Well, after two flight cancellations from the UK, I am finally here in Diego Garcia (British Indian Ocean Territory - BIOT). The last time I was here was in 2010 when I served as Expedition Manager on the Chagos 2010 Expedition, and it’s great to be back.
I arrived on the AMC (Air Movement Command) flight from Singapore and following the usual BIOT Immigration & Customs formalities, was met at arrivals by Major Pete Carr, one of the C2012 team members. Pete, who recently retired from the Royal Marines, now works here on Diego Garcia (DG) as Environmental Manager. Since last Saturday I’ve been lugging three very heavy bags stuffed full of assorted and suspicious-looking expedition equipment half way around the world, and so it was a great relief to be finally able to dump these off in my room at the officer’s quarters before heading for a drink at the Seaman’s Club.
I met with Commander Richard Marshall, British Representative BIOT, who warmly welcomed me to BIOT and kindly briefed me on expedition matters. I then headed over to meet the Manager of Cable & Wireless, Aaron Richardson, who has generously offered to sponsor the production of C2012 t-shirts. From there, I went to inspect the two-tonnes of expedition equipment which had been shipped into DG via Singapore from the UK and Australia, and was relieved to see that it was all present and correct. The rest of the C2012 expedition team arrive into DG on Monday and so the plan is to move this equipment tomorrow from storage to the Royal Marines base at Moody Brook, where it will be unpacked, inspected, assembled and tested prior to loading on Monday onto the BIOT patrol vessel Pacific Marlin - the ship we will be using for the 14 day expedition. In addition to three new inflatable boats shipped from the UK, the expedition has inherited a couple of rather tired-looking inflatable boats from previous expeditions, and it looks like I will be spending a few days up to my elbows in glue trying to make them seaworthy!
Everyone here continues to offer tremendous interest in and kindness and support for the expedition, for which I am truly grateful.