19

Jul 2017

The Win

Sometimes life throws you a curve ball or two and this latest adventure has certainly been no different. Exiles have ridden out these hiccups with poise, dignity and above all a shared and terrible sense of humour. But with these curve balls every now and then also comes a win.

Feeling smug with themselves after a successful stop over in Nuuk where the team had finally installed the aluminum support seats they had planned on for months, they set sail to retrieve the first of the longterm CTD scanners which had been collecting data on the seabed for over a year and then on to try out some glacial traversing in a nearby fjord. After sailing for a few hours to the CTD retrieval point, excitement building with every minute, we arrived at our destination and all piled onto deck to watch Dan work his science magic. To retrieve the CTD scanner, which is extremely deep below the surface, a message is sent to the acoustic release attached which frees it from its mooring and it then rises to the surface with the help of the Buoy flotation device. Dan sent the communication signal to the buoy and we waited for the ‘ping’ of its response to tell us its still there. We waited. And waited. No ping.

Perhaps the scanner had already been fished up, Dan mused slightly crestfallen and a heavy almost palpable air of disappointment descended over the boat. A decision was made to initiate the release anyway, just in case. Exiles maintained their positions, two on the forward, two on the aft with Dan in the middle at the science helm. After a tense 17 minutes of scanning the horizon we were accepting defeat when eagle eyed Peter with his usual air of nonchalance calmly stated ‘there it is’. The rest of the Exiles were not so restrained and began jumping up and down and joyously whooping. Captain Nico screamed ‘Pippa! Man overboard protocol! Point and hold!’. With Pippa’s finger fixed on the target we steered the boat towards the Buoy and with the help of  four Exiles Dan retrieved his prize.

Jubilant the team sped onto towards the infamous fjord where previously Captain Nico had run aground in 2012 in some unexpectedly shallow waters. After anchoring for the night preparations were made for glacial traversing in the morning but Dr Pippa, frustrated by the lack of patients she had so far received decided that she would instead become one herself. With her condition worsening overnight the team became concerned and ditched their glacial plans in favour of speeding up the coast to a nearby fishing village to find a medical clinic and also allowing the possibility of evacuation to the nearest hospital if necessary. The team arrived and located the clinic and a medic, then settled in for the night and in the morning with Dr Pippa on the mend they set sail for the next adventure.

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