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Science Field Trip

Setting sail on the Southern Ocean voyage of discovery

Chief Scientist on the RV Southern Surveyor voyage from Hobart to Fremantle is Dr Sebastian Holmes from UWS – an accomplished scientist and a part-time comedian.  Here’s his first blog:

Saturday, 13 August 2011, 19:58hrs

Well me hearties, the sun was shining, the gear stowed, the crew on board and we were ready to plunder/sail the southern seaboard of Australia. We lifted the gang-plank raised the flag (Marine National  Facility) and the Southern Surveyor set sail.

Onboard as a part of me swarthy gang, were:

  • Luana ‘I love meiofaunal isopods’ Lins, from the  University of Skullduggery (USYD)
  • Anthony ‘Yes I do watch musicals Gould’, from the University of Wicked Sins (UWS)
  • Julia ‘Encased in plastic (not latex)’ Reisser, from the University of Wayward Adults (UWA)
  • Tiffany ‘I will not be sick Cole’, from the University of Wicked Sins (UWS)
  • Blaise ‘I drink hot Ribenna’ (call yourself a pirate) Bratter, from the University of Nefarious Sour Wilful students (UNSW)
  • Maile ‘Do as your told Seb’ Gall, from UWS
  • David ‘I secretly like musicals too McLeod’, from Amoral Adults that are Debauched (AAD)

And the two esteemed leaders:

  • Jason ‘Ironman’ Reynolds and Sebastian ‘I’m back in shorts again’ Holmes, both from UWS.

The Voyage

Our mission, apart from plundering and looting, to investigate deep water meiofaunal isopods as no-one (well not many) has before (Lins), examine how much plastic is in Australian waters (Reisser), determine the source and sinks of iron in shelf waters (Reynolds & Cole), evaluate the spatial and depth distribution of the gelatinous component of plankton (well someone has to do it)/measure the isotopic signatures of surface productivity along the transit (Holmes & Gall) and examine the distribution of plankton from Hobart to Fremantle (McLeod) all assisted by Blaise & Anthony and of course the crew of Southern Surveyor and the Marine National Facility support staff (Matt ‘Fearless’ Sherlock, Lindsay ‘Don’t mess’ Pender, Trevor ‘I’m not ginger’ Goodwin and Dave ‘Salty’ Terhell).

First on our list as we sail down the Derwent from Hobart, some perfect photo opportunities, sun setting, albatrosses skimming the water and then it is time for the most important part of the day, dinner (3 courses, two main choices and pudding!).

We get out of Strom Bay, deploy the CPR (continuous plankton recorder – more to come on this beast later), push the hammer down (a mighty 10.5 knots) and begin our perilous journey over 11 days, sailing the seas from Hearty Hobart to Fearless Fremantle.

Who will we meet, what will we do and who will throw up first?


About UWS Field Expeditions

The University of Western Sydney has 40,000 students and 5,000 staff at six campus across Greater Western Sydney. From time to time UWS academic staff and students take their studies out into the field on expeditions of learning and discovery. Join them here...


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