I figured the science of the trip so far has been covered (or at least I guessed so, none of us have seen the blog or spoken about our contributions) so I’m going to write about an average day aboard the Kaharoa in the sunny South Pacific.
The Kaharoa isn’t really lacking much (apart from size and stability in the water, but that’s what makes her quirky) however one thing that does seem to have been over looked is air conditioning in the scientist’s bedrooms, and with 4 guys in one room it gets very hot very quickly. The options are then that you either get a sweaty and patchy night’s sleep in the bedroom, or you move to the mess and sleep on the benches where you wake to find the officer on watch or Alan standing over you making coffee. After waking up the landers or fish traps are pinged up in the morning ready for recovery just after breakfast, which is usually eggs on toast in one form or another. The landers are recovered and science is done for a while. Afterwards we normally sit around in the mess whilst transiting to the next site talking about a load of old rubbish interlaced with talk of science and sense whilst eating Carol’s baked goods. Once we get to site the landers are redeployed ready for recovery the following morning and that’s the work done for the day, although recovery and deployment takes up the majority of the day and is no simple task at temperatures hitting over 30 degrees with the stench of rotting fish about your person.
From there on the night is our own and normally involves drinking our allowance of beer and sitting around a barbeque, sometimes we even get the roll of astro-turf out and sit around on that. For me it has become ritualistic to get changed into my larva larva, which is a sort of skirt, but is very ‘freeing’ in the heat. Apparently you’re not supposed to wear underpants underneath, however I haven’t quite got the technique of tying one right yet and have been grateful I kept boxers on a few times. Alan whilst capable of tying his properly wears it like a mini skirt and I think most of us have been grateful he too kept his undies on. To my mind larva larva’s and kilts are the only skirts men should wear and I won’t have any issues in whipping out my larva larva when we get back to Aberdeen should the sun ever turn up. On a couple of occasions, after it has turned dark, we have turned the lights on the side of the boat and sat watching the bioluminescence aswell as puffer fish, squid, flying fish, weird thin striped fish (or snake) and others with long bills which repeatedly bump into the boat (as you can maybe tell we don’t have an ID book for surface fish on us). We even attempted catching them to photograph them but to no joy, maybe it’s better not to catch them and just watch them (I’m sure Thom would agree). Following that it’s back to bed, or the mess floor for me ready for the next day’s carnage.
PS Alan is a legend at pool, we played many times in Wellington and he thrashed me every time, I even resorted to accusing him of cheating which of course he would never do being such an unbelievably good bloke.