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[Ashmore Trip 1] Day 19: Return to Melbourne, via Perth

June 13, 2013

[This is the eighteenth in a series of ‘Ashmore Trip 1’ posts, essentially diary entries. Internet was unavailable at the Ashmore Reef, so they are being presented one-day-per-day now that I am back in Melbourne.]


After arrival in Broome yesterday, the team went to a local restaurant/bar for dinner and drinks, and to remember what it is like to eat at a table that is not rocking. Not to be messed with, our brains all edited in the sensation of rocking at these stationary tables. When I close my eyes, the room still gently sways.

After dinner and drinks, we returned to the boat to sleep, only to find that the Broome mooring was exposed to a consistent swell that our vessel (a catamaran) was sitting side-on to. The ship rolled more that night than it had at any point in our trip.

Around 5am, the skipper gave up and moved us to another (much calmer) bay. I had been woken only a few times by the rocking – my sea-legs, by this end of the trip, have kicked in nicely.

This morning was spent packing our things, unpacking the boat, and making sure the ethanol was still legally-distributed in people’s baggage. We have a tidy pile of specimens to transport back to Melbourne, and it would be tragic if they were lost.

Around 13:00, we piled up and checked in at Broome airport. The baggage containing the whole-blood-in-ethanol samples went through the security x-ray twice, but was admitted on board. Half the team was swabbed for explosives residue, yet we all, too, were allowed to board.

Flights were dull. Two-and-a-half hours from Broome to Perth (I watched ‘Hitchcock’, a film about the film director of that name, and his relationship with his wife during the filming of ‘Psycho’. I was distracted into IDing the shorebirds that appeared, out-of-focus, about halfway through. It just barely failed the Bechdel Test, because although two women spoke to each other , they only spoke about a man). Two hours in a flight lounge in Perth (I read a paper. Apparently the Boston Marathon had been bombed, a couple of weeks previous, and an accomplice was in custody. The entire rest of the paper was either sports- or ANZAC day-related). Perth to Melbourne (I watched 007: Skyfall – no birds, but it did pass the Bechdel Test, because Moneypenny and the (female) Intelligence Minister conversed about Moneypenny’s handling of MI6). Melbourne Airport to the place I’m staying (taxi. No film, no birds). Sleep.

Tomorrow, I’ll try to get my life in Melbourne properly sorted, and stare blankly at my new backlog of emails. The lab has, as far as I can tell, a three-day weekend. Time for sleep.


From → Scientist

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