Archive for October 23rd, 2010
WARNING… INVASION… WARNING… INVASION… WARNING…
Day 12 at sea and horror has hit the AMT20 team… multi-specie invasion. Giant orange, smelly, lobster-monsters were found in the main laboratory. These creatures fumbled around, moving slowly, in a zombie like fashion. When nearing sea water they sprang to life! After a while, all their energy was funnelled into capturing more sea water, filtering it, making it change colour, adding bubbles… this induced a trance like fixation. And then, springing from the depth of a sample tray The Alien burst out.
The Monsters were so surprised! Why on Earth would a deep-sea alien be in the surface waters… what was his incentive to migrate so far from home!? Swimming around, looking innocent, could this alien really be THE Alien!? The Monsters put their heads together, re-captured him, and squeezed him under a microscope. It was an immense struggle since he was so large, with a mind of his own. It was after all a Saturday evening, and who could blame him for not wanting to spend it under the microscope. The Monsters determination, a pair of tweezers and a pipette was what it took to get this alien beast under control… by oh my it was worth it. The Monsters were bouncing around with excitement and grabbed the camera to fully document this momentous occasion.
All eyes were staring at this wriggling creature. He was shaking his pincers at the Monsters, oooh it was scary stuff! After a prod and a poke the Alien was identified to really be THE Alien… yes, the one from Ridley Scotts’ 1979 Science-Horror movie*. What a find. His less common name was determined to be Phronima- a type of Amphipod, from the Zooplankton family. They are predators of salp, eating away their stomachs so they can use them to lay their eggs in. They use salps as a moving home whilst the Mum brings up the young ones. With their giant eyes and knife-like pincers, they are certainly a predator for plankton to avoid.
But what was it doing so far from home!? Normally found in the deep, dark depths of the Ocean this particular phronima had been on quite an adventure. It was suggested that since zooplankton migrate to the surface at night to feed, to avoid their daytime predators, perhaps the scientists were just up too early- too eager some might say. This lost and lonely phronima didn’t stand a chance, and got caught up in the net.
Whilst the Monsters were having a whale of a time with their new Alien friend, the scientists were confused by this Monster invasion. Dr. Dave Drapeau, part of the American Monster Translators (AMT) clarified that these were harmless creatures, possibly morphosed from a Gumby creature. So that posed the question:
‘What are Gumby creatures’ doing on the ship!?’
His careful translation skills concluded that they were on a stealth mission to escape their arch nemesis, the Blockhead! However, during their escape, sidekick Pokey had got left behind. This was devastating…
Heads were being scratched- how could the Gumby creatures be reunited with Pokey? Captain to the rescue!
‘We shall squeeze them into the adventure travelling sacks and place them by the liferaft. Detective Prickle will be able to organise a swift pick up- no matter where we are!’
So that was it settled. Life on the James Cook was soon back to normal. After such a whirl-wind day, stomachs were rumbling so up to the mess for a curry. What a weekend!
I hope your weekends back on land have been just as exciting,
Thanks to Rach and Raff for their bug finding, photography and serious amounts of enthusiam. And to Dave for his Gumby translation!
*it may not have been the exact one… perhaps a scaled down version measuring just a few millimetres! I think that’s even more spectacular!
Posted by: Ella Darlington on Saturday, 23rd Oct, 2010