Australia Points


We’ve instituted a system under which Kaja and I (the two current Team Sousa research assistants) can earn “Australia Points.” My current total stands at 16:


  • 5 for trying Vegemite (I ate the whole piece of toast. It was whatever. Just salty.) 2014-07-30 09.55.09_resized
  • 3 for eating a meat pie for lunch (mmm… the Great Australian Taste; it’s like the Great Barrier Reef except that fish are friends, not food)


  • 3 for spotting and photographing an emuIMG_0759 

  • 5 for successfully driving on the left side of the road

     Apparently hitting a kangaroo will gain me Australia Points, not lose them. They’re ubiquitous and nearly every driver hereabouts has stories of them bounding into the road around sunset. I still haven’t seen one, though I drove like a little old lady for a while in fear of what I’ve come to regard as the mule deer of the Southern Hemisphere.


    Okay, two plugs now:

    1. CEBEL (pronounced “seh-bel,” stands for Cetacean Ecology, Behaviour, and Evolution Lab) has a cool Facebook page and a website, on which you might find descriptions of the North West Cape Dolphin Research Project and a biography of yours truly! Definitely check it out for some great photos and excellent science!


    2. Blogging from here has, unfortunately, become quite expensive. Beloved readers, I could really use some help, especially if I want to continue posting photos over the limited and costly bandwidth that I have access to. Therefore, I will dedicate a blog post to any reader who donates $5 US or more to the Vicky-Has-Internet Fund, which you can do either by giving my parents money if you know them OR using SquareCash to send money to Along with your blog dedication, I’d be happy to answer one question you might have about dolphins, Australia, marine biology, ukulele, my life, or anything else you think I can tell you about.



    Tomorrow the winds will be high again, so it looks like another day of data processing. But that’s okay- I’m learning a lot about what it takes to manage a photo library this large and specific, how to organize and clarify data, and how to match fins by sight. It’s pretty satisfying to really recognize an individual by its fin cutting through the water either in person or on a computer screen, and I’ve got a fun playlist to listen to while renaming files and GPS waypoints. Lovely readers, even we field biologists in sunny climes and turquoise waters must turn to a little Beyoncé now and then to raise our spirits. But doesn’t everyone?


7 comments on “Australia Points

  1. piecedgoods says:

    Where on Cebel is your biography?

  2. Joanna Koss says:

    OK. I’ll give you points for driving on the wrong side of the road, but I’m not giving you any for eating a meat pie. If you ate a vegetable pie, that would be point-worthy. Also I’m not too sure how many points Vegemite should be worth. In spite of it’s name it’s not vegetables. It’s mostly salt and old brewer’s yeast and any veg in it is probably dried onions. However, you probably should get some points because it’s moderately disgusting and has to have about a zillion grams of salt and therefore be very bad for you. You do get points for the emu, but you get docked points for jumping around on a glorious beach causing envy to others and making this whole research trip appear suspiciously like a great vacation. Where’s the suffering?

    Since you do have a birthday sometime in here, I will consider your pitiful plea for internet money, but, as you know so well, I’m a bit of a tech illiterate, so don’t hold your breath that I can figure out how to get it to you. If you had a physical address, I could send you cash in a card. Love, grandma Joanna

  3. Tommy says:

    We are contributing to the Vicky-has-internet fund and will drop it off with your folks next time we see them. We don’t have any specific questions for a dedicated blog post at the moment, but we’ll let you know when we do. The edible spider was horrifying. Have you had a chance to go underwater yet?

    • Tommy says:

      BTW, I love how a lot of things in Australia seem to be generically “meat” flavored, without mentioning the specific meat in question. I recall “meat” flavored potato chips, for instance. Your picture of the meat pies reminded me of that. They appear to be Australian flavored.

    • Hooray! You can save up your blog post for anytime you like. Thank you so much! I haven’t been underwater yet, or even hardly in it at all, but will hopefully very soon. I’ve booked a few dives, though, and am excited to go snorkeling as soon as we get a day off of data processing! Tim says he’s got a “surprise” for us tomorrow morning, and we’ll see if that has something to do with the water, but since he told us to bring cameras I sort of doubt it. We’ll see.

      And yes, “meat” flavored stuff is very weird. Not as weird maybe as vegemite being called such and containing no vegetables, but whatever.

  4. Also, correction: I ate only half of the piece of toast. Tim has corrected me and I stand corrected.

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