all projects Abrolhos Islands: Nigel Helyer

16/05/11 0 comment/s post a comment

The HydroLab

My island circuit is completed by this return trip to the Southern Group and the shack on Post Office Island, after my meander northwards through the entire Houtman Abrolhos. Once again on familiar ground, this time accompanied by Artemis Kitsios, a colleague from the city who brings a HydroLab able to test the quality of the water; Oxygen, Salinity, Turbidity, Chlorophyll you name it!

We find that this new activity makes everyone a bit nervous as this is the type of research that the Fisheries Department like to pursue but I reassure all that we meet that our data will only be used to create soundscapes, a partly satisfactory and partly mystifying explanation. In short order I also struggle to explain Biennales, arts funding in general, and finish with a precis of Sound Sculpture.

We make a tour of the Island, noting the various environmental niches, the deep water wharves, the tidal sinkholes, the lagoon and the mangroves. The sensor probe is lowered at each site and as Artemis tackles the hideous interface of the data-logger I drop my hydrophone into the water and listen to the micro-chatter of tiny crustaceans and other coral dwellers who occasionally investigate the hydrophone by gently drumming a tattoo on it's surface.

I stand motionless, entranced in the stellar static of shrimp clicks, the soft grunts and coughs of fish and the zipping of Crayfish antennae, oblivious to the shrieks of gulls that skim menacingly over my head.

(image above: cod fish)

from the cod\'s point of view hydrophone

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