Monday, 23 March 2009

All in a day's work

I've just found this post that I wrote 3 years ago but didn't publish.  I might get around to updating this site one day! 

Today has been my last Monday at Rothera (the Ernest Shackleton arrives on Thursday and we depart for the Falklands on Sunday)

I arrived at work this morning to find a fur seal sitting outside my window - I have one of the best office-window-views on base (but then I would say that). Sitting at my desk I can see the sea, ice cliffs, mountains and the islands and often have penguins and seals passing by - so it takes some beating.

The 1st dive of the morning - Birgit and I went in off the wharf on the hunt for brachiopods which are pink bi-valve molluscs (rather like a mussel but fatter and pink!). The underwater visibility is improving and down at 25m where there is less impact from icebergs the life is stunning - anemones, sponges, sea squirts, sea cucumbers, nudibranchs and brachiopods.

After lunch we headed further afield to a site called Shack's Crack. En route we came across 3 curious humpback whales. They spent 10 minutes circling our tiny RIB and swimming right underneath us, it was a truly awesome experience to see these huge animals swimming so gracefully and watching us with as much interest as we were watching them. None of us had a camera but in someways I'm thankful for that - sometimes it's better to just watch and remember (so I apolologise for not being able to share the experienc visually).

We continued to Shack's Crack - a large crack in the rock of Ryder Bay buttress. This site offers an excellent wall dive, the rock drops vertically down into the sea and underwater carries straight on down to 100m. We were planning on diving at 18m - so it's one of those dives where you have to be pretty confident with your buoyancy. The visibility was abot 15m which is good for summer. Again the life here is abundant - large sponges, soft corals, anemones, squirts and limpets.

Tonight I am doing a shift on nightwatch (since it's the last week of summer a few of us are doing a night each this week to save one person doing it all week). I've been baking cookies (chocolate, walnut & apricot), doing my rounds (fire checks and ensuring everything is running as it should - generators, science computers, freezers etc..) and cleaning.

I can't imgine there are too many jobs out there where you get paid to do all this - but if anyone knows of any please let me know as I'm going to be unemployed this time next week!! As of next week a whole set of new adventures awaits - I'll be spending 6 weeks travelling up through South America- meeting some good friends and my brother and parents along the way. I can't believe it's been 27 months since I've seen them.


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