleinkrantz dune, setting off on an XC flight.

First solo out-landing

Gorgeous machine in a gorgeous spot… deserted beach for kilometers in either direction, dolphins playing in the surf, smooth firm sand to land on…

The sky is the limit…

1000ft ASL, heading back towards Wilderness.

Sure blows your hair back, baby.  Cockpits are for sissies.

Coming in to land on the Wilderness Green.

Successful short-field landing.

Marvelous machine.

The wing is a normal Will’s Wing Falcon tandem hang-glider, with no special modifications other than a ring on the keel to prevent the pylon tube for the power unit from slipping.  The power unit has a three-wheel undercarriage, making take-offs and landings much easier and safer than the traditional prone PHG designs.  Motor, undercarriage and airframe weighs in under 50kg fully fueled, falling easily within the weight range of the wing.  Another advantage of the supine design is that the flying characteristics of the wing with and without power are very similar, making it more pleasant for the pilot.  I enjoyed turning the engine off in flight and transitioning to soaring, then switching power on again and flying off to the next spot great view.

See for more information about the aircraft and learning to fly it…