Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Project Beagle

In which I am a horrible fan-boy.

Some wonderful people in the UK are raising money to construct a near-exact replica of HMS Beagle, the ship that Charles Darwin circumnavigated the world aboard. They're planning on sailing the replica-Beagle in 2009, the year of anniversaries* of both Darwin's birth and the publication of The Origin of Species.

The project has a blog, here. The home pages of the project are here. If you have some spare money for a very worthy cause, they are looking for donations.

Among those pages there are tantalizing notes about an "international crew" of "aspiring young scientists" and experiments conducted during the voyage.


One of the organizers, wonderful person that he is, saw a comment of mine on Pharyngula and left a comment here yesterday (or today; time-zones render some words vague), inviting me to contact the project. Which I did. Now I suppose I'll be on some mailing list, which is good, but I still don't yet know what I should do to improve my odds of being aboard Replica-Beagle in 2009 (or later). I'd actually be quite happy to be part of the voyage for only a few months, as I strongly suspect that very few people will be aboard for the full 5-year trip.

I don't care what part of the trip - obviously, the bit where they sail into the Galapagos will be the most desirable, so I'm going to state right now that I'd be quite happy to skip that part, and sail with the Replica-Beagle during one of the less-pleasant legs of the voyage. The parts messing around at the southern tip of South America, especially around the Falkland Islands, will probably have the worst weather conditions - put me aboard there. I've long wanted to visit the Falklands and southern Argentina anyway; this sounds like a great excuse to dance among the landmines.

*Note to self: publish world-shaking magnum opus on own 50th birthday.

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