The Antarcticles: I Slept Through My Science Exam But Here’s A Hypothesis

It really goes to show that if you keep asking for something sooner or later you’ll most likely get it. Whilst in London I had started asking for change, for excitement, for opportunity. For something to come along, pick up my stagnant existence and shake it like a barman shakes his cocktails, combining all the different layers that had separated and settled at the bottom. I wanted something to make my whole body tingle with a buzz that would stop me sleeping at night but keep me awake the next day with promise. Since having cut down on travelling due to having zero funds I’ve seriously missed the constant sense of ‘maximum living’ you get when seeing the world. Waking up every day knowing that you’re going to see or do something you’ve never done before and the permanent smug grin you wear because you know how lucky you are to be doing it. I miss the uncertainty of each day, that feeling of doing everything and nothing all at once because you’re not tied to any commitments or schedule; you are as free as the wind and can blow in any direction you choose. Packing a bag with the bare minimum, leaving room for all the goodies you’re going to find along the way- and of course booking a ticket because nothing gives you a bigger rush than that confirmation email marking the beginning of your adventure. Joining a boat is definitely not like that, but I’m happy with my cocktail all the same.

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I had considered volunteering on Antarctic exploration vessels before, I’d thought about Sea Shepherd and the other environmental ships I could join in order to be a part of it all. Only now I am working onboard one of the most well known ships can I see just how important these expeditions are to science. We were all invited to attend a talk this evening given by one of the lead researchers so I quickly finished my duties for the day and headed up to the officers bar just in time for the presentation to start. Being one of only a few crew members to turn up I sat on the floor at the back, crossed legged and eager to hear why were embarking on such a journey. Basically a huge chunk of ice twice the size of London has broken off of the Larson Ice Shelf, a part of the Antarctic peninsula UPDATED-Antarctic-Larsen-Ice-Shelf-graphic_1 revealing a huge portion of unexplored ice which could potentially hold undocumented eco-systems and species. We are ideally heading straight for the passage between the ice shelf and the iceberg so we can take samples from the sea floor (an unknown depth between 100-700 metres) and can determine just how these creatures are adapting and how they will continue to adapt with the addition of sunlight after having lived in total darkness for thousands of years. This has the potential to offer ground breaking detail to the study of climate change and could possibly involve the discovery of new species that have never been seen before in science and have the ability to survive in very extreme habitats. For a gal who didn’t even bother attending her science exams I am pretty pleased with my understanding of the hypothesis!

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As for life onboard well, I can’t complain. Compared to other ships I’ve worked on this is an absolute dream, you know a company has its head in the right place when they are more interested in the way you work than whether you have a nose ring. My work is fast paced, but I have plenty of time off to exercise and read my book with a cup of tea out on deck (which I won’t be doing currently as we are being tossed about like a tennis ball on these waves). The food is a whole other level, especially for veggie-gf health freak like me and the crew are just lovely. After the presentation this evening I got talking to a palaeontologist who is planning on writing a post containing blogs from the different scientists onboard discussing their personal contributions to the research. After expressing my interest in writing and offering an alternative and unique perspective she agreed to let me have a whack at writing something to be featured. Exciting hey? Almost as exciting as the fact that the boat hard drive has over 1000 films and TV series inc GOT and Peaky Blinders so we all know I won’t be sleeping until the early hours of the morning. We left The Falklands at around three today and will be at sea for three weeks now; my longest ever time away from land. I’m basically a full blown pirate with these salty sea dog locks and what will be crispy tanned skin when hit the tropics in a month or so. Did someone say BBQ on the deck?

Stay groovy

C.J.R xox

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