Mayen is a strange place to live on. We are only 18 people on this island,
everybody lives and works together. We live in separate rooms, these are
approx 15 sq.m (161 sq.feet), we eat
breakfast, lunch and dinner together, almost everything is in one station building.
We never get to travel to the mainland, unless of course you get really
ill or something. I got to go home for two weeks in January, because of an
inflammation in a molar (rear tooth). Else, we stay here for 6 or 12 months. If
we are lucky, we might get visitors for 3 hours if supply airplanes have
available cargo space. As I stay for 12 months, I will get a 9 day visit
in the overlap period when we switch crews.
So, what do I do here? Well, I work a lot.
My job function is to serve, repair and do maintenance work on all
electronic equipment. The Loran C radionavigational transmitter is our
primary focus, but we do also have a remote controlled coastal radio
station that needs repair and maintenance. This station is controlled by
Bodø Radio, and transmits on VHF ch 16/60, and MF 2182/1743/DSC. From
April 1st I start working as chief of electronics crew, with more personal
responsibilities, writing reports, planning maintenance and managing the
airport as new tasks.
I really love the work, I am the
kind of guy who like to know how
stuff works. I like building things, making things work, finding
errors and stuff, it is like a puzzle - and we sometimes has some rather
strange errors. Working with check lists is ok, but I actually like the
challenge of plowing into blueprints and tracing errors. We
work in two shifts, from 0730-1600UTC and 1600-2300UTC. (Norway: add 1
hour). The one with the evening shift also is on stand by alert during
nighttime. Sometimes our pager beeps in the middle of the night, and we
have to start working. We have pagers with different error codes, alerting
us with everything from phone calls to fire alarms and transmitter errors.
I recently made myself a list of things I miss and look forward to do when I get back to the mainland. Some are of course private, but here are some of the items on my list:
|Despite the isolation, every day if I am outside, I stop, look around and say to myself: “What an adventure!” - it is an adventure! Not many people get to travel here, even if you are a millionaire it is difficult getting here. There are no commercial transports here, only the Norwegian Coastguard and the Royal Norwegian Airforce comes here with supplies and crew. I guess you have looked at the pictures, and when you like hiking like me, this is an extremely nice place to be, volcanic rocks and crazy formations everywhere.|
|My job is, as I already wrote, really interesting! I have a M.Sc. degree in Engineering Cybernetics with radionavigation as my specialty, so working at the Loran station is just about perfect. I'll only stay here for one year, as this is the maximum time here without leave. Some people come back many times, I'm not sure whether I'll reapply sometime or not.|