I am starting to lose hope here. Its past mid-august and the larvae should be out there by now, hence this week I thought I would put my all onto sampling and pull out my last resort: go deep.
Icefish larvae are caught in trawling exercises at depths of around 100m, so I decided it was time to try sampling deep. It was going to require boating time which is expensive, that is why I waited until now to go out there. So off we went Ella, Pat and I, to deploy a line of 70m with 8 traps along the line each baited with a glow light stick.
It was quite a weird moment when everyone on board looked at me and asked me: “So, where do we go?” – Huh? Blink, blink – I had never been in such position where I was in charge of where a scientific boat goes, and it took me a few second to react and understand that I was in charge. Mind boggling in certain ways, but it also reminded me that I am not a child anymore…. Anyway, we agreed on what seemed a suitable location.
It was quite a feat to deploy the traps, but nothing compared to hauling them the next day!! Wow, 70m of wet line, plus 8 traps, chain and anchor ARE heavy when you have to haul them by hand! That was hard work!
However, it was more the emotional blow that hit me, when we got back to shore and I found that the traps were mostly empty.
There was a lonely pretty shrimp in the deepest trap and a few small crustaceans in the one at 50m. There you go, I had just scored another defeat.
The shore traps are not fearing much better either. I’ve caught a fish egg, oddly enough. Sue is trying to convince that is a good sign… bless!!! but I remain skeptical…
I’ve had problems with the traps getting stuck in the ice as the surface freezes. Pulley systems getting ripped from the shore by high winds and wave action. Traps being blown onto the shore. Chains frozen into ice. Lights that have failed. I’ve leaned on shag pooh, have found that one wash is not enough, and now I’ve got a stinky jumper. Noup… I’m not at my highest morale level.
Nevertheless, I had a peek onto the hits on the blog, and I was gobsmacked!! Over 600 hits and from all over the world!! THANK YOU ALL FOR FOLLOWING THE BLOG!!! The map looked amazing!!! Although, who do I know from Nepal???
Last weekend, three of the girls went on holiday to Maiviken. They left on Friday and came back on Monday, which meant that we were only four of us left on base. I thought it was going to be boring, because half the group had left, but quite the opposite. It was a bit like when the parents leave you home alone!! So we were up to a lot of mischief over in base camp: There were lots of spooking each other around, music up loud, laughs at the bar, and we invaded the luxurious Shakelton House with popcorn galore to watch “Alien Vs. Predator”!! It was quite something watching a film about aliens that it’s supposed to be in Antarctica while one IS in Antarctica… (or sort off) and then having to go out there and do the late rounds… hahaha! But we couldn’t stop laughing throughout the film: it all started with a general explosion of laughter when we saw a Magellanic penguin appearing in what was supposed to be the Antarctic Peninsula, and then it just continued on… On reflexion, it’s funny how once you’ve been removed from civilization for a while, one becomes a bit like a kid and you let yourself enjoy those really simple but magical moments…
On Saturday Rod, Sue and I agreed to go ALL THE WAY to Maiviken to bring some “essential” supplies the girls had already run out of. The sky was covered and it had snowed a lot, so we put on some snow shoes and off we went on a nice hike up to Deadman’s Pass and to Maiviken.
It was fascinating to see Maiviken Hut being occupied, and it instilled a strong will in me to go out on a holiday before I leave South Georgia if at all possible. On the way back, I committed another mistake: accept Rod’s dare of a race up to Deadman’s Pass IN SNOWSHOES…
Hahaha… it must have been hilarious to watch, but maaaannnn that was a workout!!! I was drenched and out of breath by the time we reached the top. Needless to say, I lost…. But only by a few meters!!!