The Doctor’s (not) in (yet): Phase 1 - Playing the Waiting Game


It’s been over a week now since I’m on islandtime. The beginning was promising with a wonderful encounter the other day. What’s been going on since then? Well, not much. As the title of this blog post reveals, I am waiting every day for good news. Good news would be: Whales!!! Simple as that. I’m riding my bike three times a day to the diving shop to wait for the whale swimmers to arrive – hopefully with big smiles on their faces indicating the search has been successful.

We had four days when we couldn’t go out. Now we can but the whales are absent. Well, they are around but not in the range. Tours are fully booked these days which is why I cannot join them. This is okay, as long as people are having an experience with the whales and are keen to talk to me about it. But no whales also means no interviews, which starts to make me feel a bit itchy, although I still have enough time. At least I think so. Patience is not really a strength of mine, yet it is most essential when it comes to research. I caught myself overthinking again, asking the question ‘what if’. What if I won’t have a sufficient data set in the end? Is the whole case study endangered? Just like the humpback whales that visit Niue each year? I tend to live in the future – or in the past but for some reason I don’t enjoy the moment. Maybe it’s a scientist bug, worrying constantly about your baby, which is the study. Each season is different so you really can’t predict what you’ll get. If it’s a poor season, it’s a higher power and I have to state that in the end. Another possibility, if the worst-case scenario is happening, would be to extent for another week. This is not so much a time factor than more a financial one. Scientists are always poor, so am I ;) When it comes to that point, I surely need to discuss this with my supervisors, but at this stage I try not to worry too much (which is hard, you reckon that, right? ;)). In fact, I have planned a backup week. So this is it. Only if it stays like this, I’ll get in trouble. Otherwise it’s a calculated risk. Should put me at ease, right?

Apart from the uncertainty, which is a millennial thing really, I do enjoy my time here. I made a lot of new friends (including a curious sea snake and lots of puppies) and I’ve even been interviewed for Radio New Zealand about my research. So yeah, life is still good. It’s just research that f@%§[&] everything up ;) So my life isn’t that fabulous after all, but oh well. It’s all about attitude I guess.

My operator tends to say: In the end, it’s all good. And if it’s not all good, then it’s not the end…