Highlights, 2016!

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So I have just remembered, on the 10th February, that I never finished and uploaded this post! So anyway, i thought, even if its of no interest to anyone else, its a nice reminiscent post that I’ll be able to look back on!

 So here we are, very nearly at the end of 2016, where has this last year gone? So much has changed, this time last year I was stressing myself out over handing in my undergraduate dissertation just after this Christmas break. Now, here I am stressing over the three deadlines I have due in January… Okay, so maybe not that much has changed.

I’m now currently studying Energy Engineering rather than Geophysics, still at UEA however, how could I leave my beloved city… I was beyond lucky to have been awarded a full scholarship from the Scottish Power Foundation which has opened so many doors for me and allowed me to meet some wonderful people, maybe I’ll write a post about it sometime…

Anyway, getting to the point, I thought I’d document my highlights of 2016, too look back on in the future;

  1. My first (and only) outdoor climbing trip to the Roaches.

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I’ve definitely written a post about this previously. After finally submitting my undergraduate dissertation I had the opportunity to spend the weekend climbing with UEA Climbing Club in this beautiful setting!

2. Edinburgh for mine and my sister birthday

So if you’ve never been, I highly recommend going. Ruby and I went and spent several days of  March up in beautiful Edinburgh exploring the castle, climbing to Arthurs seat and relaxing in the birth place of Harry Potter!

3. Post-exam Lake Bled mini break

The day after finishing my final undergraduate exam Matt and I jetted off to Lake Bled, Slovenia for a wonderful few days exploring the stunning landscape, climbing hills and following gorges to waterfalls.

4. Working Offshore

Looking back I always have mixed feelings about working offshore. This year I went back to the company who I worked for for my year in industry and spent two months back out in the North Sea. I enjoy the work and the atmosphere can be fun, however weeks away from loved ones, bad food and confined conditions can get to be a bit too much!

5. Glastonbury

After years of wanting to go, myself and some wonderful people set off to Glastonbury and had an extremely muddy weekend of fun! I can’t wait to go again!

6. Being offered the Scottish Power Scholarship and meeting the King and Queen of Spain.

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I was so lucky to have been offered a full scholarship from ScottishPower to study my masters at UEA. As they’re part of the larger Spanish company, Ibedrola, the award ceremony was in Madrid and the certificates handed out by the king and queen of spain! Pretty exciting huh!

7. Graduation Day

So this is what the last four years were building up to! I had such a lovely day surrounded my some of my nearest and dearest celebrating our achievements!

8. Whistable and Herne Bay

I’ve already blogged about this, but it deserved another mention. It was lovely to have a short break before starting the manic masters degree!

9. Talking at EEEGR’s Offshore Wind Week

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Although completely nerve racking, I was lucky enough to have been given the opportunity to talk on behalf of Scottish Power and UEA at offshore wind week!

10. Glasgow with the Scottish Power Scholars and Zozo!

Unfortunately I don’t have too many pictures of this adventure, but the Scottish Power Foundation invited us up to Glasgow for a networking opportunity and the visit they pumped storage hydroelectric plant, which was pretty damn cool! It was lovely to catch up with the other scholars for the fist time since Madrid and also lovely to see Zoe!

So that’s it, my top events of 2016, here’s to 2017 and many more  adventures and hopefully a successful second half of my masters degree!!

Much love. Ex

A weekend away… Herne Bay and Whistable

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This post is only seven weeks late… but hey ho, I’m going to write it anyway for me.

A couple of weeks before I started my MSc back at the University of East Anglia, Matt and I took a short break to Herne Bay to somewhat relax before the work began!

We booked the cutest old fisherman’s hut, The Nook, which was small yet cozy with everything we could possibly need for a weekend. The owner, Eve, was extremely welcoming and thought of everything. We arrived to find a lovely hamper which contained more than enough for breakfast and a very nice bottle of wine (which we drank before I had a chance to take a picture)! If you’re ever that way I highly recommend staying at the Nook, Unless you’re tall… then maybe you wont quite fit inside the cottage…

Matt and I are both keen walkers, so we decided to walk from Herne Bay to Whistable via West Blean, Thornden and Clowes wood, which I highly recommend. It was a beautifully sunny weekend, which definitely helped! Whistable it a really cute little seaside town with lots of interesting little shops and cafes, well worth a visit.

Once we’d cooled down from the long walk and explored Whistable a little, we strolled along the seafront following the Saxon Shore Way back to Herne Bay. We of course stopped for fish and chips along the way (You have to when you’re at the seaside, don’t you!). When we returned to the Nook, I’m pretty sure we both collapsed, so tired we didn’t even manage to finish our glasses of wine!

The following morning, we had to say goodbye to the cozy fisherman’s hut, however, before we left Herne Bay we set out in search for a cooked breakfast! We’d heard about a vegetarian  cafe in the town, however after hunting it down we fount it to be closed! We ended up eating at The Pantry, literally around the corner from the Nook!

Once last stop before the journey back to Norwich was Reculver Towers and Roman Fort! A beautiful and interesting little spot, with and exceptionally cheap car park for an English Heritage site! And that was it, our weekend away. Now I’m at the beginning of week six of my masters degree, swamped with work wishing I could be enjoying the weekend back by the seaside. Hence the delayed reminiscing post!

E x

Sun, snow and rock climbing?

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Hello guys!

As always, I must apologise fort he lack of posts, after a stunning weekend in the peak district I was inspired! How could I not share this beauty!

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Over the past academic year I have taken up climbing with the UEA climbing club and I love it! So after the stress of my dissertation was finally over, I jumped at the opportunity to give it a go outside when the club ran a beginners trip! So, a couple of weekends ago, I bundled in the minibus with the eleven others and began the journey to the Roaches in the Peak District!

We arrived in the snow at the Don Whillans Memorial Hut late at night, unable to fully appreciate how awesome it looked until the next morning. We bundled into the kitchen, which was built into the rock itself, and enjoyed an evening drinking beer and getting to know each other, deliberating whether it’d be dry enough to climb the next day! Unfortunatly, it wasn’t! However, as you can see, it was stunning, and it turns out, bouldering pads make pretty good sledges! So we set out, wrapped up warm to explore!

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Finally, in the afternoon it brightened up and we managed to climb! The hut was minutes from the nearest climbs, so it wasn’t far for us at all!  Once the leader had set the ropes (theres no way I’m anywhere near that good yet!) we gave it a go! It was so much fun, freezing cold, in minutes of putting on flimsy climbing shoes and taking off my gloves, I could barely feel my fingers and toes! But, I made it to the top and had so much fun doing so!

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It wasn’t long before we were all too cold to climb and we retreated inside for food and an evening of veggie chilli and drinking games, retreating to our alpine style bunks once the beer had run out! After another coating of snow overnight, the next morning was again to wet to climb! However we strolled up to some bouldering problems, which were surrounded by bog! Unfortunately a few were claimed by the bog man (he has his own song now, the bogra is a work in progress!) but I managed to complete my first outside bouldering problems. I definitely prefer bouldering inside, outside I’m still undecided!

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After a few more chilly hours and more bogman casualties, we retreated back to the minibus and ended our snowy climbing adventure! It was without a doubt one of my favourite weekends of my final year at UEA, thank you so much to the UEA Climbing Club and everyone else who came along!

Much Love!

E x

Travelling, arrival and my first week onboard…

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22/04/2015

16:30

So, I’m currently sat at Norwich Airport, ridiculously early (as always) waiting to check in, as, despite the check-in being open, they haven’t got a list of the passengers on the flight…. This could be interesting!

I’m feeling really nervous, my last trip away was amazing and I was accompanied by some fantastic people, this one has a lot to live up to. I am sailing with one of the lovely ladies I worked with before and the other Geophycisit’s I shall be working with are lovely! So all should be good! I’m more nervous that, unlike last time, I shall be on my own shift and have a lot more responsibility than before! It is however, nice to know they have the confidence in me for this though. I just don’t want to mess up!

23:22

So, here I am, snuggled up in my little cabin on the M.V. Vigilant. It feels so weird to be back on a ship, it’s been just over 5 months since I left the Researcher! The Vigilant is definitely more confusing, but I think I’ve got my head around where everything is! I’ve unpacked a little so my cabin feels more homely, I made the mistake of living out of my suitcase for the first part of my last trip offshore and it’s not pleasant! It’s nice to look around the room and see my own belongings. Tomorrows going to be a busy day of ship inductions and pre-job meetings, so off to sleep I go (after an episode of Once Upon a Time).

23/04/2015

21:39

Well, I never got a chance to upload yesterday’s post, todays been a busy day and since we left port, the internet has been painfully slow!

From what I have gathered do far with my offshore experiences, today was a pretty standard start of job day. Despite being on the midday to midnight shift, I was up at 7 for breakfast, ready to sign on with the Capitain (something everyone has to do when you join a vessel). After an induction tour of the ship, which is one of the very few occasions us Geos dress up in our PPE, we were then in organisation mode, trying to set up the job on the ships computer ready for the pre-job meeting. Aiding the ships crew with putting away stores is another of the rare occasions the PPE comes out to play and seeing the amount of boxes of magnums which were delivered had everyone excited! The Vigilant, without a doubt, has better snacks than the Researcher! Now just to not put on loads of weight! Ha.

The pre-job meeting followed, I can’t say it’s a thrilling experience, but vital to get all the information for the upcoming job. The rest of the day was just more time at the computer, trying to sort out silly issues with software, confusing the chart printer and getting a prepared as possible for the upcoming work (including eating magnums). A majority of the job ahead is pretty simplistic, yet a section of it, none of us have done before, so we’re just trying to get ahead of the game! We left Montrose at about 6pm and, surprisingly I feel pretty good (touch wood). It took me a few days to adjust last time I first got out to sea, but hopefully, I still have my sea legs. It definitely feels strange, hence why I’m already tucked up in bed at nearly 10pm, writing this before I watch another episode of Once Upon a Time!

The foods been quite good so far, although, I did have the test of making the chef aware that I’m a pescatarian, which, with a language barrier is always a little tricky! He seemed to be okay about having to cater for me, however I always feel so awkward having to ask them to make sure theres something I can eat, plus, eating fish every meal for weeks on end does get very dull! Being on the midday to midnight shift means I’ll only catch two meal times (we have set times, 07:00 – 08:00 for breakfast, 11:30-12:30 for lunch and 17:00-18:00 for dinner) but there’s always leftovers and I’ll probably skip lunch and have porridge instead, waking up and eating a full cooked lunch will not go down well! I’ve never actually done a shift like this before. My time on the Researcher I shadowed the Geo and we usually worked 08:00-22:00, so the day was a lot more sociable. I’m not really sure how I’m going to structure my day around my shift yet, but I’m sure I’ll work something out!

Anyway, my head is feeling a little bit funny and I’m shattered, so I’m going to chill and I’ll try and get this somewhere tomorrow!

27/04/2015

01:33

Helloo, so, I haven’t written in a couple of days, simply because if I wrote every day it’d get super boring and repetitive! My last two days have been working days! Woooo. We’ve started acquiring data and I’m a busy bee, which I like. We had a fire and muster drill the other day, at 11am, literally just as I got our the shower… I wasn’t aware we had a drill… that was fun! But yeah, basically we just run through the procedures that we’d go through for the event of the fire, which in my case is go to the muster point on deck in PPE (another one of the few chances I get to wear my PPE) with my life jacket and survival suit! Usually you have a responsibility, such as collecting the fire extinguishers etc, but due to this ship being tranship we don’t have that. So basically I stood out on deck in PPE and a life jacket for half hour, but it was nice to get some fresh air!

The last three days have been pretty much the same. I’m up at 10:30, I’ll have some breakfast… I’ve brought some porridge along with me because I miss the breakfast time, but there is cereal and bread etc, there’s always plenty of food! Then I’ll be in our little Geo office for 11:30 to handover from the night shift, then to work I go! On board I’m responsible for data QC and interpretation, so if I’m not happy with the data I have the responsibility to make the appropriate people aware. But mainly I’ve just spent my days at my desk, in my really dodgy chair, which was once a wheelie chair. But as you can imagine, a wheelie chair on a very rolly ship… disaster, so they’ve ripped the wheels off!! And it leans really awkwardly backwards and to the left…. There’s an art to sitting in it the right way!

I’ll usually break for dinner (well, my lunch) at 5pm, then on with work until 23:30 when I’ll handover to the night shift! Pretty straight forward. The main lab is at the other end of the ship, so I spend a fair bit of time going to and from to see whats going on and ask any questions. And obviously I have a Magnum break! There is just so much tempting naught food! So difficult to stay away from the buisuits, especially when I’m drinking tea all day long! Working offshore definitly increases my tea consumption. But I’m trying to mitigate the impacts of the chocolate and ice cream by heading to the gym each night after shift. I try and stay up till past 02:00, otherwise I wake up at 08:00 and im shattered by the end of my shift! I didn’t make it there yesterday though, felt pretty queasy, we were rolling around a lot! Then I’ll just head to my cabin, watch an episode of OUAT and go to sleep…

Until 06:00, when the bow thrusters seem to be tested (due to the fact we’re doing 500m zone work) and I’m rudely woken up!!! You would not believe how loud they are! And my cabin is right next to them!

Aaaanyway, that’s my working day on board, nothing too exciting. Now it’s time for bed for me, I’ll attempt to get this uploaded tomorrow!!!

E x