On Bird Island, the majority of seal monitoring is done at the Special Study Beach. All new pups born on this beach are given an identification mark using blond hair dye, and thus when the first pup is born at SSB and the blond hair dye is broken out, tradition dictates that everyone on base, or at least everyone who is willing or not physically strong enough to resist, also gets blonded. This year was no exception. Initially I planned to go for a few tasteful highlights, but then at the last moment, perhaps overcome by the peroxide fumes gently wafting from earlier victims, I threw caution to the wind and decided to go completely blonde. What I did not know is that young hair takes up peroxide more easily than old hair, so after an hour of marinating in bleach the crown of my head was very blond indeed but the tips remained resolutely brunette. The overall effect was a lot more Marilyn Manson than Marilyn Monroe, but I guess not many people will see me for the next two years, unless I do something foolish like post a picture on my blog.