DAY 09 – White slips and Rampancy

This morning I woke to cast my eyes on the island of New Caledonia for the first time.  New Caledonia was discovered by Captain James Cook on the 4th September 1774.  He anchored at Balade, explored inland, climbed MountVengaya, and observed an eclipse of the sun from PoudiouIsland.  He called it so because he thought it looked like Scotland.  Which by the way it doesn’t, perhaps he spent too much time at sea.


Anyway, by about 1130 we were tied along side and met with Mackenzie Gerringer of the Yancey-Drazen empire, who will be coming on board for the rest of the voyage in place of young James.


Steve and I went and explored the thrills and spills of Noumea only to find that there were none.  None at all.  Although trips often sounds slightly glamorous, we inevitably end up up on the bad end of a bad harbour, and that’s were we were.


At some point in all the chaos a few of jumped off the ship into the harbour which was a welcome refreshment.  We took the opportunity to display our Scottish Rampant lion flag for all of the New Caledonians to see.


Our Agent, a guy called Seb, started the ball rolling on tracking down replacement liquid nitrogen dewers to replace those smashed up in the storm.  Likewise, within a few hours there was a fridge man on board who seemed shocked to see how old the -80 freezer was and things didn’t look good.


The rest of the day was spent waiting in the hot and sweaty deck for the next person to run down from the bridge waving a white slip of paper shouting “Al!, another email”, which meant there was another message that contained either bad news, no news, or sheer ambiguity.


By the afternoon it was clear that we would be sailing tomorrow as we still have no liquid nitrogen and no working -80- freezer and thus no means of preserving samples, we did however, get 6 new garden chairs to replace those that got smashed in the storm, so at least we could sit on deck in relative comfort.  We did what all good seafarers do in a town like this and had a party on deck, which for some spilled over into the town.  My evening comprised – beer – white slip with no news – beer – white slip with bad news – beer – white slip with no news etc etc.


It was a good night but I hope that things can be resolved tomorrow so we can get out to the trench and unleash the researchasaurus rex.


Alan -13th November


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