Alaskan calling for Bay's Carol

By Roger Moroney

During a GNS camp staged at the National Aquarium last year, Napier's Carol Larson heard about how volunteers were being invited to take part in research work aboard the geological research ship Joides Resolution in the coastal waters of Alaska this northern summer.

She remarked "what a cool job" that would be.

"Then someone said I should go for it - you never know."

Now she does know, having had her application approved for a two-month stint aboard the ship which will be conducting drilling research work in Alaskan waters in June and July.

While a long way from her education team leader role at the National Aquarium she will still be maintaining a strong link back to the Bay - her education role will become one transmitted by Skype broadcasts to schools keen to see and hear what the Integrated Ocean Drilling Programme (IODP) ship's researchers are up to.

The main focus of the ship's scientific team, who conduct four research expeditions a year, is to take core samples from the seabed to determine things like climate change, sedimentation and the formation of coastal mountain ranges.

GNS science agencies in New Zealand and Australia are funding her travel costs to Alaska as well as accommodation aboard, but she will be working purely as a volunteer.

"I've taken leave from my job here to do this," she said.

It will not be the first time she has cast off on a voyage through Alaskan waters.

In 1979 she spent two months aboard a fisheries patrol ship working as a marine biologist - checking the fishing rates of ships working the region. "Oh yes I've got my sea legs," she said. "I love the sea."

In her education role at the aquarium, she has already send out invitations to schools via email advising them they could book a time for students to speak with scientists aboard and see the work they were doing. "A lot have booked in already."

She flies out on May 26 into the Alaskan summer, which will be like our autumn. "It will be bright up there - the sun will only set for a couple of hours a day."

As well as staging "live feed" Skype sessions she will, as a member of the Royal Society, stage a presentation of her experiences and work aboard when she returns.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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