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Published: January 15th 2010
Dolphin Rescue, the beginning
Steve carrying Steve the dolphin back to water. A surreal picture.
Hello all. I am trying to envisage the weather back in Blighty as I swelter in mid 30’s heat and get scared by billboards about skin cancer. Not that they have many billboards in the ‘ville but more on that later. I left you all with a touching story involving the mindblowing experience of helping a sick dolphin. Well people, Flipper it is not. Steve the dolphin died of meningitis a few days after we rescued him. This was not due to lack of care, a virus is going round the old dolphin population at the moment.
So, I went back to uni after whale research in Stradbroke and Mums visit to the usual exciting October and November for uni students. A month of getting assignments in, getting up at the crack of dawn to sort out my fish and a couple of exams later I have lifted my head again to write to you. Anyone who has spoken to me in the last few months will know I have been staring at the gobies I caught through holes in black plastic blinds hoping they will react to the smell of other dead fish. I had to try and keep
The rescue team
them calm and happy so they would eat and I could test their reactions to the cues I injected into the tank. Believe me this is no mean feat. Still, it was a good introduction back into research and I will probably be doing some more behavioural stuff for my thesis. I certainly looked the part. In order not to get covered in super concentrated salt from the labs salt water system I wore my lab coat, which seems to have grown two sizes, much to the amusement of the actual research student I shared a lab with.
Of course, I did do some fun stuff.
I did almost learn to fish for Adrians birthday. I don’t think I was his first choice as a fishing partner but Tom had gone back to the UK and everyone else was at work. Ade taught me to cast and we had a couple of cold beers, the most essential part of fishing. I had a great time, scooting about the creeks and watching Ade get excited when he caught fish. I didn’t catch anything except for the odd mangrove tree. It was fun to hang out with Ade for a
Steve in the bath
In a relaxing bath with Courney and I after ute journey no.2
few weeks though. We went to a new one day festival and got down with new and old friends. Not with each other for a lot of it unfortunately as we kept losing each other. I hung out with my mate Mick, the bass player of a local band that could make it big if they just made more of an effort! He looks the part, scruffy long hair and tight black jeans. In a slightly surreal turn of events I ended up on the bus with all the bands and blagged my way into the VIP after party. It was a VIP party without free drinks, which is a bit like a wedding without the bride if you ask me.
I had a weekend of meeting lots of nice people at my friend Thalias birthday (lots of student marine biologists) and drinking free wine with lots of doctors at some end of rotation thing. Nothing to make you feel inadequate like standing in a group of gorgeous young female doctors but they were all really friendly.
Ades and Toms parents visited at different times so I got treated to some lovely meals in lovely places and got
....and there is not a single Aussie in the room.
to meet the people that made them who they are. Its always interesting meeting other peoples parents and seeing how they behave when are around.
In a typical twist of fate I then got 2 job offers and a space on an Australian Institute of Marine Science boat surveying coral reefs for free for 3 weeks. One of the jobs was organizing forums part time for environmental consultants in North Queensland and the other one was for the equivalent of the Environment Agency in Brisbane. This happened at the same time as the lease on the flat was up so we went looking at some houses before realizing none of us could be bothered to move. The guys have a plethora if overseas trips in the next few months or are being sent to the outback for work so we decided to stay put. Well, I moved to Brisbane for a couple of months. After frantic phone calls to mother for advice I gave up the 3 weeks of free diving on the Great Barrier Reef in the hope working for the EPA will help me find a job. Its an office based job working on the Water Quality
Me as Morticia
Just a normal Friday night
database but I work with some lovely people, some of whom get to go out on boats so I live in hope.
I got down late one night and decamped to my friend Sus’ for 10 days or so. It’s the first time in 10 years we have lived in the same place so we were very excited. A few days after starting work I got paid to take the day off and go for Christmas dinner at a gold club. Champagne on arrival, nice food. Me and a few others went to a funky bar in town afterwards where we were met by a girl on roller skates and various other people that looked like they belonged on the Gloucester Rd in Bristol, which is what the West End in Brisbane is like. Much hilarity followed at a workmates house involving dancing to Salt and Pepa videos, getting the pizza delivery boy to crump on the doorstep and escapades with a paper mache giraffe. And all of us made it to work the next day without hideous hangovers. Result.
Our social outing the following Friday was a different matter. I loved being somewhere where everyone did not
Empire of the Sun
How everyone dresses in Australia
look like they had married there cousin and catching up with a Townsville mate and an Aussie girl I knew from Bristol. Cue mad dancing and deep and meaningful conversations that should not have with people from work. Not by me luckily.
I had an excellent weekend meeting lots of nice people at an engagement party under the Storey bridge and going to the Sunshine Coast with my friend Scott, listening to local bands by the beach and meeting some more of his friends. I just loved that everything was not a 2 hour flight away. I also got to party with a workmate and his friends, which is always fun. Especially when its in a penthouse overlooking the river.
Caught up with Ade at the beginning of his epic 5 week trip overseas and tried not to turn green that him and Tom are meeting up in Japan to snowboard for New Year. I am staying in his dads house, a beautiful old Queenslander in a leafy suburb of Brisbane not too far from work. I think I am almost grown up enough to live by myself. Have been single handedly keeping the big dance school in
Brisbane going, getting down a few times a week.
Tom came down for his birthday the weekend just gone and we hoofed it to the Gold Coast in a hired Audi. Some of Ades friends that we know from festivals put us up and we all sat about drinking and laughing. My highlight was going to a bar that looks like a Queenslander (a big, raised wooden house) that played some ridiculously funky music. It made getting Tom back on a place on Sunday a close call but we just about made it. I missed the last train from the airport and ended up sharing a taxi with a nice English plasterer who then gave me a lift home in his Beatle, customized inside like an Indian taxi from the seventies.
This weekend is another excuse to avoid writing my uni paper as it’s a workmates birthday and another bands on the beach thing on the Sunshine Coast with Scott. Tom and I are going out Christmas Eve then having an orphans Christmas Day before going to a party on the Gold Coast for Boxing Day. Its getting harder to go back to Townsville every day. In Blighty
Me and Mick the truant
The clothes swapping was strictly limited to the hat and shades
January is traditionally a ‘get fit and detox’ month. In Australia it’s the height of summer packed full of festivals, some of which I hope to make before heading back to the ‘ville. So, me and the baby possum clambering around on the electricity poles wish you adieu until next time folks…..xx
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