I’ve learned the hard way (read: scared off many men at bars) that the commonplace conversations that take place on a remote project site, don’t transfer well when you re-integrate into city life.

A similar sentiment holds true for going to a field base. City knowledge and habits don’t always transfer well. Which is why I feel fortunate that three members of our winter field team have already been to Kure.

We’re continuing to food shop for our six month trip, which I find intimidating. Normally, I go to the grocery store every two to three days and my typical supermarket experience involves a second ‘oops-I-forgot-the-salsa’ run. But once we’re dropped off on Kure with our provisions – that’s it. No more shopping and no more inviting a friend over to dinner with the classic follow-up text ‘on the way, can you stop by the store for cheese, candy bars and toilet paper?’

As we shop, chop and pack, I’m privileged with a running commentary from my colleagues regarding what works, what doesn’t work and what to expect. It seems there is an innate Kure-ian knowledge that comes from living on this specific base. Here are some of my favorite words of wisdom so far:

‘Don’t freeze the freshly chopped onions next to the ice cream or all of our ice cream will taste of onions for six months.’

‘These salty crackers with lemon-icing filling may taste funny now, but after a few hot hours in the field, you’ll think you’ve never tasted anything so good.’

‘I never eat Spam here. But last season on Kure, I went to town on the Spam. Plus we can use it as bait for ants. Wait, are 14 cans enough?’

After a long day of buying and moving supplies from Costco to the truck and from the truck inside base:

‘Offloading on the island is brutal. It’s a tough few days moving all of the buckets filled with supplies up to the field house and I think a rough introduction for new recruits to Kure.’

This last quote sounds daunting but is actually fairly reassuring after all the food we’ve bought. I’m crossing my fingers that we don’t gain weight, so right now a few days of manual labor sound nice. Of course, I might have very different things to say after moving the
400+ buckets around camp.

Noel Dunn