After squashing everything back into our backpacks and checking out of the hotel, we had a full morning of program content. This morning we looked at our Life Style Inventory (LSI) results and then did an individual LSI survey on our ideal leader - what traits would we like them to have? How would we like to be treated by them? We then revealed the results and shared in groups. Despite our hugely varying backgrounds (country, age, career progression, current job etc), we were all surprised how similar the results were. Blue is a "constructive" leader - we then averaged our scores for each attribute and charted this for each group (seen below). We then compared these results to our own LSI results (from the previous 11 months + life coach sessions), we had two LSI results, the first being how we viewed ourself, and the second, how others viewed us.
Life Style Inventory (LSI) charting
Ready to go! Left: our sponsorship gifts from Kathmandu, our jackets, transfer packs (hat and bottle not pictured), plus Emma the Penguin from Discovery Dundee. Right: team HB2018 Scotland, Beth Christie (University of Edinburgh) and I - ready to board the ship
Our ship (note, it's not a boat because a ship is a vessel that is large enough to have boats on it) is called Ushuaia (the same name as the town we are currently in). The leadership had two options, one to use a scientific research vessel for three weeks, or to use a tourist ship. The pros of using a scientific research vessel is that, with the correct permits, we could have collected samples or carried out experiments. The cons: not all scientists on board did conventional science i.e. they may work in scientific policy, as vets, in education, as doctors etc. and even of those traditional scientists, some were social scientists. Even of the physical scientists, many did research that couldn't benefit from samples or measurements collected in Antarctica. Such was the diversity of the HB team (which was amazing). Of the tourist ship option - The cons: no samples or measurements. The pros: using a vessel that would be going anyway (with tourists). The company offer 7-10 day expeditions to the public; they do the Drake passage, the South Shetland Islands and the top tip of the Antarctic Peninsula before the 2 days home over the Drake) This would be environmentally preferential; we could hire the boat completely (and therefore tailor it solely to our expedition, i.e. research stations). We could have our own expedition leaders and program. We wouldn't be using three weeks time on a scientific vessel which could be used for round the clock science samples and measurements. Needless to say, we took the tourist ship. As a research scientist who could have benefited from the collection of samples (with the correct protocols and paperwork) I was initially disappointed but really, when you weigh up the pros and cons and the fact that it may have detracted from the experience of being there and the leadership program, I'm actually glad this decision was made.
Today is a Scottish rain kind of day, low clouds and rather grey. Upon arriving at our ship in the dock, we checked in / registered - this meant giving up our passport for the duration of the journey (as is normal on ships) and getting assigned our cabin number. I was in a 300 number cabin, which was colloquially referred to as 'second class'. 'First class' or the 600s was upstairs with square windows, single beds and an en-suite bathroom, 'second class' downstairs with porthole windows, single beds and an en-suite bathroom, 'third class' or the 400s, was downstairs (near the engine), porthole windows, bunk beds and a bathroom between 4 people, i.e. between two rooms. So off I went to my 'second class' room (photo at end of today of bed). I was sharing with Maddie, an Australian plant biologist, based in Canberra (turns out she did her PhD in Oxford, so had lived in the UK for three years). Maddie and I got on great, we got organised and unpacked (advisable before the Drake Passage) then went upstairs for our welcome champagne (!) and to meet the crew and make introductions.
It felt quite odd being on a ship in the Beagle Chanel, after all, as a scientist who studies evolution, I was aware of Charles Darwin's sailing here and his book "The voyage of the Beagle". This was named after the HMS Beagle, a ship that Darwin was on during a hydrographic survey of the Southern part of South America from 1826 - 1830. The channel, much like Darwin's book is also named after HMS beagle (the ship). Darwin was self-funded under captain FitzRoy as a naturalist on board the voyage. Self funded, scientist, Beagle Channel - almost 200 years later, on the Ushuaia, with 79 other women scientists we are the largest expedition of women scientists to Antarctica that there has ever been.
Dinner in the galley was interrupted with the ship doctor giving us all sea-sickness medication. Whilst meeting the crew, the doctor has introduced herself and insisted that none of the medication we had spent ages researching and planning and getting was any good. None of it; not even the patches. She then stated that she would give out medicine at dinner. These were 5 blue pills (75 mg antihistamines apparently) which we were to take one every 8 hours, starting at dinner. Needless to say, it was an early night for all.