REDnews has asked Simran Rughani and Oxana Repina to report back with photos, footage, and commentary from their Sir Peter Blake Trust’s Young Blake Expedition to the remote Auckland Islands (465 km’s south of Bluff).
They are a part of a group of 14 students working with scientists on terrestrial and marine ecology and geology projects that will inform the proposed Blake Station on one of the Sub-Antarctic islands.
Keep up to date with Simran and Oxana's adventures here on the REDnews Lifestyle section.
Sunday the 7th of February 2016 - Simran Rughani
Photos by Oxana Repina
“Today was totally awesome and my best day so far.
Feeling fresh after a morning session of yoga, a small group of us headed out on a RHIB to the University of Otago’s research boat the Polaris II.
We collected sediment and water samples from different depths of the Norman and Hanfield Harbours.
I honestly don’t know what to say because my day was seriously amazing.
I am overwhelmed with how much I learned and how much fun I had doing it. There aren’t many other places where the view from the office window consists of waterfalls, Rata trees in full bloom and abundant native wildlife.
The harbours we were testing in were formed during an ice age.
This is predicted due to ice being the most likely cause of the long sheer drops that surrounded the harbours – in combination with the wind the island has resisted over the years.
The harbours are different depths all around and so we picked a range of places to help create a more holistic representation.
The first task we were given was to pick the different samples sites.
The sediment sampling consisted of using a claw like contraption to grasp the bottom of the sea floor and then analysing it back up aboard the ship.
We would dip our fingers in to the sediment and describe the ‘metadata’.
This is the larger scale data that can be found through our senses.
It included describing how the sediment felt, what it looked like and what we found in it. I learned that ‘mud’, ‘pebbles’, and ‘cobbles’ are all proper scientific terms in Geology. Finally a science sector that uses English!
We then bagged samples which will be analysed when get home.
As well as sediment sampling, we used a CTD machine to collect samples of the water at different depths. This water was filtered through a really fine glass filter paper and collected to be analysed back at home.
The scientists and experts on board where full of knowledge and where more than happy to answer any and every one of our questions. They happily talked with us for nine hours!
It was great for us to experience real life field science that is contributing to helping us understand climate change.
By the time we left the Polaris II it was sad to say good bye. Nine hours is enough time to get to know people and bond over a shared passion.
The day finished off with having the opportunity to help out with the sunset ceremony. I had a member of the crew beside me who told me what to do and so I part took in the ritual of taking down the flag.
Today was super awesome, I am now even considering taking geology this year it was that much fun, you could say it rocked! ;)”