21 June 2018

Laugharne: the final days

Katrien had decided there was no need for us (the geophysicists and me) to drive back on Sunday; by Saturday, our job would be done, and we could just as well go home. So after the day of surveying I had one more day of showing the students forams, and then the day of coring, and that would be it.

The second day of foram work went well as well! The tides were a bit awful so I would have to go into the field really early or really late. And as the technicians were extra busy too due to the shortened period (with similar amounts of work), they would come out of the field rather late, and so we would eat rather late. Sometimes dinner wasn't planned until half past nine! And that means not being able to go to bed early, and I don't function very well on little sleep. So I decided to go into the field late rather than early on the second day too! And the students were still keen and hard-working.

We even had dinner at a reasonable time, for achange. The drawback was that that meant we could reasonably go to the pub. I tend to not go there at all! But now I was running low on excuses. It it nice to mingle with the students. Except that the only student in the pub were working up their data. No mingling ensued! But I still ended up in bed later (and with more alcohol in my system) than on the other Laugharne days (let alone 'normal' days). I was tired the next day!

The coring day had some ups and downs. When we arrived on the scene the technicians had set up already, as they are used to do. But they looked resigned! It turned out there was an issue with the percussion drill. Oh dear. They tried to core anyway; after some fruitless efforts suddenly the drill came back to life, and drilled a barrel into the ground as if it was butter. Great! We thought. We jacked the thing out again, only to find the show hadn't come up. It had sheared clean off! And with the shoe, the cutter and the liner were gone too. The men managed to dig the liner out, but this barrel couldn't be used anymore. Luckily, they had a spare.

Trying the percussion drill

 They tried again. This time the whole thing came up! Great! But when we took the shoe off, we saw the thread had almost come off on this barrel too. Oh dear! You can't core without a barrel. So we had only one core section. On a good day, we get six! And in addition, it had started raining.

Weather deteriorating; mood staying fine!

Dei and Katrien did their geophysics thing while we pondered our options. We would just have them describe this section, but it might be better to break for lunch first. And so we did! We went to Laugharne proper and had a hot lunch. We wouldn't get hot dinner that day!

When we got back the sun was out again. Good! So we had the first group describe the core section. With only one to go around, they could go into quite some detail. I teamed up with Jaco for it, as he does description of modern sediments in the field, and he could now remind them of what they had seen. Was some of what they saw in the core the fossil remains of one of the environments they had seen at the surface?

 Core description (only one section, but what can one do)

Altogether, it took quite a while for all students to have done a description. The geophysicists were done earlier! We wrapped up and that was it. We drove back to the cottages; we didn't have enough drivers for Dei. Katrien and me scooting off now. We each drove a different vehicle back! I drove on the satnav, which sent me over the minutest country roads, so that took forever. Fortunately I had a nice student in my car so we had a good chat.

Back in the cottage we had some tea and a bite to eat, and too much discussion about the next episode of Laugharne, but shortly after six we set off. I had packed my bags and cleaned my cottage before going into the field that day. And at about ten I was home. I was tired! But I would have a whole Sunday to myself!

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