Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Oh Andros

I found a photo of South Andros that I took from air, en route to Cuba.

We were meant to make a short trip down there but time wasn't on our side.

I miss Andros.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Something I found on my phone...

Hi everyone!

My last post was a bit bad of me, everyone was very very tired and the work had to be done! On the whole I am very lucky to be doing to stuff I did in the Bahamas for which I am very grateful, to show it wasnt all bad, we had some fun in a supermarket in Nassau more leaving for Andros: "Didi for scale" became a catchphase of the trip!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The home stretch

So we enter the final week of the BAP trip, 7 weeks flew by so quickly, still much to do.

I have completed my data collection and I am now a full time slave for KT and now, for the first time, Mike as well.

To give further cred to his hydrological model,the BAP team have just finished a day-long, tidal logging excerise= slowly (very very slowly) lowering an expensive CTD logger (conductivity, temperature and depth) down boreholes across the island  in a rough East - West cross section. The logger does all the data collection automatically every 5 seconds and produces excellent plots of conductivity with depth. This was done every hour, for a whole day!

Needless to say it was hot, hot work in the midday sun.

Next for me is endless lab work. Joy.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Diving at Conch Sound

Video stills from our last dive at Conch Sound - when we were installing the Levelogger by a Blue Hole to monitor the tidal sequence over a span of three weeks.

Video which was used is a GoPro.

Testing the video

Prepping for shore dive entry


Taken by George from the surface.

Attaching the logger to a boat wreck.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Helios Lake (Part 2)

Beautiful sunrise welcomed us through the window panes (I was still sound asleep, of course), and we had to head out early!

Low-lying mist across the mangroves across the creek.
Fiona and I rushingly packed for an overnight stay at the Blue Hole for twenty-four hours sampling and profiling (or rather, be mosquitoes' dinner, supper and breakfast!).

At Helios, and from afar you can see large and grey low-lying clouds, with roaring thunders in a distance.  From the anomalous wind direction, the storm was definitely headed to our direction.

And it did - the strong winds were vicious. Meanwhile, work has got to go on nevertheless despite the T-storm. Gran titration, YSI Profiling and sampling w depth. It was a risk swimming because of lightning within proximity, but I was still happy to get in the water to resume working - Lowering secchi disk (for turbidity measurement) and adjusting depth of sampling.

Thank god for Mike and George for setting up the tent for our 'work station'.


*sings Raindrop Keep Falling On My Head*

Gran Titrating in our tent-turned-outdoor-lab

The weird pink suspended layer whose
depth fluctuates at about 4-6m

The only hint of civilisation in the area.

When T-storm stopped - George went back out to
survey the remaining Banana Holes

By 6pm, the rest of the team left to continue lab work at the houseboat - leaving Fiona and I for our 24-hour duty - which means sampling the water every six hours and YSI profiling every hour. 

We had leftover from last night for dinner, continued profiling. I attempted to have an hour's sleep but my poison wood allergy reacted again and this was the day before I went to the hospital to get it checked.

And did I mention how we had the most bug-infested day ever - as soon as the horseflies decided to take a break and the mosquitoes quickly take over. Just imagine hundreds of them trying to drain your blood dry! =s

Sunset at 7:30pm which Fiona took on my behalf when I was in the Blue Hole.

The moonlight at 3am 
Fiona having 'Fiona-time' with
pen and paper and thinking-alouds
under a mosquito net.
Lowering a YSI Profiler down the lake takes about
half an hour
Keeping warm under the tarp.

Stayed awake until 9am!

[ be cont'd]

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Looks like we are not in Kansas anymore

On Monday, Mike, Didi and myself headed down to the farming community on North Andros.  This is an area of the island south of the wellfield and has a surprising number of small farms.  There are two distinct groups of farmers: the Bahamians and the Mennonites.

The Bahamian farmers have settled in an area called the BARC, Bahamas Agriculture Research Centre which started in the 1970s when an area of pine forest was cleared for farming.  There are about 16-20 farmers in this area  (with the farms being between 40 and 80 acres) and most have been established and worked the land since the BARC started.  Its a wonderful small community with its own church and other amenities.  The main crops it seems are fruits (lots of limes) and root vegetates and corn. There are probably more but I am not so good at identifying crops I have to say!

Everyone we talked to was very welcoming and let us sample their wells next to the homes but as it was quite damp outside they were less keen to show us the wells they use for their crops.  We were told on a number of occasions that the water in the BARC is the best on the island and that people stop by to buy a few gallons of water from them sometimes.

The Mennonite settlers have only one large farm which is north of the BARC.  This farm is quite different from the other farms and a sight to behold.  It was like being in middle America, with cows and everything!


Exactly how I felt about the stench!
We went to sample from the farms boreholes which they use to water the crops with and we noted that we were not the only creature interested in these holes, it seems like the cows and the horse also have been making use of these lovely holes.  That was a treat for all three of us to pump, what a way to round off a lovely day.

And then there were T-storms everywhere...

The internet has been very sporadic over the past few days due to t-storms (thunderstorms) both off shore and on land.  This has cause great excitement (the rain not the lack of internet) in the camp.  Please expect some out of order posts in the coming days if the storms sub-side.  On Tuesday I woke up to what I thought was the sound of other BAPers snoring but was in fact a rather large rainstorm.  I jumped into action and threw a pillow at Didi to awaken her from her peaceful rest so that we could grab all the bottles we could find and race down to the wellfield.  We grabbed our breakfast and every bottle in sight and raced to the wellfield.

*sings 'Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head'*

Attempting to fix our only Sharpie
The rain had stopped when we arrived but this allowed us to go and collect the stem (water that runs down the tree trunks) and throughflow (water that interacts with the tree canopies) samples from various locations and to sample from two boreholes that would be affected by the rain. Then to my delight (and less of poor sleep-deprived Didi) it started to rain again.  This allowed us to collect more stem and throughflow and to pump the boreholes again to see if the rain had reached the water table yet.  In four hours of running about we managed to collect 25 samples- pretty good going and that was only the morning!

Today, whilst Didi and I were slaving away in the lab, the boys were out geologising in the wellfield when another rain storm hit.  Mike did me proud and prized the geologist out of the dry car and got them to collect rain at different points in the storm as it passed over head.  They managed to collect 2.5 US gallons in about 4 minutes- now that is some heavy rain!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Helios Lake (Part 1)

Where we were last weekend. Arrow pointing to Helios Blue Hole.
(Modified from Google Earth - Click to enlarge)
Last weekend at Fresh Creek was one of the most hectic, but also one of the most exciting i have ever had I have to say! While I try to keep this short and concise, I might have to do this P-log (Picture blog) in parts. Apologies for the late update.

Oh by the way - Do you know that packing 7 people and 3 days worth of supplies & research equipment on a pick-up truck is actually possible?

Okay to be honest we had to make two trips down because the diving gear itself was taking up the whole truck.
We still transported 7 people at one go though.

We drove for nearly two hours down South (thanks to my cat-napping skills I could sleep the whole way - through potholes, bumps and whatnots), settled in the Houseboat and set off on Tommy's boat for half an hour to a little blue hole West of Fresh Creek.

We brought our equipment over from where the boat left us, through a very sharp unstable terrain of very weathered limestone to the blue hole.

There are some very large dissolution features where marine life i.e. small fishes can thrive - called Banana Holes.

Limestone's sissolution feature.

1m deep Banana Hole

And a big Banana Hole next to the Blue Hole where it seems like it's connected
 as evident by large fishes spotted in it.

George and Mike set off to characterise the Banana Holes that seem to be located in a hundreds of metres length of fracture zone, while the rest are left to set up the sampling equipment, profiling machines (YSI, Mantra), soil suction samplers to begin working on characterising the lake.

Why the lake is of importance is because when Fiona, Alex and KT came to profile here, they noted a visibly sulphurous layer of pink (!!). Which is why they decided to come back and sample it and dive through.

The local told us no one has dived there before (excited!).

I couldn't help myself but get into the lake, and the first task was to lower weights tied to the end of a measuring tape and find (roughly) the deepest point to maximise sampling points with depth.

I know, I look ridiculous in that colourful float. 
But reeling measuring tape with weights repeatedly while staying afloat all the time is not ideal.

Fiona and George checking salinity along the transect from the Creek to the Blue Hole.

Then after we finished our work, went back home and watched the sunset for a bit before our late dinner.

Beautiful, indeed.

Day 1 down.

Look forward for the next part :)

Quick update

I am being banned from Borehole 91, renamed the P-Dubz central.