Thursday, 22 April 2010


Hello guys!

Today I invigilated an exam. It was great to be on the other side of things, not having to stress about revision and trying to get everything written down in time. Plus I got paid for it, about £25 for the hour so can't complain about that. I'm also marking some of the exams (even more money!). It's a marine environment course so basic physical oceanography and marine biology stuff. I am now 1/5th of the way through the marking and I just can't believe some people. It is so obvious that people have no idea what they are writing about and that they have done no revision whatsoever.

One answer which make me actually laugh out load:

What is a gyre?

The answer someone gave: A rock in the ocean!

A gyre is very basically horizontal ocean currents that circulate around ocean basin - it is by no means a bloody rock in the ocean! I mean if they thought that, they must have not done any revision or even attended any of the lectures! Too funny!

I just wanted to share my dismay at the lack of work people actually do for exams. What is the point in paying all that money to "learn" and then not bother!


Sunday, 18 April 2010

Nothing to Report!

So this week has been fairly uneventful, leaving me with nothing specifically to tell you! No adventures, no major work breakthroughs, nothing! Ok, well not nothing, the powers that be have decided that my friends are not destined to travel to Thailand, well not yet anyway. Their flight was officially cancelled yesterday and now they have to wait until the 24th (one week after the original date) to fly to Thailand, giving them a few days to explore before flying onto Oz to see me! Hopefully this bloody volcano will stop erupting so that they can in fact fly out on the 24th. Everything is crossed!

Had a CCRC BBQ on Friday which was really nice. One of the staff (the PA to the directors) is leaving to go travelling so the BBQ was in her honour. I had a really good time, it was nice to socialise with everyone - this is definitely not done enough in my opinion! But we played some badminton, ate some food, had a few drinks and generally had an enjoyable time. Hopefully there will be many more of these to come! Even better, I didn't have to pay for anything!

I really don't have much else to say. My second draft of my paper is nearly complete, just finalising one more figure and have to write one more paragraph and then send it back to Alexey for some more corrections. However, he is also stuck in England due to the eruption so no need to rush to send it to him.

13 days until the proposed departure date to travel up the coast. Cannae wait!

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Royal National Park - take II

Well another week has come and gone so time to update you on my weeks antics.

Work wise, as with most previous weeks, nothing much has been happening. I have spent a fair bit of time since being here doing more work on my masters thesis, getting in ready for publication and writing it up. Last week I finally finished my first draft!!! It has only been what, 8 months in the making. Well 8 months since I first submitted it for my masters anyway. So I sent it off to Alexey (my masters advisor) to proof read and am waiting for his corrections; I'm predicting there will be many! But still, the first hurdle has been jumped!
On another note, I also booked my trip to travel up the east coast to Fraser Island with Claire, Kerry and Sam! So you can be expecting lots of pictures from that trip!

Yesterday, Alejandro and I went back to Royal National Park. I know it was a Friday and I should have been at uni, but the weather forecast was much better for Friday (although it is really nice weather today) and I worked two days over the bank holiday weekend so that more than makes up for it...In my eyes anyway! This time, we planned on doing the "coast walk". This is a 26km walk which all websites suggest you take two days to complete. Having done ~24km last week, Alejandro decided that we could do it in one day. Website advise you only do this is you are a "fit and experienced walker"; I consider myself neither of those!

So we set off at 6.15 (after getting up at 5.30 - this was the second 5.30 start in a row as I had a conference call the preceding day!), caught a bus to central, a bus to Cronulla, and then a ferry to Bundeena, reaching Bundeena at 9.15, ready for the days walking to begin. Having done the first 5km last week, we paced through that section non-stop in order to save enough time to complete the rest before it got dark (since daylight saving, it is dark at 6pm!). After the first ~2/3 of the walk, we were making pretty good time but had about 3 hours left until dark, and the hardest third of the hike left. At this point though, I was absolutely shattered, my legs ached, my hips ached, my feet ached...the list goes on! This 2/3 mark was where they suggest you camp, recover, and rest for to complete the rest of the walk the next day. Well this was not an option for us, so off we went. This leg was very up and down, making it so much harder. As I was so shattered already, it was pretty slow going and I started to worry that we wouldn't make it to the end before night fall. At this point, we were deep in the depths of "palm forest", a pretty dense forest which apparently hosts pythons, so this was not a place I wanted to get trapped in if darkness did fall. We (well more I) plodded onwards, and eventually reached the edge of the forest, into much more open ground, and meaning it was only ~2km until the end. This gave me some motivation, and after 8 and a half hours walking, pretty much non-stop, we reached Otford, ready to catch the train back to Sydney. I don't think I have every been as tired as I was at the finish line; everything ached, I was grumpy, hungry and thirsty and just wanted to be at home. However, we achieved what is supposed to be only achieveable by the fit and experienced walkers giving me some sense of accomplishment! I will never being doing that type of distance again in one day though (at least not until we have longer days), I have learnt my lesson! Next trip....somewhere I don't have to walk for hours on end, perhaps Canberra!

As always, here are some pictures. After the 2/3 mark I took barely any photos; I lacked the energy and motivation to capture anything. Enjoy

The 26km walk to Bundeena!

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Another Day, Another 25km Hike!

Hi guys,

After a fairly uneventful week, Easter bank holiday finally arrived. It started a little early for me as I got bored on Thursday at uni and decided to go into the city in the afternoon. I went with Alejandro, and just walked around Darling Harbour, an area in Sydney which I havn't been to yet. The weather was lovely; clear blue skies and not too hot (25ish). We decided to have a few drinks in a bar and you know what comes next; one drink becomes another which becomes another....Soon it was 12 O'clock and time to head home - I had to be up at 5.30 the next day ready for my Good Friday adventures.

So I was awoken at 5.30 by my alarm having had 4 and a half hours sleep ready (perhaps not so willing) to head off to Royal National Park. Royal is the second oldest national park in the world (after Yellowstone) and located about an hour away from central Sydney. We got the train as far as we could, and then hopped on a ferry to take us on a 30 minute journey to the outskirts of Royal. Once arriving at Bundeena (the port for the ferry), the day hiking began......

The walk was actually really good - it incorporated a lot of different areas as the park has great diversity. We began with a coastal walk, taking in fantastic views of the cliffs and secluded beaches, before heading further into the centre of the park to enjoy walks through scrub, woodland, waterfalls etc. After 15km I was absolutely shattered, and still had ~10km to go! Luckily, after about another 5km, we reached a small touristy place that had a cafe which meant it was time to have a nice cold drink, an ice cream, and relax for an hour before completing the journey. However, this was not before I was drained enough of energy to fall over :( I'm blaming it on a lack of energy was pretty embarrassing really, I was just walking down a fairly steep rocky path, slipped, and went flying forward. Luckily I wasn't too injured, just a small scratch on my hand, a bruised hip/ass and wounded pride! HAHA!

Anyway, the little stop was great, there were loads of greater sulphur crested cockatoos about and they were not shy AT ALL! They came right up to us to try and steal our food, it was really funny. I was even just minding my own business, when one fly and landed on my shoulder!!! It scared me to death as I wasn't paying attention and it came at me from behind! Alejandro found this hilarious! After stopping, the final step of the hike was pretty hard going, especially as it involved a 30 minute uphill hike up some steep steps (thankfully not as steep as in the blue mountains!)

We finally reached Loftus, the place we were to get the bus home, after ~25km and 9 hours of walking, I was well and truly pooped, but the excitement wasn't over! On the bus to Hertsville where we were to take a connecting train to Sydney, some weirdo old guy kept on turning around and staring at Alejandro and I. We weren't making any noise or anything but he kept on turning around, looking at us, and then turning back. He did this again, then got up and went to sit at the front of us. This didn't stop him looking at us though...I was just like what is your problem? Anyway, I was sitting with my head and arms rested on the seats in front, completely monged and just relaxing....the guy got up, swapped to another seat, turned around and looked at me again. This time I happened to catch his glance! He shouted to me "are you ok" so I replied "yes, are you...". He proceeded to shout at me over the bus, saying how "cool" I looked sitting with my head rested on the seat in front and just rambled on. He obviously thought that I kept looking at him and was trying to make a point, when he was actually the one that was looking at us! Stupid Australian weirdos! Wow, that took a long time to describe and probably isn't even very interesting.

I woke up this morning and was basically unable to walk. My legs were like jelly and I was stumbling all over the place...exercise is never good. I think the rest of the day will be spent recovering and then maybe do some work over the next two days. I really want to get this paper finished!

Here are some pictures from Royal, enjoy!

The view from Cronulla Harbour (where we got the ferry)- luckily this cloud cleared away!

Marley Beach

Deer Pool

Royal National Park

The view towards Sydney

A Massive Lizard - over a metre in length

Greater Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

As I said, they came really close!

The Hacking River at Audley