A beautiful sunset is taking shape over Stanley Harbour. Salinity samples have been run, tracer blobs analysed. The glass wear has been cleaned and packed firmly away. The labs have been swept, surfaces cleared and data backed. Tomorrow we will fly home, fatigued, relieved and with an increasing sense of satisfaction and achievement.
As we sailed towards the the Falklands on Friday night. All work was called to a halt and a feast was put on by Hamish and the stewards. Officers wore their finest stripes and the rest of us tried not to look too shabby. After aperitifs and a fine meal - somehow fashioned from the last vestiges of the ships stores -the tracer team held an awards presentation. Xinfeng was congratulated for tireless sampling, Doctor John for his medical grade precision and Pierre for muscular bottle transportation (he needed to beat Gwyn and Andrew to an arm wrestle to secure the title). Yours truly was awarded the 'best dressed sampler award' for my full-body fluorescents-yellow rain gear. JB was notably disappointed as his 'dedication to cashmere jumpers' only got a special mention. Brian K was deservedly awarded the 'lifetime acheivment award for dedication to the tube and bottle. The awards where a bespoke combination of inflated rubber glove, pvc tubing and contorted coke can.
Pierre Crushes Andrew with a grin.
Masters of Ceremonies Siobhan (left) and Ben (right) pose with the fashion guru, the Old-rubber-hand, the CTD junky, Beefcake and the closet Vampire Doctor John.
The impression left by the Falklands was less bleak than when we arrived. A gentle run to Gipsy Cove the evening we arrived, found Gwyn Andrew and I looking out over tranquil sandy beach with golden evening hues warming the distant rocky landings. The old team of peak baggers: Andrew, Pierre, Paul and myself spent Sunday hiking up one of the Twin Sisters past Stanley. The day had more of the chill-breeze and silver-skies we expect at this latitude. The walk climaxed with a view across this Island. It was across these summits that British troops trudged to Stanley. Wasted shells, rusty machine gun tripods and decaying leather boots, not to mention numerous cordoned off mine fields, leave a clear fingerprint of this recent conflict.
Highlights of the trip - too numerous - I will not list them all. Scientifically, the surprisingly vast spread of the tracer blob will be the headline. The intense mixing due to breaking billows observed above a dense plume at the Scotia Ridge will no doubt motivate ongoing discussion and future experiments. In our memories, the visit of the Humpback and the glorious day on South Georgia will dearly rest. It is with unabashed sentimentality that I say this, but the strength of relationships forged and the unflinching good humour maintained by all throughout that will leave the greatest impression.
Until the next voyage
From left: Marie-just-one-more-calibration-Jo, Floating-balls-Paul, Brian-let-me-tell-you-a-thing-or-two-about-pencils-K, Sean 'the fog maker', Jan-I-can't do that I've got a blog post to write...sorry-Zika, Andrew-3-figure-bar-tab-M, No-VMPs-today-James, 'I'm going downstairs to do salts I might be some time' Pierre, Andy-there-is-an-Alien-in-my-stomach-W, My-name-is-not-Gwen-Gwyn, Happy-with-a-rack-of-toast-Alex, Jean-God-Save-The-Queen-Baptiste, I-agree-with-James-John, 'What is a fart?' - Xinfeng, Brian-I-am-insecure-about- how-American-I-am-G, 'The Helmet is my Canvas' Ben, Duplicates-on-ten-Siobhan, My-name-is-not -Gwyn-Gwen and Phil 'The Polar Bear Hunter'