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Polychaete research in the Falklands by Teresa Darbyshire - Day 10

Lady Elizabeth
Photo 1: The wreck of the Lady Elizabeth east of Stanley
Photo 2: two different species of Lugworm - honest...
Falklands map
Photo 3: Location of sampling site on day 10

I should stop wishing for better weather, every time I do it gets worse. This morning I woke to the sound of rain being beaten against the window by the ever present wind (it may have been a stronger wind but I can’t tell any more). I hoped it might pass quickly but it soon became apparent that it was set in for a while. The desire to go sampling waned. Maybe today would be a good day to catch up on some admin, putting my notes in order etc etc?

I went down to the Fisheries department and for the first time met Paul Brickle. Paul is the guy that I organised this whole trip through. Unfortunately he’s been on a research cruise since before I arrived only returning yesterday so this is the first time we have actually met except over a skype call. During our discussions Paul mentioned a good sampling site with some different species I potentially didn’t have. The site was only round the corner and with low tide still an hour away it seemed a waste to miss it so off I went into the rain… The site was near one of the many rotting beached hulks that exist along the Stanley shoreline, the Lady Elizabeth (photo 1). As I dug away on the beach a coach-load of tourists stopped and lined up on the road to take pictures, no doubt rather annoyed at the sight of a person in blue and yellow waterproofs digging holes on the beach directly inbetween them and the photogenic rusty wreck. Shame. I carried on. At least despite being wet, it didn’t feel as cold and my hands retained feeling this time.

Back in the lab I slowly began to steam and dry out. My catch turned out to include two different species of lugworm (photo 2). The photo shows the two different species. For anyone who has seen them before, these probably look just like the lugworms you find on beaches in the UK but I can assure you they're not. There are several differences to differentiate these two species on but the different colours are not one of them!

The rest of the afternoon involved getting equipment ready for my first dive trip – very exciting! Of course, in true UK style, the weather is deteriorating in preparation, Saturday looks decidedly dodgy with 30-35mph winds from the wrong direction! Still, we should get some dives in before that and I’m really looking forward to it. Apparently the poor (!) 8m recent visibility has cleared up (have these guys dived in the UK?!). We should have 4 days diving around Cochon and Kidney Islands, both nature reserves, located a short distance directly north of Stanley.

No more blog then until I get back on Sunday. Hopefully I’ll be able to tell you about some fabulous diving!

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