The Aurora AustralisIt seems a little excessive to be sampling in the subtropics with an icebreaker but this is the case for the cast and crew of the Aurora Australis. We have just crossed the subtropical front and the mood on board the ship is positively electric. Is this because: A) the weather is ACTUALLY warm enough to wear shorts and a t-shirt, and not just for the Hobartians B) sampling is due to stop on Friday and therefore we are allowed to have another party or C) the weather has been so cooperative that we are due to dock a day early D) all of the above?

If you guessed all of the above please collect your prize from Science and Communications at the ANU. It is all indeed true. I feel almost uncomfortably exposed (almost). I’ve been wandering around in thermal underwear and explorer socks for so long I’d forgotten what my ankles look like, and I think that something might be wrong with them as people are staring. We even enjoyed an ice cream out on the heli-deck in the sun, only to find the kitchen staff on deck chairs with their ankles exposed. There is also much excitement that we are having another party on Friday. However, seeing that we will be on pack up duties there is no theme, just a good old BBQ out on the trawl deck. The Aurora is normally a dry ship and we are only allowed alcohol on special occasions. Apparently on the last occasion we were so special that we were all sent to the naughty step and are only being allowed off when the sampling finishes. Fair call.

The weather really has been superb. As such, we have not needed all the days that were built in to ensure inclement weather wouldn’t disrupt the science plan. We’ve been waiting to hear from Fremantle Port and today finally got the clearance to come in a day earlier than scheduled. So we are planning to paint the town red and eat salad for an evening before we head for home. Seriously, if I don’t get to eat a green leafy vegetable soon I may start eating the fake plants in the library.