Saturday, September 16, 2006

Sorry, I'm a bad blogger. I keep seeming to have other things to do. We caught and tagged a bunch of squid. That was fun. I've also been working on James' boat that got it's butt kicked in the hurricane. That's a bit less fun but it's still fine.

I may not continue writing stuff here. I'm just too busy. I'll probably post photos on flickr from time to time though.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Nothing much to report. We're just getting ready for hurricane Florence. It doesn't seem like it's going to be too big a deal. I'm studying for the Bio GRE, getting ready to start my project, and honing my drinking skills. We went snorkling without fins yesterday and flailed around trying to chase a school of reef squid. That was fun.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Here's a picture of the squid I'll be working with. I kind of cheated to get this picture though. We went on a trip to the aquarium today. It's actually a damned nice aquarium for such a small island. There's also a little zoo attached to it that's nice as well. We visited the capital city of Hamilton afterwards. That was alright. Everything is pretty upscale and expensive but it was still fun.

Here's the front of the building I'm staying in. Pretty swanky for a research station and it's supposed to be hurricane proof. That'll come in handy. Florence is supposed to hit here on Monday. I guess it's only catagory one right now so it should be no problem. Even if it gets stronger, I've been assured that everything on the island has been built to withstand hurricanes.

There are more photos posted on the flickr site. The link is over there on the right side of the page.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

I'm in Bermuda now. The flight was long and uncomfortable but Christine was with me until New York (where she went to visit her family) so it was fine. I kind of wanted the flight to be longer. The real bummer of the flight was that my luggage didn't show up in Bermuda when I did. It did get here the next day and I've got everything now so I can't complain too much.

The research station here is very nice. It's like a resort compared to what I'm used to. There are hard wood floors and nice wood trim everywhere. The food is cafeteria style but it's pretty good so far. My room is small but, happily, I don't have any roommates. I even have a fire escape / balcony with an ocean view.

Most exciting of all, we all went snorkling today and I got to see some carribean reef squid. These are the critters I'll be studying here and this is the first time I've ever seen them live and in person. They don't seem to mind being watched either. They just sort of hover over the bottom and look at you. Of course, I wanted to see them change colors and freak out so I chased one a bit and made it ink. It was pretty cool. He did that whole turn white with false eye spot thing that they like to do.

I haven't taken any pictures yet. I'm going to have to get on that.

Monday, August 28, 2006

I made it back to Santa Cruz and normality (or at least as close to normality as I get). I leave for Bermuda on September 5th. I'll start again with the pictures and writing then.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

I logged my 600th dive on my computer today. Unfortunately, my computer seems to be giving up the ghost though. It eats brand new batteries in about three or four days. They're supposed to last for two years. I'm going to have to send it off to the manufacturer when I get home and I have no idea how long it will take for me to get it back. Oh well, at least I have this photo to prove that I logged 600 dives on it.

I was out of the water for a couple of days with a sore neck but that's pretty much cleared up now. We went back to finish up our site on the east side of the island today and we got 7 more fish. We've only dove this one site on that side of the island and there are clownfish all over the place. I wonder if there are other sites on that side that have just as many. We're going back over there tomorrow to have a look around. The anemones seem to like places with a lot of current and, since that site gets so much current, I expect that other sites nearby will too.

I'll fly out of Moorea on Tuesday night around 5 or 6. Then I have to sit around in the airport in Tahiti until after 2am to get on my flight. That's going to kind of suck.

Oops, we're going to eat dinner now and I'm hungry. Bye bye.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Mr. Sea Turtle was the most exciting thing we saw today. We saw quite a bit of him actually. We did two dives in pretty much the same spot. We were told that there was an anemone with two clownfish on it in excatly 10 meters of water at a particular location. On the first dive, I anchored a little west of the spot and we swam along the 9 meter contour. I figures we'd be sure to see it if we just maintained the correct depth and swam in the right direction.

While we were swimming east, I saw the turtle mucking around in the coral apparently eating something. I snapped a couple of quick pictures and we kept going because we had some fish to catch. We swam a long way and didn't see any anemones, so we turned around and went in a little shallower. We saw the turtle again in the same spot on the way back. We went back to the boat without finding the anemone.

We were determined to find the damn fish so we did a second dive in the same place. This time we lined up on a buoy that we were told was near the anemone and swam down the reef slope in that direction. We got to about fifty feet and saw that the reef dropped steeply down to ninety or so feet. I was about to give up and just start taking pictures when Todd finally saw the anemone. 10 meters is 33 feet (that's where the thing was supposed to be). We found in 46 feet of water. Sure that's only 13 feet worth of depth difference but, because of the shape of the slope, that meant that the anemone was several hundred feet from the 10 meter contour line. I'm completely amazed that we ever find these things when we don't have a GPS point but, somehow, we do.

Sure enough, there were two clownfish on the anemone and they went down like bitches. Straight into the net with no problem. I love it when they cooerate like that. We were left with at least half of our air still so I decided to bust out the camera. I got some pictures and video of the clowns and then we went back to visit the turtle. It was still in the same place and it was still eating. The turtle didn't seem to care about me at all. He let me get right up next to him while he was eating and take a bunch of pictures and video. He was smashing up the coral head and eating something off of the coral. I couldn't tell what it was that he was eating though. Maybe algae that was growing on the coral? It was kind of crazy. He was really doing a number on the coral and had smashed a groove through the middle of the coral head. I had no idea that turtles were so destructive. Doesn't he know that those corals can take hundreds of years to grow to that size? Damned irresponsible turtles.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

At Criobe, this is how we roll.

We faced some challenges this morning. We were supposed to take this boat down to the water with the homemade trailer that it lives on. Unfortunately, the rusty wheel broke after we towed it about ten feet. This was the solution that we came up with. The outboard motor is in the back of the truck. We put it back on the boat after we got it in the water. The whole experience had a bit of a third world flavor too it but we managed to get out on the water and get to the dive site we wanted to get to. We even caught the two clown fish we were after.

We dove on the outside of the reef on the north side of the island. It was really pretty and it was much different than the inside of the lagoon. The coral seems to be a lot more diverse and there are a lot more fish. The fish seem to be a lot bigger as well. One of the most conspicuous differences was the sharks. There were lots of black tip reef sharks. A group of four or five of them followed us for most of the dive and circled us while we were netting the clownfish. Apparently there's a tourist diving operation in the area of that dive site that has shark feeding shows. We were speculating that the feeding must not have happened today (because it was kind of windy and they might not have wanted to go out). The sharks kind of seemed like they might be hanging around because they thought we'd feed them.

On the other hand, I've also been followed by this kind of shark on Midway island where there's no tourism at all, let alone shark feeding. Maybe they just like me. These sharks very rarely cause any problems for divers and I never felt threatened by them. I was glad to see them. I got a couple of halfway decent pictures and a bunch of short crappy digital videos of them. I think we're supposed to go outside again tomorrow. I'd really like to see a lemon shark before I go. Maybe we'll get one of those tomorrow. No tiger sharks though please.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

I found a new favorite dive site today. It may actually be my favorite dive site ever. It's much nicer than the site on the east side of the island that I've been talking about. This site is on the west side of the island near a chanel through the barrier reef. It's a wall that's around 50 feet or so high. The water was very clear and there were fish everywhere. The coral formations were very cool with lots of little tunnels everywhere. It was kind of a shame that we were on a mission to find clownfish. I really wanted to just go slowly and really look at things. There were a lot of anemones but surprisingly, we only found two clownfish. We caught them and clipped them fairly easily though so I still had a bit of time to use the camera but the photos don't really do the place justice. We were kind of expecting to see a shark or two out there but we didn't. There was an eagle ray but I couldn't get close enough to get a good photo. The photos that came out alright are in the usual place.

There was another party at Gump yesterday so Marina, Jeremie, Donatien and I all went over there. It was actually at the director of the station's house up the hill from Gump. It was a really nice place with hardly any mosquitos. A good time was had by all. I met a guy named Sea who's working on invertebrate collections for the Moorea biocode project and I got to talk about cephalopods for a while. That, of course, made me happy. I'm going go over to Gump, possibly tomorrow, and see the photos they've gotten of a cute little pigmy octopus that they've found here. I think I may also work on setting up a light trap. That's a gizmo that you put out at night that attracts and traps all sorts of planktonic larvae including tiny little baby octopuses.

It's really really late right now so I'm going to stop now. We won't be diving tomorrow. One of the boats has broken so ours is going to be borrowed for another project. Todd will be here in the morning so at least it will be an entertaining day.

Friday, August 04, 2006

I'm feeling much better now. We went diving yesterday out on the west side of the island but there wasn't much to report. Visibility was only about 20 feet or so because there seemed to be a lot of run off in the area. We found some anemones but only one clown and that one disappeared shortly after I spotted it so we didn't get any fish.

Today we went back to our site on the east side of the island and it was very nice. The current wasn't quite as bad as it had been and we were able to catch the two fish that had been giving us a really hard time and two more as well. Since there were three of us (me, Jeremie, and Marina), I was able to get some pictures of the catching and clipping process.

This is the fish that took forever to catch. All together, we probably spent three hours (over several days) chasing this little bastard around all over the reef. We finally put out the big net and managed to corral him (coral... corral? I'm sure there's a bad pun there somewhere). Anyway, the first step of the process is to find the fish (sometimes an adventure by itself) and get it in the net.

The next thing we do is to measure the fish and write the measurement on the data sheet. The really big ones have to be measured a little differently. We measure from the mouth to the second blue bar and add that to the measurement from the blue bar to the caudal fin. The biggest we've found was over 17cm. The largest reported specimen before that was 15cm. I have personally seen the world's largest (reported) clown fish. Hurray for me. I also put a small car in a large ditch.

After we measure the critter, we clip a small portion of the caudal fin off. They don't seem to like this a whole lot but they swim just fine afterward. The fin grows back. I've seen fish that have been clipped a couple of weeks ago and they're just fine. You can even see where the fin is starting to grow back.In this picture, you can see the net we use to make a corral in the coral. You can also see that Marina has teeny tiny little eyes like some sort of cave dwelling creature. O-kay, that's a lie. She actually just has a perscription mask that makes her look really funny underwater.

Jeremie is holding the little plastic vial that has the fin clipping in it. That little fin clipping will get preserved and sent back to Santa Cruz with Marina where the DNA will be sequenced. After that, all manner of fancy biogeographical stuff will happen and we'll learn about paterns of dispersal for reef fish, and papers will be written, awards will be won, and the grant money will flow like caffine free soda at a mormon wedding.

It's late now so I'm going to bed. Bye bye.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Not too much to report today. Yesterday was more diving in strong current with super genius clownfish who refuse to be caught. We got four but that was it. Marina had just shown up so she went out there with us be didn't dive.

Today, I felt like crap so Jeremie and Marina went back to the same spot again and caught one. I think we're giving up on a few of those fish. There's two of them out there that we've spent at least an hour a piece trying to catch. I slept most of day sleeping. I think there may be live animals eating my intestines. Badgers perhaps? I am starting to feel a little better though.

Monday, July 31, 2006

There was some current today. It was kind of like diving in a river. We went to a dive site on the east side of the island. It was probably the prettiest site I've been to so far but it was kind of difficult. We trailered the boat over there and found that the wind was blowing pretty good. The lagoon was really choppy so it was a bumpy ride from the marina out to the site and we had a hell of a time getting the defective anchor to set in the sand.

There were quite a few fish at this site though. The first thing I noticed was dozens of large porcupine fish hovering over the coral. They were all facing the same direction and swimming into the current to hold their position. I didn't get to look at them long though becuase the next thing I noticed was that there were dozens of very large anemones in a deep channel with a coral wall on one side and a sandy slope on the other. We only caught four clown fish in two dives despite the fact that there had to be at least ten within the small area we saw. The current made it very difficult. We couldn't set anything on the bottom without wedging it into a crevice because the current would sweep it away. We had to swim hard to hold our position while trying to net the fish. It was kind of a pain but it was a great site and we took few minutes off from chasing clowns to take some photos. I also made some video clips with my camera but they're far too big to post here and I think I'm too lazy to figure out how to reduce the file size.

Anyway, I'm tired and I'm being attacked by mosquitos. Good night.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Nothing terribly exciting happened today. The wind was blowing 15 or 20 knots but we managed to get out and clip the last remaining nemo at the site we've been working on. We were really careful with our anchor. I got a bunch of pretty good photos. So you should go and check them out.

Also, you should post comments here (or on flickr). I know people have been looking at this crap because they've been emailing me but, for some reason, I want to see comments. I've set it up now so you shouldn't have to sign up for anything to do it. It's not that hard and it makes a poor lonely fish mutilator happy.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Here's a photo that I was too embarrassed to post yesterday. The car is fixed now so I'm willing to put it up.

I may be flammable right now because I just soaked myself in gasoline while repairing the damaged fuel line on the car. It's a bit of a hokey repair but I think that's o-kay, it matches the rest of the car. Anyway, it will work. I feel better now that I've cleaned up my mess. The parts cost me a whole 300 francs but don't worry, that's only about 3 dollars.

This morning I went out diving with someone from the Gump station. We caught and clipped seven fish. It was a bit of a challenge today because the wind was blowing really hard. It made dealing with the boat difficult. On the way over to Gump, I have to navigate some very narrow channels through the coral. It was choppy and the wind kept trying to blow me off course and out of the channel.

When we finally found our dive site we threw the anchor in and got in the water. It was then that I noticed the anchor dragging so I had to get back in the boat and let out more anchor line. It also doesn't help that the anchor is broken and won't hold in the sand the way it's supposed to. Russ, the head guy at Gump happened to be out there too and noticed that the anchor had slipped so he wrapped out anchor chain around a rock. That's a bit embarrassing but I'm still not sure if our boat slipped more after I let out more scope or if he just saw the sand tracks where the anchor had slipped before.

While we were catching the clowns, Chris pointed out two really cool leaf fishes and a four foot barracuda that was swimming by. Both of those were really cool and made me wish I'd brought my camera but I didn't. We did get a picture of the leaf fish with a Gump person's camera but the barracuda wasn't photographed. He swam by very slowly about ten feet away from us and turned to do a half circle around us. He was checking us out but, as I understand it, it's very rare for them to do anything more than look at people.

When we surfaced (after another 90 minute dive), we found one of the guys from Gump sitting in our boat. That was a bit of a surprise. It turned out that he'd tied his kayak off to a coral head and gone snorkeling. The rope slipped off while he was snorkeling and he returned to find that his kayak had buggered off. He had been waiting in our boat for about 30 minutes by the time we showed up. We set off down wind to look for the kayak and found it a mile or two away being towed upwind by another boat. If we'd been a minute later, we would have missed them and someone would have had a free kayak (unless they were on their way to Gump to return it - they only spoke french so we could really tell). They were very nice though and happily gave he kayak back to us. The guy that lost the kayak was very relieved and I was happy that something bad that happened had happened to someone other than me.

Now I'm going to eat some dinner and head over to Gump. There's some sort of party thing going on. I tried to get some people from Criobe to go with me (you know, in the spirit of scientific collaboration and whatnot) but they don't want to go. Oh well, what can you do.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Originally uploaded by Cephalodork.
Today started out okay. This morning, Caroline and I went out to the site that I had been shown yesterday. The fish gave us some trouble. We were down for almost 90 minutes (at ten feet) and only clipped three fish. Nearly an hour of that was spent on one fish that refused to be caught. Caroline had to be back at the lab by noon so that's all we were able to do.

Then I drove over to Gump for the second half of the coral class. That was really interesting but I had a hard time absorbing everything. He was talking about differences among various genera and species while I'm still confused about how to sort out the various orders. Oh well, I took notes that I can look at and being exposed to all that information even if overwhelming, will help later on when I go back to study that stuff more.

So I left Gump feeling like a fairly intelligent person that sits around and learns stuff from brilliant professors at a biological research station. Then I got back to Criobe and cleanly disproved my delusions of adequacy. I put the frickin' car in a ditch. I was preparing to back the thing into the garage and completely forgot there was a ditch right next to the garage. Fortunately, I wasn't going very fast and put the car into the ditch fairly gently. I had to get help to get it out. We had to use the truck. The fuel line was damaged but that was about it. ...actually one other thing was damaged; my pride. Actually that was totalled. I feel like a complete ass. The only thing that cheered me up was when Donatien told me that another American put the truck in a ditch about a week before I got here. Maybe it's a flaw in my national character.

I'm sure I'll get over it at some point but I expect to spend at least a couple of days feeling totally incompetent. Oh well... adventure.
I think I may have sounded like a bit of a Complainy Complainerson in my last entry. I'd just like to state one more time for the record (such as it is) that I'm quite happy to be here. If there weren't a few rough edges, like millipedes in my shower, then this wouldn't be an adventure. It would just be a vacation and vacations are for lame people (otherwise known as people who have more money than I do and also known as people who I might be a bit jealous of and therefore inclined to call lame). So anyway, let there be no mistake. I'm happy god damn it!

There was no diving today for me, only some snorkeling. Jeremie has come down with an ear infection so he went off to the doctor this morning while I went over to the Gump station (UC Berkeley's research station). Russ and Sally (the head honchos over there) went out in the boat with me to show me where there are some more clown fish. Sally and I snorkelled so she could show me exactly where they were and we marked the positions with the GPS so we could find them easily when we come back to sample them. When we were done with that I headed back home to Criobe (that's the french research station I'm staying at in case you haven't been following allong).

In the afternoon I realized that I'd left my hood at Gump (like the genius that I am) and, since I had nothing to do at Criobe anyway, rode a bike over there to get it. As it turned out, I was just in time for a talk about corals given by Dr. Gustav Pauley from the university of Florida. That was great since I know next to nothing about corals and yet I'm around them all the time here. I learned a lot and hope to go back tomorrow afternoon for the second part of the course.

I'll be diving tomorrow with someone else from Criobe since Jeremie has to stay out of the water for a few days. We're going to go to the spot that I was shown this morning and see if we can catch and clip the 13 clown fish that are out there. Once again, I plan to take the camera tomorrow so, hopefully, there will be pictures.

I borrowed the movies Anchorman and The Forty Year Old Virgin from someone at Gump so I think I'll go introduce Criobe to some of the finer aspects of American culture now.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Today did not rank particularly high on my scale of favorite days on this island. The day started with helping to clean out an attic with five other people. I'm glad to help but it's very confusing when all five of those people are speaking a language you can't understand. I was given occasional instructions in english but I spent a great deal of time stand there being confused.

Actually, "standing there" would have been a vast improvement. Actually I was hunched over the whole time because the highest point of the ceiling was about 5'5" above the floor. The fact that it was hot as the devil's balls up there and twice as humid didn't help the situation either.

We then drove the car to a distant dive site to look for clown fish. After being attacked by mosquitos we got in the water and discovered two things. First there were urchins all over the place. These urchins were the kind with really long sharp spines too. The second thing we discovered was that the current was running really hard. It was very difficult to make any headway against it. It was also very shallow (okay, so I guess that's three things). At any rate, it made for some rather difficult snorkeling (we left our tanks on the bottom while we scouted the area for clownfish). I was swimming around in less than three feet of water between coral heads with sharp spines sticking out of every possible place and not finding any clownfish at all. We ended up finding several anenomes but none of the fish we were after. On the upside, the water was very clear and there were a ton of other types of fish.

After we gave up and got out of the water, I got the opportunity to witness an authentic drunken polynesian fist fight when some drinking on the beach went bad. That was entertaining. Oh yeah... on the way out to the dive site we were almost killed in the car. Someone coming the opposite direction was making a pass around a blind corner. Rather than hitting the brakes and getting back behind the car they were passing, they just kept coming. Jeremie locked up the brakes in our truck and we narrowly avoided the car.

O-kay, I'm done complaining now. Tomorrow we'll be trying to do some more diving. Apparently there's a south swell that may interfere with our plans to go to the south side of the island but I think we'll find somewhere to get in the water. No pictures today. Sorry.

Chud and the rest of the internet will be pleased to know that my gastric difficulties seem to have been resolved and we were able to make the trip to Papeete after all (I did bring an extra pair of shorts just in case). Papeete is hot and comparatively crowded after coming from Moorea. It actually kind of reminded me of a cross between Santa Cruz and Tijuana. The really odd thing was that there were a whole bunch of stores selling American brands of surf clothing. There was a giant o'niell store for instance. It was a bit dissapointing in that respect. I want exotic Tahitian crap, not the same crap I can get at home. There was some exotic Tahitian crap as well and we purchased some of it. I was also able to get the battery I needed for my dive computer which is good because it's unpleasant to go diving when you have no idea how deep you are or how long you've been there.

Someone approached me on the ferry ride back to moorea and tried to sell me pot. In a strange way, I was sort of happy that I apparently look someone who'd like to by pot from a stranger on a ferry. I guess I sometimes worry that I've become too respectable or something.

Tomorrow we'll be back in the water for at least one dive. Hopefully, we will mutilate some more clownfish and I'll get to take some more pictures underwater.

Monday, July 24, 2006

There was no diving today. We had planned to go to the outer reef but it was very windy. That means it would be very choppy out there and our little boat has no built in floatation. In other words, if it fills with water it sinks. The lovely thing is that the scuppers are plugged with tennis balls. If we fail to notice when those come out, as they sometimes do, the boat stands a pretty good chance of sinking. That's o-kay though. It's adventure.

So today we went to fill our drinking water supply from the supposedly pure spring up in the hills. Actually, it's a faucet by the side of the road but it alegedly comes from a spring. I'm a little suspicious of the whole thing because despite being careful to avoid drinking tap water, I've started to have some... uh... gastric discomfort. I just thought I should announce that to the internet.

After filling the water jugs we went up to an overlook area where you can see both of the island's bays. I took some pictures. If you've been paying attention to previous entries, you'll know where you can see them. In the afternoon I went on a long ride on a small bike. It was uncomfortable but worthwhile.

I think I'm sick of typing right now.

PS - I think this thing is set up so that you don't have to sign up to leave a comment so go ahead and tell me something.

...Alright. I was just about to stop typing but an epic battle between mammals and arthropods just happened on the lawn outside. We have crabs here. We have freaky crabs that live in holes in the ground and get pretty big. During the day they scuttle around in their little crab holes but they come out at night. The dog and cat confronted a crab out on the lawn and I went to take some pictures. Here's my favorite:

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Today we left the research station at about 9 am and didn't get back until about 6 pm. We went to an area on the north east part of the island and we caught and clipped 16 clown fish. The previous record for this project was nine in one day. I was too busy to take the camera underwater today so there are no new underwater pictures. There are a few above water pictures though. They can be found in the usual place. It's a bit of a pain to post the pictures here so, unless I'm feeling really motivated, I'll probably just make you go there if you want to see pictures.

Good night.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I went to the store today to by food. Then I learned how to say, "we went to the store" in french. I'm not sure anyone will actually understand what I said if I say it to them but I learned... sort of. Aside from that, I just went diving and looked confused while everyone around me spoke french. I took some decent pictures today. As usual, photos can be found here. I'm too lazy to post all of them here so I'll just put up one that I think is kind of funny.

Is anyone actually reading this?
It's evening here now and I just saw a big ass spider. It was about five inches across. I'm usually not too bothered by that type of thing but this one was kind of creepy because it moved really really fast. It hauled ass down a wall and across the walkway in front of me. Moorea has no shortage of freaky looking insects.

Today we caught and mutilated two clown fish. We also got a chance to swim around with our cameras. Unfortunately, mine wasn't behaving itself. I took several pictures that were not retained and more or less gave up using it today. It seems to be working fine now so hopefully tomorrow will work out better photo wise. Jeremy, the french grad student I'm diving with (that's him diving in the photo below), had better camera luck. He got the nice picture of the clown fish below and a bunch of other good shots.

There are probably all sorts of things I could think of to type right now but I'm being attacked by mosquitos. I'm going to stop typing now.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

I arrived in Tahiti just before sunrise and dragged my confused and groggy self over to the little air taxi that goes to moorea. It was kind of scary. There was no door between me and the cockpit. There was only one pilot. The ride was bumpy. I kind of liked it.

As soon as I got to the research station, it was time to go diving. I barely had time to put my luggage in my room. Then we launched the boat and went out to do two dives. Each dive was about an hour. It was lovely. We saw a black tip reef shark and a couple of turtles on the first dive but we couldn't find any clown fish. On the second dive we found lots and we cut little chunks out of their tail fins. Actually, I just watched this time. Tomorrow, I will do some cutting and catching.

After the diving we went and visited the UC Berkeley Gump station down the road. The rumors I had heard were true. Gump is pretty nice and Criobe is a bit of a dump. On the up side, rules are pretty lax here and I get a room all to myself. I'm quite happy to be here so please don't take my statement about this place being a dump as complaining. It's just a fact. It's a topical paradise kind of dump so it's o-kay.

Here's the view from Gump station:

I'm really tired right now and I've got to dive in the morning. I think the text formatting is going to be a little off here but I don't care right now.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

I'm on my way. Actually I'm sitting in the LAX international terminal right now on four hour layover. It's a bit booooring. I'm using my brand new laptop. My old hand-me-down one took a crap yesterday so I rushed out and bought a new one. Yippy. Since there's no exciting pictures of tropical paradise to post yet, here are a couple of pictures from diving at Point Lobos last Thursday:
Here is a link
to more of my photos than you're likely to want to see. I'll post more crap here at some point. When depends on how easily I can get internet access in Moorea.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I was supposed to be in Moorea already. That's an island in French Polynesia. I am being sent there to help get tissue samples from clown fish. It sounds like great fun. We scuba dive, find the cute little fish living on their anemone friends, abduct them, cut a piece of their tail fin off, and let them go.

I was scheduled to spend 38 days out there but, at the last minute, discovered that the French require that I get a visa to be out there for over 30 days. I scurried around to get my paperwork together and get my butt up to the French consulate before my scheduled departure date (last sunday). I didn't work out though. They turned down my visa application (that's a long and rather boring story so I'll skip it). Now I have changed my departure date to July 16th so that I will be there for 30 days.

So assuming that I get out there and that I have internet access, I will post more crap next week.

Is this thing on? This entry is merely a test.

Here's a picture... maybe: