Rhian leaves Immingham

It’s blogtime again! I’m sailing on the RRS

Ernest Shackleton from the UK to Antarctica via Uruguay, Falklands, Signy

and South Georgia. We left yesterday and are due to arrive at Halley around

Christmas. And that’s just the journey to get there! We all have different terms

to serve on the base but mine is for 16 months, followed by another month or

two to get home, which brings me back to the UK in a year and a half: April

2005. It’s not that long really, considering all that I’ll see and do along

the way, but I know that others in the outside world think I’m crazy. Fair enough.

A long as we’re all happy with our own lives.

So Felix, my brother (for those of you new to the site), is nagging me for

news from Immingham. He’s quite right: best to document the lows as well as

the highs!

It was actually really exciting for Mum and me as we drove around, dwarfed

by Huge Lorries, past lots of Big Ships and Big Cranes next to the Big Train

Carrying Coal and other Real Things that I have only ever heard about in history

lessons about the Industrial Revolution. It was all so real, and made so much

sense compared to the gazillion office jobs out there. If you worked here you

could answer the question ‘but what do you actually DO all day?’ with a clear

conscience and simple response. But Immingham itself is fairly barren and grey

and I’m sure not at all exciting to a seasoned visitor. So we went out to Grimsby

for our final pints on Monday night instead.

There were several delays to the ship’s departure meaning that we were summoned

for Friday, and then Monday, afternoon but didn’t leave until Tuesday at 4pm.

The main dissapointment with this, of course, was that no-one was waving us

off as we left. As it turned out, that was probably a good thing since it was

cold and dark and rainy when we did finally leave and it took an age for us

to move from the quayside to the open water. I was glad that my mum wasn’t still

waving an hour and a half later (as I know she would have been) when we finally

got out of the lock.

I had been surprised at my lack of excitement with the lead up to departure.

Even when they raised the glang plank my tum was calm. As we pulled away from

the concrete wall, however, and saw a gap between Immingham quay and the side

of the ship, a surge of excitement flodded through me. WE’RE OFF! WE’VE LEFT!

HURRAH! GOODBYE IMMINGHAM,GOODBYE UK* goodbye Mum, waving me from her garden

in Cambridge, goodbye Granny, good bye friends and family and 30th birthdays

and weddings and babies and other events I’ll miss, goodbye shops for my favourite

food, goodbye long walks, goodbye anonymity, goodbye phone, goodbye independence.

Goodbye everything.

It was exciting, yes, but we have months to enjoy the future and that moment

was a mix and a muddle, then it rained and got colder and we all decided that

above all, we were glad to be leaving Mingingham.

If you want to email me, leave a comment below and the email response

you get will give you my email address. Otherwise, write to rhian(at)felixsalmon(dot)com.


write to Rhian, Halley Base, Antarctica c/o BAS, Stanley, Falkland Islands,

South Atlantic. Look forward to hearing from you! Rhian.

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3 Responses to Rhian leaves Immingham

  1. Sy Klopps says:

    wtf? whoa, that sounds like an adventure. Hope the sodomy is good.

  2. Veronique says:

    Hey Rhian,

    how is the middle of the Atlantic? We’ve got snow coming our way so enjoy going through the equator!!!


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