Monday, June 30, 2008

A word to the wise....

If you're new to Blogging and are just starting a blog, fill in the little thing at the bottom that says labels to start with. Doing it once you've already been blogging for six months and having to go back and relabel posts is really tedious. Not that it isn't a good time filler while waiting in Dallas airport, but it to start with.....:0)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

On the plane....

Leg one - Honolulu to Dallas.......always seems like the super long
one too......

Saturday, June 28, 2008

My day and the days to come

Today - What a fabulous day all around. This morning was an early one, up at 5.30am to do some things before heading out, going to Jenny and Dougs at 7.30am for a yummy FREE breakfast of mangoes, lychees and apple bananas. Out at 8.30am and drive over to Kailua and we picked up a one man (or woman I should say as it was woman size!) and a double outrigger canoe. If you've never seen these they have an arm (ama) and are really thin and long, but also really light (fiberglass). They are also really expensive so nowhere rents them, this was a store that has "trial" canoes and also know Doug who does a lot of the races here. We had a fabulous time, it was so much fun. Despite turning over 3 times in 30 minutes, in the end I got the hang of it and absolutely loved it. The good bit was that I got to try the double too and that was a lot of fun. Of course now i'm in love with a $3K canoe (they hold their price so even 2nd hand are ~$2800) really was soooooo much fun......and a good dose of well needed exercise.....

In other good things today, I finally booked flights to Italy, and the best bit, Stian is going to come along too. Yay! Things are always more fun when he's around. I have around 3 days of work, and in total we have 11 days there, so i'm sure we'll find some trouble to get up to in Italiano....:0) I also accumulated all my piles into one large pile in my living room today too. I hoped to pack tonight, but I don't have enough energy. So congrats on all who said sunday, because it's going to be true, pack the morning before I leave.....typical huh.....:0)

Tomorrow - Tomorrow I head out, starting off to Dallas, then through to Santiago and on to Punta Arenas. I'll get there on tuesday. Ug. 

The days after - So the cruise doesn't leave until the 10th, but i'm going down early to spend a little time with Stian before the next cruise. I think in total he gets 3 days off, which will be fabulous. It'll be so nice to spend some time with him without being on a boat, which is the only way i've seen him so far this year, and it's now practically July. Sigh. On the good side though he's coming to Italy...:0)

So this cruise is another PIs cruise and will go to the Western Antarctic Peninsula. In fact we'll go to exactly the same places as the cruise in february, just taking a look at what's going on during the winter, which will be pretty neat. What do those corals get up to when the surface is all iced up?? As a reproductive biologist of course I hope it's one big orgy under there.....:0)

Bathroom Update

Copper flashing in the shower pan. New plumbing, drain, framing of the shower, cement-board floor. It looks like it's going to be really nice. Plus when your sitting on the loo (bottom left hole), it's not going to be quite so cramped, which is also going to be nice. 

The other side of the small bathroom. There used to be a vanity here all along the right wall. I'm hoping they'll just replace it with another long vanity, I did like having a really long counter to store things on. New plumbing (black pipe) has been put in here. 

And on the ceiling. It looks like my giant globe light is being replaced by several smaller lights, which will be nice (though I shall miss the spaceship). I think they may even be putting one in the shower stall, which will be nice. it got to the point of peeing in the garden last night......I hope there's a toilet in there when I return from sea.....even better....a shower too! 

Friday, June 27, 2008

The lives of geckos

A third much smaller gecko came into Grodnick today, skinny, small and spotty. After a good screeching by TV gecko (as opposed to Bed gecko, after where they seem to live) he just went running to beneath the windowsill and out. Hmmm, there I was thinking he might be Bed and TVs baby. Guess he still could be they just didn't like that one very much. Now at least i've found one gecko hole i might try and plug one day....

Another long but semi-sucessful day. No I'm not packed, but I am piled. My Internet is out at home otherwise I would post some photos. No internet here is driving me crazy, im such a blog hog, how am i supposed to keep up! Going to have to start reading at work.

The bathroom has progressed, the plumbing is all done, the shower stall framed out and the floor has been totally redone in cementboard. I'm just wishing they had managed to get the toilet in........having to go outside, upstairs, unlock the really noisy front door, creep past Liz's bedroom to not wake her up, pee, creep back etc etc is getting a little tiring......but then again I guess if I got my arse in gear I should be leaving sunday.....

Hugs (even more)

Stian's mom has just been diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing a whole battery of pokes and prods to figure out what's going on. And we all know there is little more irritating than being poked and prodded for 2 weeks straight. As she's one of the sweetest people around, i'm asking all out there to send positive vibes over the Berkeley area, and i'm sure they'll catch up with her soon. Stian says he's doing okay, but it'll be good to see him in person in a few days. When I finally get around to packing rather than piling. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Another of my Hawaii traffic posts. Though I don't feel like i'm complaining needlessly. Last week a study of the nations worst traffic areas came out, overall Hawaii was 38th of 100 cites, yet if you are driving in Honolulu on a thursday between 5-6pm, apparently you experiencing the worst traffic in the states. Honolulu in fact has two of the 100 worst bottleneck areas in the country. Ish.

1- LA
2 - New York
3 - Chicago
4 - DC
5 - Dallas
6 - San Fran
7 - Houston
8 - Boston
9 - Seattle
10 - Atlanta

But on the good side - those higher gas prices might be working. This morning on the news - the Hawaii bus system (which apparently has the 4th highest usage in the nation and is GREAT) has 10,000 more riders than a year ago, the amount of gas bought in the last month has dropped and the EPA has just started a huge program to retrofit diesel vehicles to reduce emissions. People are trying to convince Mercedes to sell the Smart Car in Hawaii too when they hit the states later this year........this would be the perfect place for long as they came with surf board racks.....:0)

Pretty cool huh. 

Monday, June 23, 2008

Giligans Island and Bathroom Demo!

Well, the weekend was definitely over at 7am this morning when the builders came to demolish the bathroom (i'm getting a new bathroom - and the old one wasn't even that bad!). 7am. Unbelievable for anywhere, let alone Hawaii. But i'm so excited about getting a new toilet that -

A) works (the chain came off the bulb so for the last 2 weeks have had to stick my hand in the tank to flush), and 
B) uses way less water, it was a clunker

The pics show the bath really was leaking badly too, the floor is totaled. I wish i'd taken a before shot, I can't seem to find one anywhere, maybe it'll be on my computer at work, will look tomorrow. 

This is where the toilet and mini-tub/shower were....big hole and lots of rotten wood....

This is where there was a full row of cabinets and sink. A small bathroom but very functional for the space. I haven't seen the plans, but it apparently involves new shiny cabinets, glass shower enclosure and new toilet. Woo hoo! 

My other big thing today was a whole string of meetings out at Coconut Island. This is where the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology is - you have to actually catch a boat out there, and when you get there it's all these rustic building and wild chickens running around, then you open the doors to the most fabulous molecular facilities you have ever seen! My meetings went really well, I met some super nice enthusiastic people I would love to do some work with, so we're going to try and string something together - looking at climate affects on coral eggs, sperm and babies, should be pretty cool. Just need to stick round Hawaii long enough to do it..........

Coconut Island. This is where the opening scenes of Giligans Island were shot. No kidding. And there are wild chickens! Sorry for the crummy photos, i forgot my camera again so these are phone taken. There are also giant military planes that practice touchdowns on the island, so it can be pretty noisy. But pretty cool huh.....

The view from the dock to get out to the island looking back into Kane'ohe and the mountains. It was a cloudy day today. 

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Just got back from the beach, took the kayak out for a spin this evening, was nice. Caught a few waves, watched the sunset and paddled back in......thats a nice end to sunday.....:0)

Ready to go (again).....?

In short, no. I leave Sunday 29th, back to Punta Arenas and back to the Antarctic, the last cruise in a series of three, and probably the most interesting science wise (not many samples collected in the austral winter, so it'll be really interesting to see what those corals get up to under the ice). 

But, yet again, I feel like I just got back. I've felt a bit more settled this time around too - i've managed to do some work in my lab and in my office which has been great, i've reorganised my shoebox so that most things are now out of boxes and i've got out and done a little recreation (hiking, swimming, kayaking). It's starting to feel like home here now (finally). So it's a shame to be running away again so soon, as much as i'm looking forward to seeing Stian and to the cruise itself. 

It's not like I can look forward to a more restful time when I get back either, I have work trips to Italy (Aug), Canada (sept) and New Zealand (dec) to figure out, as well as the usual work things and i'm starting to feel the pressure of not being here so much - if this is really somewhere I want to stay, I  need to show my face at things like department meetings and just generally around the building, there are still many people I haven't met and I don't feel I really 'know' many people yet. 

Saturday, June 21, 2008


"It's a curious situation that the sea, from which life first arose, should now be threatened by one of those forms of life"

-Rachel Carson (1907-1964)

I was reminded of this quote today, thought I would share it. Rachel Carson was a biologist who worked for the US Fish and Wildlife service (after studying at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole and Johns Hopkins), and also wrote books as an ecological activist, teaching people about the wonders of nature, particularly the ocean. She wrote "The Sea Around Us" and "The Edge of the Sea" as well as the "Silent Spring" which warns of the use of pesticides, for which she was a vocal activist. I haven't read the sea around us, but I can highly recommend the Edge of the Sea and the Silent Spring. 

Today is "Pee on Earth" day

"Pee on Earth Day, a day to bring one's urine outside to nourish plants and save water used to flush toilets"

Well, if as long as it's not going on my veggies.........Liquid Gold Website..........then again I go on enough camping trips maybe i've already made my savings......:0)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Shallow 1 : Deep 1

I've decided that friday afternoons (2-6pm) is going to be my time each week to catch up with my paper compiling and reading. With the mayhem of moving and my different research avenue last year, I have fallen somewhat behind. So what am I doing blogging during this time, I hear you ask. 

Well, I was just reading some shallow water coral reproduction papers. There aren't many papers on deep-water coral reproduction, the modes are similar to shallow water, and it's always good to keep on top of what those shallow water folks are up to, so i've been downloading many and reading a few on the way. And I just got very excited - I have come across a shallow water coral reproduction paper that cites one of my deep-water papers in it. This is a miracle (by the way). 

You see, those shallow water coralites generally don't like us deep-water people, our methods are different, we don't have the amount of samples as they do (we can't really sample 1000m twice a week for a year like you can on shallow reefs), and I swear some of them don't consider azooxanthellates (without the photosynthetic algae that live in symbiosis with shallow species) to be corals at all. 

For example my first three papers I tried putting in the journal Coral Reefs, and boy did I have a fight on my hands each time, as did the editor to get reviewers who would even get past the fact they were deep-water papers (and to be fair, he was very pro me getting my papers in there). By definition those papers really belonged in that journal - I wanted my research to be read by coral researchers not just deep-sea folks (and it's a really good, well read, high impact journal), so I didn't give up and eventually they got accepted and published. I still remember my favourite review of all time that simply said "This paper is deep-water, it doesn't belong in Coral Reefs" and they didn't even bother to review it. Bah humbug. 

So finally maybe it's-  Shallow 1 : Deep 1

Photo from DASS05, URI, IFE, NOAA OE

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Hugs to NEA et al.

Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs,Hugs, Hugs

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The verdict - Ice Pops

I love these ice pop leaks and they really fill the nooks and crannies of my overstuffed freezer...........yummy berry smoothy flavour too...........mmmmmm

Gas prices...

Last night I saw an advert for GMC, and it's offering a 3 year fixed gas price of $2.99 for every SUV sold. Pretty amazing what they'll do isn't it. It's not that I agree gas prices should be high (I am a fan of low cost of driving), there has to be a cost for the environmental impact of cars out there, and this is one way to make people really think about whether they need to drive - but this post is more about wishing the US would see itself in more of a global context. 

Gas prices aren't high in the US, they're not at the bottom of the scale either, but they're closer  to the bottom than top by far...........just a couple of examples from countries with similar (and lower) wage levels than the US.........

UK (Devon) - $9.15 per gallon
France - $8.30 per gallon (april price)
Slovenia - $6.42 per gallon (april price)
Greece - $6.38 per gallon (april price)
Chile - $4.80 per gallon
Hawaii - $4.18 per gallon

It's not like the other countries here don't complain about gas prices, they most certainly do, but there isn't the national hysteria there seems to be in some places here. Every news round I see has to mention how bad gas prices are, and I appreciate that it makes a big impact to families and people on a budget, i'm just getting a little tired of hearing "how bad it is" 24/7, when it isn't 'that' bad at all...... 

Monday, June 16, 2008

A walk in the rain....

....quite literally. Decided to get a little exercise and air and go for a short walk, it absolutely poured it down mid way. It's warm rain, so not terrible, but it was a real soaking rain, just had to change! I've realised I feel really silly walking without a dog/child/friend too....I miss Riley, he was always up for a walk....:0(

I did get two parcels today when I came home though - one had a great moose picture in (thanks!) and the other had a drawing and CD of photos from Jack in. That made me smile big time. Thought i'd share two of them........I haven't seen Jack for nearly 2 years, he's grown so big, I love seeing the pix of him wearing some of the little parcels I send out (guess which), and the drawing is up on the fridge already! 

Hope to see you soon Jack, I miss you!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Froggy sex

Well, my little poison dart frogs are at it......I just went out to check on my lettuce (which I'll have you know is suffering because of TOO MUCH RAIN) and found half a dozen of the little fellas out on my back deck. So all the mosquitoes you can find little guys.....

So I went in to get my camera, and what do you know, when i returned they were doing it, right there on my back deck! So prepare for some x-rated poison dart frog action.....

Couldn't fit them all in one picture......i'm pretty sure there were more in the bushes too, waiting in the wings....

oo la la........i'm such a voyeur....

Post coitus froggy cuddle.......except he then chased her through the bushes for some more........

(ps....I realised i haven't said, each of these little guys is only 1.5-2inches long)

Happy Fathers Day!

To all fathers out there, but particularly....


And my little bro....

Saturday, June 14, 2008

I'm a sucker...

...for kitchen stores. It's ridiculous in fact, I can go into just about any other type of store and walk away without the slightest regret if I don't buy something. Kitchen stores however, just rock. I suddenly "need" all these gadgets and gizmos i've never heard of, but would make life so much more worth living. It's even worse when the store has all these cool eco items, that I just have to and consumerism, I hate it, but there is my downfall, kitchen stores.  
So I found a great kitchen store today, while doodling around after going to the Diamond Head farmers market. It was very large and very full of shiny things, and not absurdly priced like i'm used to out here. Yet I did resist fairly well, I came away with only ice pop molds and two cute cookie cutters (did I say I have a thing for cookie cutters too?). The former was on sale 50% off, and the others were only 90c each, so it was good, yet i've come away with my usual yearning for other shiny gadgets.........sigh......

Onto the ice-pop molds. I saw these a while ago while googling one day. I've been looking for some ice pop molds for sometime (i like ice pops and it's hotter than hell right now), yet my tiny freezer doesn't have a lot of space for the usual stand up ones (no space in fact). 

Viola Lekue silicone ice pop can store them in the freezer on their sides, upside-down, or even be novel and have them the right way up, and they won't leak. I have yet to test this as i've only just washed them, but will let you know. Perfect for left over smoothies, juices or (as in the instructions that came with them), frozen mojitos.....mmmmm, I like the way they think.....

Friday, June 13, 2008

More friends

Two more little friends to add to my ever expanding menagerie.....except these two are at least living outside (and please stay there....). 

They are "Green and Black Poison Dart frogs" apparently (good 'ole google....I must get a Hawaii animals book sometime) - "Dentrobates auratus - introduced to Manoa Valley to control mosquitos"........on second thoughts little froggies, come on in i've got plenty of mosquitos to share! 

.....oh and it says not to lick them.....:0)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Solar powered bible....

Nope, i'm not kidding. I've been looking for a solar powered  sensor light for my front door, and my google searches brought this up...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

"The more you avoid change, the more you hinder the process of growth in your life"

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

My brother Grant just sent me this for my birthday, it really made me laugh....

Monday, June 9, 2008

Am I where I thought I would be by 30?

No, not really. It's amazing how different life turns out to be from what you thought it might be like when your 20. I had all these "i want to do this by the time i'm 30" and none of them really panned out. I didn't even think a PhD was an option when I was 20 (to be honest it's never something I had EVER considered), now look where I am. I thought I would be in the backcountry somewhere as a primary school teacher with several kids under my arms and a house full of animals. Not that that doesn't appeal at all (it really does in fact), but I'm not taking what I have for granted either, it's been a ride, mostly fun but there's been more than a few downers along the way too. I thought my sister would be here, hanging out, probably loving Hawaii much more than I do. How quickly life can change, and how easily it moves from what you ever thought it might be.

The bad things over ten years can easily overwhelm the good, so I figured maybe I should reflect and look at the good things i've accomplished since turning 20 (things other than having root canal the day before I turned 30 and getting my first major wrinkle).

Things I've done since 1998 (in no real order)-
  1. Finished a BSc in Marine and Freshwater Biology
  2. Started and finished a PhD in deep-sea ecology
  3. Since 2000, i've been on 18 research cruises (I think, I lost count somewhere) to three different oceans (Atlantic, Pacific, Southern)
  4. Been a Principle Investigator on two cruises
  5. Watched some amazing sunrises, and sunsets, over many amazing places with many amazing people
  6. Been down to 3500m in the submersible Alvin, seen coral reefs at 1000m and hydrothermal vents at 3000m with my own eyes out the sub porthole
  7. Published twelve papers and a book chapter
  8. Moved my life from the UK to Woods Hole for 4 years, then moved again to Honolulu
  9. Been to - the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, Bermuda, Mexico, Canada, Antarctica and many of the US states that are so different some of them could be their own countries!
  10. Finally saw a moose after 12 independent trips to moose country to look for them!
  11. Became an aunt (yes I know I had LOTS to do with that one.....:0), a crazy aunt at that
  12. Stepped on the Antarctic continent
  13. Got a faculty job (in Hawaii of all places)
  14. Snorkeled at night with corals spawning all around me
  15. Ended a bad relationship, and started a good one
  16. I've gone from a $500 1962 landrover to a brand new car in ten years, but I still love my landrover more, as rusty and holey as she is now.......
  17. Had seven research proposals funded - four big ones (two with cruises)
  18. I've grown in confidence, and in carefreeness
  19. Knocked six parks off my life-time goal of visiting, camping and hiking in, all 58 National Parks in USA (Haleakala, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Acadia, Isle Royale)
  20. I have my own lab, thats just mine
  21. Hiked the Presidential Traverse (23.8 miles, 9050ft elevation gain, 11 peaks including Mt Washington) in 2 days on the second attempt. But i'm pleased with that....:0)
  22. Learnt to ski and snowboard, neither of which i'm any good at, but I have learnt I really love the snow, never saw very much of that before I was 20
  23. I've snorkeled with sealions, swum with penguins, seen orcas, humpbacks, baby blue whales and sperm whales, watched giant tortoises waddle and great albatross' fly, watched urchin eggs be fertilized and become babies - in short i've seen some pretty amazing natural sites, too numerous to list here and all I am grateful to have witnessed
  24. I've moved from sharing a house with 5 people i hated; into a tiny studio with pink walls and red trim in the middle of the Southampton red light district; into my pdoc advisors basement; into a huge two bedroom apartment with dining room, double kitchen, deck, garden and pond; into a much smaller two bedroom house with wonderful garden; into a shoebox studio which is seven steps from front door to back (and thats around a chair)
  25. And I share that shoebox with two geckos
  26. And I actually love the shoebox and having to downsize, it's been good for me
  27. Made many lifelong friends, too many to count
All in all people keep asking me what it's like to be 30, and I feel it's really no different from being 29, life goes on. I look like i'm 20 (or so i'm told by the masses) and I 'feel' somedays like i'm 50, so does the actual number really matter? Since I can rarely remember how old I am anyway, it probably doesn't, but it's been good to lay the above out and remind myself that I am actually moving forward rather than standing still, as much as I feel like it sometimes.

Root Canal

Ow. Well actually thats me whining, it really wasn't that bad at all (I say with half my face still numb). I am glad I went to this other dentist though (endodontics center), they were really good and the guy was done before I ever really knew what was going on, so it was totally worth bailing on the other place. I still need the crown done, so i'm going back to this original guy (the center did say he was good), really hoping it's not too awkward, just got grilled on the phone as to why I went to this other place to get the root canal done. Ug.........I'm not so good with the insurance/medical/dental politics as yet..........besides he's getting the expensive part of the process shouldn't he be happy??

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The weekend

A relaxing weekend, which was nice, hope you all had a good one too. Mine involved a short hike on the Pu'u Pia trail up to a lookout on saturday, just an hours hike from my house to the top, so that was nice. I then doodled most of the rest of the day away and went to Paul's birthday party in the evening. Sunday was even lazier, I didn't get out of my PJs until noon, though admittedly I had been up since 7am, doing various things like laundry and tidying. I then went for a drive (wasteful on gas I know, but it was a dingy day so it was nice to get out) and also bought myself my birthday present to myself (see below). 

The top of the Pu'u Pia trail, a nice short hike, though it was really hot and muggy, and i'm really unfit from all the cruises, so it was good exercise! 

A red-faced me looking out over the Manoa valley

And in the other direction we have Honolulu

The way back down - just as the rain came in. It's started being wet again, and this made this trail really slippery in places, lots of mud.

My mosquito net - that has successfully stopped me being bitten anymore in the last few days, but was a total pain in the ass to put up. 

My birthday present to myself - a new side table, and a bargain at City Mill. This way I can get my underwear out of cardboard boxes in the cupboard and put them away finally! Fits in nicely, and I bought a magazine rack for beside the bed too (the darker wicker basket in front), the bedside seems to collect so many magazines (esp. when Stian is around!) I thought this would store them away nicely. 

Friday, June 6, 2008

Got em......

A photo that is one of my (two) gecko friends taking a tour of my ceiling. Unfortunately they were not being very friendly to one another this evening and screeching away. If you've never heard a gecko screech, it's pretty loud! I've seen a ton of babies scurrying around my front door, but none inside as yet, so I don't know if they belong to these two. 

The second gecko was wandering around above my bed, not sure where he is now. I just put up my mosquito net, so as long as he doesn't become entangled I should be okay tonight. And by the way, it took all of ten minutes after putting it up before I spotted a termite INSIDE the is why I like the geckos, at least they eat the nasty flying things....

Some Pix from Torres del Paine

Our trusty wagon......we were very glad to have the 4x4 capabilities! It was snowy and icy on the path several times and held five adults plus luggage pretty comfortably for the most part. 

Sunrise over our first hotel in the park - Los Torres

My companions contemplating the Torres del Paine (the Towers of Paine) over Lago Azul. What you don't know is that this picture is taken post pee-in-the-woods - they all just looked so cute there staring out at the mountains giving me some privacy! 

The Paine massif, from just outside the park on the southern end. 


Taryn, Laura and I on an early morning hike to see the sunrise over glacier grey.


Guanaco! A relative of the Llama. We stopped at pretty much every Guanaco we saw, until we saw around a thousand in one spot so we didn't stop so much after that. 

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Some Pix from the cruise

One of the many beautiful icebergs in the Scotia Sea - otherwise known as Iceberg ally for the number that drift on through the area. 

I finally got to play with some of the functions on my camera this trip. Here is Dann taking photos with his very fancy camera from the bridge deck. He got some wonderful pictures of icebergs, which if you haven't seen, you really should - take a look at the cruise website

The semi-final of the twister competition. When your at sea you work at least 12hrs a day, 7 days a week for as long as the cruise goes (and often more if your a PI!), which was 38 days on this cruise. Kathy was wonderful at providing entertainment, one of which was a twister board. Playing twister at sea provides an extra dimension - keeping balance in 40knot winds is really hard work! 

The one (or two) that got away. This is all we got back from a trawl lost on the seafloor, snagged by something and torn away from us, samples and all. 

The science tower, tallest part of the ship. 

Lights in the darkness. Taken from the bridge while on iceberg watch. Though larger bergs show up on the radar, the bridge still has to be extra careful at night so we don't hit any smaller bergs. The little flag at the bottom is the very bow of the ship.

The TowCam we deployed to take photos of the seafloor. 

One of our final sunrises, one of the (few) perks of being on the night watch (midnight to midday).

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Kate B is wonderful!

I got home today and there was a nice big parcel sitting on my steps from Kate B! Yay! Clever girl knowing my inability not to open bday presents before the actual day snuck in a housewarming gift on top to distract me - a quite unbelievably weird pot - where the hell did you get a pot that looks like an anemone!?!?!?!? Really quite bizarre. 

Of course I do still have all weekend to spy all the other gifts, give them a good shake and then eventually give in and open them early........and whats more Kate is at sea so she will never know! 

My giant box, littered with so many goodies I had to empty the peanuts to check I had everything! 

Yes, it's a pot that looks like an anemone!

Wednesday update

Okay, i'll try and post some cruise and post-cruise pictures up here soon, it's just been a hectic week and my computer is so full at the moment, I can't even resize pictures on my laptop, it's a real problem and I haven't had time to move things off of here.

So a quick update-

- Dental - I had a conversation with my friend Alison about root-canals - she's the one who likes this Manoa dentist, but she said not to let him do it, but to go downtown to a place that specialises in it - so I have an appt there on monday and feel a lot happier about that. They'll re-assess so i'll get my second opinion and they will do it there and then if I need it, and it's the same deal with insurance, so no extra costs in doing that. All I need to do is not to turn into jello as soon as I get in there.......

- Mental - Hawaii home yet? Well i if I could find a good MO with the mosquitos so I don't get eaten alive every night that would help, but though the general traffic, noisiness and "hawaii time" still drive me a little crazy, it doesn't seem as bad as before, so maybe i'm getting used to it. My friends also threw me a bday party on the beach last night too which was really sweet, a small gathering (i don't know so many people here) and i missed the Woods Hole crowd who always threw a good bday party, but it was super nice, and I went swimming which was great. So not quite home yet, but a damn site closer than any other time i've come back here.....

- Itchy suckers - the mosquitos are still biting, though i'm definitely going to try the gold-bond (does anyone know a home-made anti-mosquito or itch cream that works?? I really hate all the chems on a daily basis...) I also ended up buying a mosquito net for my bed. This moment of realisation occurred while laying in bed, emailing with a G&T on the side watching all these little mosquitos and flies flying and sticking to the side of my G&T glass......ewwwww

Big ass cars.....

Apparently Hummer sales fell by 60% in May and GM is axing the Yukon, Tahoe and Suburban........I may complain about gas prices, and I do love a good 4x4, but this has to be a good thing to stop those city and suburban mammas driving their kids to school everyday in one of these giant beasts............and I really dislike Hummers...:0)

Monday, June 2, 2008

I have 12 mosquito bites on my right leg and 9 on my left. I also apparently I need root-canal on my tooth thats been having problems, they wanted to start today, but I was too much of a mess to do it. My insurance will cover me some of the procedure, but not the crown to go on top. Grand total ~$1500. Worst of all I look after my teeth really well. I spend a fortune on good toothpaste, toothbrushes, washes etc, to the point where Stian makes fun of me. Just when I was starting to get on top of things financially too something crappy like this always happens. 

I'm also afraid i'm starting to get a phobia of dentists, I really turned into a mess as soon as he mentioned root-canal, and I just couldn't stay in there any longer, I couldn't breath, it was ridiculous. I'm not sure I could ever show my face in there again come to think of it. 

I've had so many "bad-dentist" experiences that i would just like someone to pull all my teeth out right now and be done with it. As an example the last dentist who started a crown for me broke off my tooth resulting in me having to have it pulled (by a different dentist I had to drive 30 minutes to because he didn't do "that"). That same dentist also did 3 fillings (2 redone childhood ones) - one of which fell out a month later while I was at sea, one fell out about a year later, and two years later this root-canal is now in the same tooth as the last one that he did............and i'm not even going to go into my wisdom teeth experiences here, just way too traumatic......

....did I mention my mosquito bites also itch like hell.......:0(


A pattern is emerging, it seems the first thing to get me down when I
return is always parking. This morning I had a meeting at the biomed
building. Downtown, so just drove straight there. No short-term
visitor parking, I had to pay the regular uni $3. So then came back to
main campus. Well my parking ticket was orange and the parking
structure only has blue tickets, AND they are non-exchangeable. So
another $3 down. $6 in parking today and I've had to leave at 2pm to
go to the dentist. Best bit is that if I want to go back to work after
I'll have to pay another $3 because they are invalid if you leave the
car park. Shish.

On the good side at least when I drove back this morning
there were actually spaces to park in, summer vacation.