Hello blog followers!
Things are moving a pace now. Erika and Marlene from the NHM and Kath from Germany arrived yesterday after a long journey from Europe. I spent the day yesterday at the WAM and Alex, Geoff and I started getting the kit ready for the field. As staff from the WAM often go out into the Nullarbor and other remote areas they have a lot of equipment in stores which is great and Geoff has been doing bits and bobs of sorting out over the last few weeks so that was very helpful. We have to take everything we need into the field with us so we have to be double sure that a) we have everything we need and b) that the equipment works! This is especially important for things like the generators and also the safety equipment such as the radios and satellite phones. One thing I found out was that some entomology colleagues from the WAM have asked Geoff and Alex to collect SPIDERS for them!!!!!!!!!!! Oh! My! God!! As you may be able to tell this was a bit of a shock for me as I am not overly keen on any insect, but especially not our eight legged 'friends'. Anyway, very sadly I don't have permission to collect animals in the Nullarbor so I can't help, oh dear what a shame - NOT! Anyway, we had a laugh this morning when we told Kath about it and told her that we were expected to help - should've seen her face, and she's a native Aussie! hahahahaha
We were supposed to pick up our Toyota Prado today but we are getting it tomorrow. We are taking two vehicles with us into the desert, the Prado and an 8t truck - yes that's right an EIGHT TON TRUCK, which Geoff will be driving as he is the only one of us that has a truck driving licence. We picked it up yesterday and it is MASSIVE, indeed it looks something like this..........
Geoff kindly gave me a lift back into Perth last night and he said it is like driving the Titanic. To give you an idea of how high the cab is when we stopped (in the no stopping zone so I had to quickly jump out) I had to step down using the steps and then jump! Anyway, I am sure that will be fun driving around in the desert in that, I don't envy Geoff. Actually it is quite useful having a vehicle this size as we can actually use it to sleep in if it gets very cold or it rains - actually I am sure it is larger than some 'flats' in London!
Today we did our first big shop for food. We need to take enough food for 5 people for two weeks so that is quite a lot. Today we got most of the 'dry' food, by that I mean things like pasta, tinned stuff, cereals, porridge - basically stuff that isn't fresh/frozen as we will get that on Saturday so it is as fresh as possible. We will have two Engels with us - these are field fridges/freezers so we can take things like meat and vegetables with us but again we have to think carefully about what sort of stuff to take. We don't take fruit or veg that is easily squashed or stuff that can go bad quickly. The same goes for meat - we stick to red meat and don't bother with fresh fish, chicken etc - basically anything that can make you ill if it goes a bit off is out. I'm very much looking forward to trying some of Alex and Geoff's cooking. Both of them have a reputation for being gourmet field cooks! Geoff is renowned for his soup skills and Alex was impressing Kath and I with the various dishes he is planning for our trip - including bread and cakes! We all got a few treats for the field - Alex got some Tim Tams (I think that's what they were called) which are Australian chocolate biccies, Kath got some stuff and I got some Wasabi peas (Debs if they are any good I will try and get you some before I come back :-)) but I may have to guard them from Kath as she says she loves them too!
Tomorrow we are going to do some more shopping for food and stuff. I'll try and take some pictures and put them on the blog tomorrow evening.
See you soon!