Training continued. / by Jerry

A month to go now before I depart. We got the disappointing news the other day that our flights have been put back from the 7th to the 11th November. The ship is due to leave the Falklands on 13th and we were looking forward to a few days exploring there, but I doubt we'll get to do that now. We'll be taking the quickest and most direct route possible; flying from Brize Norton to the Falklands via Ascension Island, then on the RRS James Clark Ross to Bird Island. That'll take us five days (if the sea's calm enough to get straight in to BI, if not we may get to see a bit of King Edward Point and Grytviken on South Georgia as she unloads there).
After the excitement of conference and field course it was a bit frustrating to be back in the office when we really just wanted to get going, especially as others have already departed, at least on their pre-deployment holidays. But we've had quite a variety of other courses to keep us busy, mainly introductions to lab, biosample and data record management and identifying squid beaks and otoliths (fish ear bones) so we can work out what our animals are eating.

We had interesting tours yesterday of the aquarium and ice-core store. In the latter we got to play with some 20,000 year old ice while in the former we saw a range of weird creatures - bright sea lemons, large sea spiders and an old fish.

The weather's generally been pretty good in Cambridge, though there's a noticeable chill and darkness when I leave and return to the house. I've been jogging to work fairly regularly to try and ensure I'll be fit enough to keep up with the guys already down there when we have to stride out over the notoriously difficult tussock grass.

One of the stupidly ostentatious Cambridge colleges I go past on my journey to work.

It's been a few years since I was on the mainland at this time of year so I'm rediscovering the spectacular autumn colours as the trees turn yellow and red. On Skomer and Skokholm the few trees that there are tend to lose their leaves all in one go with the first severe autumn storm, over here I can collect conkers and kick big piles of leaves.

Enjoying time in the woods before I leave for another treeless island.