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Science Field Trip

Day 7 on the RV Southern Surveyor cabin fever hits but cool critters from the deep thrill all on board

The weather is still rough and cabin fever appears to have set in for some on board the RV Southern Surveyor on Day 7 but the team still find respite in their science.  Today’s blog is by Mailie ‘Shut up Seb’ Gall, a UWS student in the School of Natural Sciences.

Friday 19 August 2011, 21:17hrs

Today is another day of rocking, swaying, followed by a sharp jolt followed then by a couple of seconds of calm before the repertoire starts all over again. I’m not sure how many of us are sleeping – I think most of us are getting a few minutes of kip before face-planting against a hard surface, be it the wall, floor or ceiling.

Unfortunately, the order of jolts, sways and smacks is unpredictable so there is no getting used to the ships movement on this cruise (although Jason claims if you hug the wall at night, you can feel the ship’s ‘soul’. He claims this is how he manages to sleep at night although I’m not convinced, with him being a chemist and all, that he doesn’t have his own special stash of something more hard-core than Avomine.

The high seas are doing even the most sea-hardy of us in (even Matt Sherlock was looking a little green earlier, Tiff has once again disappeared below deck). Despite the seas wearing us all down, morale is still high, the Tim Tams and steaks still disappeared at lunch and Seb still has plenty of energy to continue making fun of everyone (unfortunately the more tired he gets, the worse his ‘jokes’ seem to get).

Perhaps a different kind of sea-sickness is setting in however; what was Blaise gabbing on about earlier whilst sipping on his hot Ribena? Evil toasters which were out to get him? Crazy.

We caught some cool critters in the neuston net last night – even got  some of the salp, Thetys vagina, much to Sebs delight (and not just because of the name, although he did giggle about it for about 15 minutes straight. Sigh, grow up Seb).

Fluorescent Noctoluca - a type of phytoplankton that glows - photographed in the waters off the RV Southern Surveyor.

The seas were full of the fluorescent Noctoluca which was stunning to watch.

Thus, despite my earlier groaning about the incessant swaying of the ship, lack of sleep and poor jokes, the little things like water that glows in the dark and critters that look like something out of alien, make it all, not so bad.


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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