Friday, 17 October 2008

Barbeque on the high seas

From 14-15 October we were sampling stations in the vicinity of the Cargados Carajos Shoals (see adjacent Google Earth Image). The shoals consist of 16 small islands (and some 34 cays) and are classified as a dependency of Mauritius. The shoals used to be a volcanic island that over time eroded until it became submerged and a coral atoll was left behind. The length of the Mascarene Plateau cruise and the lack of any port calls over the five week period will place strain on both scientists and crew. It was therefore decided at the start of the cruise that we will have two barbeque (braai) parties at locations where we could safely anchor the ship to rest and recuperate. The Cargados Carajos Shoals presented just such an opportunity and it was decided, after completing the last station, to anchor off Coco Island (île aux Cocos at 16°50'S, 59°30'E).

We anchored in 30 m of water and immediately started the fires. In the bottom left image Tom and Bjorn are busy grilling T-bone steaks, fillet steaks, spareribs & chicken. Supper was an "al fresco" affair on the trawl deck. The food was excellent and the evening gave everyone a chance to mingle and get to know one another better!. The night ended with some of the scientists and crew strutting their stuff to the sounds of the Norwegian Oompapa band followed by rhthymic dancing and ethnic knee jerking to the sounds of the Swahili Melaika Marumba band. For those not keen to shake their stuff a fishing group had assembled on the back deck hoping to catch more samples.

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