Thursday, 23 August 2012

Heading Away Again...

So tomorrow I'm getting on a train, then an overnight plane, then a helicopter to take me to Angola where I'm helping out with the annual servicing of the DELOS platforms as part of my PhD. These are two observatory platforms which have been built in an oil production area off the coast of Angola and which I'm using to collect time-series data about the fish populations in the region at about 1500m water depth. The trip itself is entirely hosted by BP so I'll be completely safe, but I'm not sure at the moment how much of the work I'll be able to report back with on here, or if there will be any form of internet connection while we're offshore or in the hotels. In addition, we're heavily restricted on weight for the helicopter transfers so I'm not taking my big camera with me this time, and have borrowed a Panasonic Lumix for the trip instead. I have absolutely no doubt I'm going to miss my camera, but c'est la vie!

At the moment I have no idea what to expect either. I've never been to Africa, never been offshore and have a pile of malaria drugs that I've never taken before either. Wish my stomach luck with those! Still, we've been pretty thoroughly briefed and trained up for it all, including a Helicopter Underwater Escape Training course (!), had just about all the medical tests and jags in the world and bought a shiny new bright orange boiler suit for the occasion! And I still don't really know what I'm letting myself in for.

I'm hoping to be able to share some photographs with you all while I'm away and get a couple of blogs up and running. If not, I'll at least be able to fill you in when I'm home again in a couple of weeks.

Also, if you have been keeping an eye on the website (, you may have noticed a bit of a slow down in the rate of updating - this is largely due to a hard drive failure which corrupted all my web edits. Sigh. Let this be a lesson to keep regular backups. I only lost a couple of days work, so it's annoying rather than a catastrophe but still a pain in the ass!

Anyway, enjoy the rest of August and I will be back in a couple of weeks!