Welcome Clive, would I be safe in saying that you have been to Antarctica before and why do you keep coming back?
Yes, I have been lucky enough to spend quite a few seasons down south, first with the South African program, then a few times with the Australian program and then with the French and Kiwi programs. I return for the elephant seals of course. Who wouldn’t travel to the end of the earth for a glimpse of these magnificent beasts.
What is it like being a sealer at Davis?
It would have to be about the best job one could have while still dressed. You can’t beat the early morning amble down the beach counting seals and watching the world wake. Early mornings are a pretty special time of day and field biologists get to see quite a few, so all round we’re a pretty lucky bunch.
If not a seal biologist, what job would you do Clive?
Catching seals is good for one’s soul. I don’t think I would like any other job really. (I’ve seen you catching seals Clive, I think it’s good for getting fit and being quick on your feet!)
What has been the best gig as a seal biologist?
No doubt, weighing weaned elephant seals on a blustery day in the sub Antarctic.
What has been your best Antarctic experience?
Being amongst magnificent beasts and being able to return.
As a very experienced campaigner Clive, what do you love about Antarctica?
I love that I have been lucky and privileged enough to come back a number of times. I think it gets into your blood.
Who inspires you?
Good question, a number of people but notably Jan Smuts (South African President, philosopher and naturalist back in the 1920s), Laurence van der Post (South African humanist and author), more recently Nelson Mandela (and F.W.de Klerk for the part he played) for saving South Africa from a blood bath and especially for the forgiveness he showed, and finally Mary White, a paleobotanist extraordinaire, a great thinker and living treasure. (Wow Clive, that is a pretty impressive list!)
If you were a car, what car would you be?
I would probably be an old Land Rover, slow and steady.
If you could be someone else, who would you be?
I ‘m not sure, I kind of like being me but a smarter me and a me that can play and sing the blues would be pretty grand. (Clive, you are already pretty smart in my book. I’ve never had dinner with anyone else who has nearly 100 published papers!)
What have you learned living in a small community?
You can run but you can’t hide, so it’s best to be kind to one another.
Clive if you were granted one wish what would it be?
I wish that we all spent a bit more time thinking about the world around us.
What are you looking forward to the most when you get home from your latest Antarctic adventure?
Feasting on home grown tomatoes and hanging out with my lovely (and very patient) wife Lou.