DAY 04 – Stitch up

The seas finally subsided today and some rather pale and gaunt faces started to appear. The clouds parted and the sun came out and the opportunity was taken to get on with the preparation for the first wave of the research assault.

I won’t bore you with the details but it was along hard day in the sun. We have 4 deep-sea vehicles now, each with their own set of problems and check list of things to do. The biggest job was stitching together the new nets for the new fish trap. The lads were excellent in doing that. The stitchers were Peter MacMillan from NIWA, James Wilson from Victoria Uni and various guys in the crew. It looks like a trap now.

After the long slog, we called it a day at 5pm and sat on the bow, cold one in hand and had a bbq. This is now looking more like I imagined it.

In the midst of the storm I was thinking two things. 1) why on Earth have I fought so hard and invested so much time in getting another voyage on this godforsaken vessel? And 2) why oh why oh why did I ask for funding to take it on a 2000 mile round trip that will take a month. Argh. However, today when watching the sunset over the South Fiji Basin with a deck chock full of the most beautiful deep-diving landers I remembered. It’s cool.

What puzzles me more is why my team would decide to follow me to the ends of the Earth on such a ridiculous campaign. They must be mad. They are a great bunch though.

As usual I have Thom as my wing man. The perfect sergeant in the lander battalion. Asides from his ape-like strength he is solid on every level, unflappable, calm at all times and knows his stuff. Ryan, a promising undergraduate has been a constant source of amusement. He is knew to all this and thus is the butt end of every joke and stitch up, but he is so enthusiastic and helpful it’s been a pleasure having him here already. Why he is seeking all this as a career is again beyond me, but he’s taking to it like a duck to water. Heather however, is an enigma. Heather is always happy, a little ray of sunshine in an otherwise dark abyssal labyrinth. When things go wrong (which they have, regularly), Ryan goes horizontal, Thom goes quiet, I start shouting and grumping and pacing, but Heather just beams a beam and says “ah, it’ll be alright” and toddles off somewhere. Collectively the Team looks really good, we just need to start getting things in the water and coalesce this band of happy go-luckies into a formidable lander battalion.

The HADEEP team doing what the think they do best….

The HADEEP team doing what the think they do best….

Alan – 8th November


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