Notes from Buldir (IV)

Hallo hallo once again,

It’s just been over a month since I set foot on this forsaken island.
Since you’ve last heard from me, I have finally had a shower, and even
washed my hair! Our shower basically consists of a solar shower, which
is a 5 gallon black bag you fill with water and allow the sun to heat
up. Unfortunately sun does not happen to be in Buldir’s dictionary, we
fill it with an equal mix of boiling and icy stream water. The bag has
a little rubber hose and a nozzle running down from it, and it is
hoisted up in our “shower house” by a rickety pulley and bucket
system. So you’re standing there in this small wooden structure (not
much different from the outhouse) shivering from the wind breezing in
through the cracks in the walls and you’re praying that the 5 gallon
bucket swinging precariously above your head is secured properly while
luke warm water trickles down. Despite that, probably one of the best
showers I’ve had! Admittedly, the fluffy white towel I used afterwards
turned a disconc
 erting shade of grey after I was done with it..

It’s now currently chick season, and all the little fluffernutters are
popping out of their shells. This also means that it’s time to collect
diet samples from the adults who diligently fly in everyday to feed
their chick. It’s really obvious when an adult auklet is bringing food
back. They store it in their gula(?) pouch in their neck, and makes
them look like they have sort of a goitre or tumourous lump which they
swallow nervously up and down when you’re in between them and their
crevice. The longer you stand there, their head bobbing gets a little
bit more frantic, and you can imagine them cursing you to go away
before they chunder EEEVERYWHERE. Which is what they do when you
startle them, BAARRGGGGGGH – throw up all their food. A volm-cano of
pink shrimpy krilly mess that we scoop with our fingers into tiny
glass jars, and no matter how much cucumber and melon soap you use,
will not remove the smell of fish from your fingers (or any other
clothing on you at that time.)

Things in the camp are great, almost everyone gets along with each
other. Evenings are mostly filled with camp banter, communal bitching,
and the odd episode of Family Guy which goes down a treat. (Speaking
of Family guy, I recently smacked my knee right into a rock, and it’s
fine little swollen and bruised, but it was a definitely a scene
straight out of show where I’m clutching my knee going “Oww… ssss…
aaaaah… owwwwwwww..” and cringing for five minutes. Rock rage!
*waves fist*) We’ve also had Orcas swim by twice, huge male’s with
their huge dorsal fins, some porpoises and the angular blow of sperm
whales in the distance. The scientific boat Tiglax also made an
unexpected stop by yesterday, and delivered us a new toilet seat
(useless, as had no cover) newspapers (!!) and a huge box of snow
crab. Crab cakes for dinner tonight with fresh bread. Possibly the
first fresh meal we’ll be having, as were are solidly into our
tinned-food stage now…

Well that’s all. Next two weeks is going to be busy as we’ll be
weighing chicks, a bit more night work. Hope all is well on your
front, miss you all.

Pip pip cheerio!


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