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|5 January 06
Mairi Nicolson From Wick Returns To Antarctic
Once again Wicker Mairi Nicolson is back on the adventure trail in Antarctic. this time she has a new job and is in Port Lockroy on Goudier Island. You can keep up with some of what is happening out there via the online diary at the Antarctic Expedition web site
Mairi Nicolson In
Mairi Nicolson Has Returned to
Antarctic in October 2002
Next Instalments of Miari's
Fire at Rothera Base
Efforts to put out the fire at
British Antarctic Survey's Bonner Laboratory at Rothera Research
Station have failed. Scientists and support staff used a snow
blowing machine and a small fire engine in an attempt to dowse the
Mairi Nicolson's Mum & Dad who
still live at Newton Hill, Wick contacted Caithness.org about their
daughter Mairi - we think you will all enjoy looking at her pictures
and emails home. We begin in April and will gradually catch up to
date in coming weeks.
She went to school
at Pulteneytown Academy and Wick High School then graduated in Micro
Biology at Aberdeen University. She worked for a couple of years
with the Scottish Crop Research Institute at Invergowrie before
Canadian aircrew finally flew out of Rothera today, after returning
from their successful South Pole rescue mission. It had been a busy
week for the base, but it was nice to see some new faces after
spending a month on our own. To thank us for our hospitality they
gave us fresh fruit and vegetables, a real treat when faced with six
months of frozen and dried food.
It was a gorgeous day and to celebrate being left on our own again, we headed up to Val’s for an evening of snowboarding. On our return we were crossing the runway and we spotted an emperor penguin (like the ones on the biscuits). It's very rare that we get them, so everyone was immediately out with cameras and videos. They're not afraid of us and it's quite easy to get very close as you’ll see from the picture.
Friday 27th April
Friday night is badminton night, with about 10 people playing now it's great fun. We play in the hangar with no heating so you have to run about lots to keep warm.
Saturday 28th April
I made a CD of ceilidh dances, mostly set dances, so no one would feel awkward as there are eighteen men and only three girls. They were a great success and we also did a Gay Gordons and Canadian barn dance for any couples willing to dance. I walked them through all the steps twice and then let them go for it with me shouting the odd order, "forward, no backwards, clap, spin, no not him” etc. It was a great success especially as we had an Orcadian strip the willow to finish.
Sunday 28th April
Amazingly I managed to get up at 9am today and I had a very relaxing day reading. I did consider going skiing but my legs were sore from all the dancing and my head was a little sore from having a few whisky’s. We watch films on Sunday night and it was Dave Molyneaux’s turn to choose.
Monday 29th April
A windy, cold and snowy morning. I was happy to watch it fall and blow around, from the comfort of my nice warm lab. Better weather came in the afternoon and I walked round to East beach to replace some experimental equipment I had just repaired. We have these plastic boxes, called cloches, which house experiments on the beach. I found several of them smashed last week, the Fur seals had failed to read the “Bio-site - Please Keep Off” sign!
Tuesday 30th April
After the excitement of the South Pole rescue we thought we were on our own for the next 6 months, but today was yet another exciting day for Rothera International Airport. Jenny was just going to put the 50 metal drums back onto the runway lights when we had a call from two German helicopters. The German research ship, Polarstern, was anchored at the other side of the island and they were using their helicopters in our local area to go whale spotting. We gave our visitors a tour of the science facilities, Jenny opened the shop and sold some t-shirts, and an hour later they were gone. It was nice to have visitors again and they were all very impressed with the base and the science facilities we have.
After a day spent servicing science equipment, I was glad to relax at night with a game of Mah Jong. Mah Jong is a Chinese game that is similar to Rummikub but more complex. We even have a computer program on Jenny’s laptop to help work out the scoring. Jenny and I are mad on games and Mah Jong is definitely our favourite for this winter.
Wednesday 1st May
It was another science day today and I was setting up some microbiology experiments. I am working on some cool pink, yellow, white and orange bacteria just now. Tonight is video night but I may go to the chippy shop instead and do some sanding. Picture frame number two is starting to take shape, I hope you've got lots of room on your walls? By the end of 2.5 years who knows how many I could produce!!
So that's it for this week, I'll write soon.
Lots of love
PS. The emperor penguin has been here for seven days now. He is just moping about, wandering around the buildings, sleeping and giving the odd call. We've called him Billy, as in Billy-no-mates, but we hope he’ll find his friends soon