Monday, November 2, 2009

Layang Layang Island Work Trip

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I arrived on Layang Layang Island not for diving activities but for work actually. I was tasked to set up a satellite communications network on the island for the military base there and the only way to arrive on the island was a chartered Antonov Russian built plane.
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Russian Antonov plane on the landing strip

As a frugal manager, I needed to watch the budget for this site. The cost to travel all the way there is high and no mistakes can be made because if one forgets to bring even an Allen key, no work can be done on the island, thus a costing disaster. I was tres tres careful during the preparations.
Usually it takes 4 people to install,test and commission a satellite communication network. Three men to carry out the civil works(cement, cabling, wiring,etc) and one person to commission the equipment(usually me).
In order to cut cost, I decided that I was up for the civil works portion and so, my colleague and I took the flight to Layang Layang Island(RM800 each). From Kota Kinabalu's airport, the flight took at least an hour to reach Layang Layang Island it was an awesome view to see atolls and charming islands along the way.
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Abundance of atolls

The moment we landed, it was work work work like removing the equipment and raw materials out from the cargo of the plane.
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Removing items from the belly of plane

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Assistance from the
military


After identifying the site,
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Obtaining the azimuth and elevation

I started constructing the base and that's where the ordeal started. We did not bring sand for the cement base as we were on an island and sand surrounded us the whole time. Also, I needed to pay for the extra load on the chartered plane. So, there I was, with a shovel and a wheelbarrow in tow, I headed towards the beach. Shovel after shovel, I poured the sand into the wheelbarrow. Once filled, I carried it back to the site and dumped it nearby and headed back to the sandy area. I took at least 30 trips to and fro. Oh how my skin got burnt by the sizzling sun.
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Sand shoveling time

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Not easy as it looks especially when you have a pair of eyes looking at you. It's bordering to irritation

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By the fifth trip, my shoulders were aching

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Very repetitive


I've gathered enough sand now to start mixing it with the cement that I brought. I learnt this trade through watching other people and so we went on mixing and mixing.
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That's right. University graduate mixing cement

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I now know how an Indonesian construction worker feels

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The hot sun really came down on me

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Pouring the cement into the base

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Not too bad eh


After 3 hours of mixing cement and pouring the cement onto the base, we left it overnight for it to dry. We continued the next day with the installation of the antenna and finally the commissioning.
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Installation of antenna

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Commissioning

We were scheduled to fly back to KK in 2 hours time and I took some time off so that I can visit a nearby island to watch migratory birds from Siberia nesting. Also I managed to catch an unforgettable sunset here before I left.
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Migratory bird nesting

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Siberian birds everywhere

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Sunset on Layang Layang island

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Sunset on Layang Layang island 2

Although it was a back breaking and tiring task,
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Fatigue

I'm glad I completed the job with satisfactory results and more importantly, a sense of accomplishment.
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Satisfied smile and look

4 comments :

jonie said...

...now a kuli too.... but the scenery was nice....

Fizlynn said...

where is your red speedo? Hahaha

Deb said...

Those nesting birds are adorable looking. Great sunset pic too

Christiela said...

hey, nice work :D is that Hasmailee i see in the photo? at least you got some good pics out of the whole ordeal