Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The one where I go on and on about the island

So I've been here for three (three?) nights. See I can't even really remember, because the days really just blend together. We haven't flown yet, save for flying in, but we are supposed to have our first research flight will be tomorrow from 8 AM to 5 PM (local). They (the mighty powers that be) are going to save the 2 AM take-offs for the following week. In the meantime, the no-fly-day schedule is pretty much access and power to the plane from 6:30 to 2. Theoretically, we are trying to avoid the "heat of the day", but I think the real reason is that there are just too many other nice things do do in the afternoon than sweating on the plane or in the seatainers.

...such as the bathing lagoon. The bathing lagoon is a little piece of heaven about a 10 minute drive from here towards the center of the island. There is a beach with sand, water for swimming, and plenty of sunshine... what more could you ask for?

I took this next photo while standing in the water. (Don't worry Keith, the camera didn't get wet.)

Looking in the other direction from the beach, off across the flats:

Of course, you do have to watch out for these guys, but that doesn't take much work. They just float with the current. I've never seen a jellyfish quite like this - it's just a big floating stringy beige water balloon. And no - I didn't touch it to find out if it stings.

What is really wonderful is the local culture. We are staying at the Captain Cook Hotel, which is pretty much the only hotel on the island. I even took a photo of it as we were flying in on Sunday.

There is a main house "h" shaped building of rooms (in the bottom of the "h"), a little store, and a dining room. There are also a number of tikki-hut-like duplexes (each with two rooms), that are completely comparable. The building near the bottom of the photo with the peaked grey roof is our ops center. Thankfully, my room, which is on the ops center side of the "h", has a straight shot to the satellite dish, because apparently I'm one of the only people in the main house that has internet in my room.

This is likely the closest thing to an all-inclusive hotel that I've ever stayed. We get breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food is amazing - there is sushimi almost every night, and the tuna steaks are to die for, as is the lobster. (!!!) Wow... I've never had popcorn lobster before, but I do recommend it. But apart from the food, the people here are just lovely. Last night there was a big hurrah for the people who were leaving on the commercial flight (only once per week), and the staff sang a lovely set of Polynesian/Gilbertese songs for us at the end of dinner. Absolutely beautiful. During a couple of the songs, one of the ladies did a little dancing. They have a luau once a week, complete with a roasted pig, and apparently they will be doing more dancing then. It makes me sad that we missed luau night by one day when we arrived.

Alright. I suppose I've gone on long enough about the island, so I'll end here. I do have a meeting in a little while...


Keithbeats said...

not worried.

Kate said...

Sounds wonderful! Rough *work* you are doing ;)