Thursday, August 09, 2007

A flight plan and more critters

This is for Kai:

Note that the green bottle in the foreground is my little miniature travel-size Fructus shampoo. Teeny. No more than an inch from nose to tail. Generally these wee guys have been so quick that our encounters are as follows:

I walk into the bathroom.
Sometime catches my eye from the corner.
I stop.
I focus into the corner, and realize that it's a little lizard.
I twitch one of my muscles ever so slightly.
The lizard is gone.

Thus, this morning's encounter was very different. This time I turned the shower on, and he was a little stunned. I thought there was a chance he might remain in place long enough for me to get my camera, and to my surprise he allowed me to get within about 6 inches of him to take this. (Sadly, most of what I took was terribly out of focus, thanks to the poor bathroom lighting and the shower being rather... uh... reflective.)

An aside about the shower - my first shower here was (a) cool, and (b) very weak. I also learned during that shower that the "slightly warmer water" is on the right hand side. I have since learned that if you just take the shower head off the shower, that you can have more of a hosing off, but at least it makes you feel like you are getting cleaner. Speaking of which, I've also realized that I am gradually getting dirtier, regardless of my showering. I'm pretty sure that 75% of the conditioner I've put in my hair since I arrived is still there. The water is well water, which we have been given VERY SPECIFIC instructions not to drink.

Thou shalt not consume the water.
Thou shalt not rinse with and spit the water.
Thou shalt not use the water to do dishes.
And thou shalt DEFINITELY not use the water to brush thy teeth.

My point being that since the water isn't potable, it may have other things that negate the rinsing.

But whatever. We're all in this together.

Okay. I've digressed enough. The next photo is for Scott. It's the promised Where's Waldo photo for the wee crab.

What about the flying, you ask? Yep. Had our first flight today. It involved taking off, reaching about 10k' (10,000 feet), "ferrying out for 60 minutes" in the free troposphere, in-line profiling down to 100 feet and then back up to 2.5k' where we did the first of a series of 30 minute circles at progressively lower altitudes. Those are big circles. We couldn't do a circle at the lowest leg (~100 feet) because when your wingspan is about 50', you don't really feel comfortable dipping one wing to fly in a continuous turn, so instead we flew two straight lengths with a small turn in the middle. The plan is to investigate the emissions of sulfur compounds from the ocean by looking at the gradients up through the atmosphere. It's all very interesting, I promise.

My stuff worked, for the most part, which is always good. Of course, we (my group) did manage to break another pump, so that is on the list of tasks for tomorrow. Well, not break really - we just tripped one of our 28V breakers, but we need to reroute some of our power supplies so that it doesn't happen again. (So see? I am working.)

Anyhow, the best part of the flight was that the air conditioning in the "ceiling" kept condensing water and dripping (read: spitting/spraying) it all over the instruments and the operators. Good times. That's what you get when you work in the tropics, though.

And yet, in hindsight, I likely shouldn't complain. It might be a cleaner shower than the hotel can offer.


Grandma H said...

I bet you would love to have some of my soft water now.

Those little lizards are fast but some will actually pose for you.

How is the night life? Have you watched you new DVD yet?

Will New Zealand have the humidity you are getting down there?

sarah dredge said...

becky - i am amazed by your science adventure. what exactly are you discovering? God be with you. sarah

obsessiveskier said...

I SEE HIM! And his shadow!