After beating off 5 inches of dust, tearing off cobwebs, and pull-starting my somewhat dilapidated laptop, I was finally able to resurrect this blog for some new photos! Really, there is no longer any hope for this once, long ago, regularly updated blog. To those few who did actually look at it often, I apologize profusely for my neglect. To those who didn't look, well, I'm sure you're not too concerned.
So, the following photos are from the trip Anna and I just took to Oregon about a week ago. Anna was accepted as the top candidate for Oregon State University's marine resources management program with the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences. It's fantastic news, and certainly well deserved. We'll be moving out there this fall, probably around late August. Both of our summer employment situations are still up in the air, so there's a possibility that may change. We'd both like to work somewhere in New England for the summer (in jobs requiring low responsibility and flexible schedules... there's too much fun that needs to be had), but I may head out to Oregon earlier depending on job opportunities. Being the one not heading right into grad school, I need to make sure I'm employed before we go out there, if at all possible. That being the case, I may essentially be forced to accept a position that begins earlier. We'll see how it goes. For now, here's the scoop one what is happening now.
I'm on island for only two more weeks, which is incredible after a seemingly quick two years. My job with the brown treesnake project has officially ended, so for the remainder of our time here I'm helping out Anna and her coworkers at the War in the Pacific National Park. My two main tasks involve helping to construct a rainfall simulator and mapping upland vegetation areas with a massive, high-tech GPS-like unit called a Trimble. Basically picture a GPS on steroids that costs about six grand. Things have been insanely busy with our schedules given all that needs to be done before leaving (packing, shipping stuff, finding a roommate to fill our place, selling things, organizing our trip, etc.) There's also the sadness of knowing that we'll be leaving many great friends behind when we go. There are so many wonderful people here, good friends and acquaintences, who have made things enjoyable when certain things about Guam have gotten me down. I know I'll see many people again, but there are also those who I'll probably never see after we leave. It's sad, but generally how things go when living in such a remote, temporal place. I'm ready to leave, to be somewhere with more opportunities and new experiences, but I've definitely had a great time with the people here. There really is a very welcoming, close community if you look for it.
So, on April 3rd we're leaving Guam and heading to Japan, where we have a 6 week layover. We'll probably hang out for a couple days with a good friend, the super athletic, highly trained, virile ladies' man, Lucille. From there, we're heading to Thailand, where we'll probably hang out in Krabi for a few weeks. Anna wants to get in some climbing and I'm anxious to learn the ropes. Our goal is to stay in one general area for a while. That way we don't feel rushed and we'll really get to see a lot of the region. After Thailand, we'll head to the western part of Malaysian Borneo, around Kuching. There are many National Parks there and it has been a long time dream of mine to see old growth rainforest. During all of this, I'm planning to get a lot of hiking, climbing, kayaking, and, of course, photography in. It's entirely possible I'll have about 20,000 photos when we get back from this trip- especially if we see a lot of exotic tropical wildlife. We'll be back in Japan on May 16th, after which we'll end up in Newark. From there, things are still fuzzy.
Okay, it's picture time! Enjoy :)
This beautiful coast was at Pacific City, a town about an hour from Corvallis, the home of OSU.
What a daredevil.
Some nice sandstone cliffs nearby Pacific City.
This seems like a prototypical Oregon promontory. I could be wrong.
Some more scenic coastline.
The color of the stone in this place was really nice.
More Pacific City beach.
This was pretty funny. This guy had the small, remote control-operated glider you see here. He went up on a steep hillside (basically a huge sand dune) to try and get this baby to fly. Well, from this angle, he's facing into a strong headwind. On his first attempt throwing the glider into the air, it shot past him, over the hilltop, and towards the precipitous dropoff you saw in the photos above. Luckily, he caught the glider (probably with the help of his spaniel), and after a few attempts he got it flying pretty well.
All right, this is even better. Keep in mind the strong headwind and picture all of us (from left to right, Craig, Julie, Anna, and I) standing for a nice group shot up on the bluff. My camera was sitting on Craig's tripod, facing us in what seemed relative stability. Well, just after we got into position, the camera started walking forward with the assistance to the gusting winds. The shot was taken right as we all began running towards the camera to stop it from crashing down onto the lense. I call it, "OH, @%$#!!!" It was the only group photo we have of the four of us.
I've really come to appreciate the beauty of the ocean since living out here. Oregon has a beautiful coast.
BIRDS!!! The following are some of the birds I saw on our trip. Being under the cloak of an invasive snake, Guam is basically devoid of birds. I was suddenly surrounded.
This was taken in low light (and a high, grainy ISO) from far away, but it's a bald eagle, despite looking like an albatross.
This is a flicker, which are closely related (I think) to woodpeckers. It was sunning itself after a brief rainshower.
A little western bluebird. I saw several of these guys sitting on fence rows.
"And I Raaaaaaaaan! I raaaaan so far awaaaaaaaaaay!!!" Oh wait, that's a flock of Canada geese. Sorry.
The back of a harrier. This guy was cruising around the farm fields near campus. Check out his prize in the next set of images.
The majestic Great blue heron. Lovely plumage!
Fisherbird with its prize.
A cooperative little kestrel. I tied him to the wire.
This little kingfisher was squawking away at me while I was shooting photos of the heron. I decided to oblige him with a photo of acknowledgement.
For some reason, this gull and a whole bunch of its buddies were delivering rocks to the top of NOAA's roof while we were in Newport. There were literally hundreds of stones sitting up on the shingles. Industrious, but pointless?
This is a scrub jay. Jays are in the same family as crows and ravens, all of whom are often regarded as "problem birds." That's because they're so damn intelligent. These birds (Corvids) are really cool to watch and their behaviors are amazing. Bernd Heinrich, one of my professors from UVM, studies ravens and has a great book called The Mind of the Raven if you'd like to learn just how cool they are. This jay was johnny on the spot. Right after the hawk finished it's meal, he was at the scene to pick up any scraps. He was unlucky this time, but I'm sure his prompt arrival does pay off at times.
Where's the grub?
Sorry, buddy. I got here first [BURP!].
Damnit, I'm too late!
Ah, yes, the easiest bird subjects I had. They're not... quite dead, sir! No, they are. The fish and wildlife department at OSU had several cases full of ornithological museum specimens. This was the most colorful of the cases.
On our way back from Pacific City, I spotted a herd of elk about 100 yards off the road. This is the first time I've ever seen elk and I was lucky enough to get a few photos. The lighting was bad (as were my photos), but I did snap a few shots to prove I saw them.
The ferocious Jabberwocky.
I knew the Pacific Northwest to be humid, lush, and green, but I didn't realize quite how much. In the valley between the Coast and Cascade ranges, all of the trees were covered in lichen and moss.
Some hills viewed from Corvallis.
A green part of the OSU campus.
The OSU student union.
I was biking along one of Corvallis' many bike paths (the planning for bikes there is amazing: there are bike paths everywhere and it's extremely easy to get around without a car), when a heavy rainstorm moved through. Luckily, there was an old open barn (i.e., no walls, but a big roof) where I could take shelter from the downpour. Once the rain passed, this rainbow showed up. You may not be able to see it well here, but it turned out to be a double rainbow.Posted by Isaac at March 19, 2006 1:27 PM