Friday, December 29, 2006

Leeches and Gum boots!

Attack of the Leeches. Today we went into the forest for a typical work day. Within 20 minutes I knew it wouldn't be typical. By the end of the short work day we had pulled off almost 60 leeches from our bodies. Below is a picture of my taped up pant legs over my gum boots. Some how Lora only had 13 leeches today. I had 45 of them! I'm supposed to be the volunteer here.

I think Lora's new gum boots had something to do with it. You can see them in action below. Doesn't she look so hot?

On the way home we stopped at a special tree. This is a GIANT Fig! They call trees like this one a Cathedral Fig because it is so massive. For those of you that don't know about Fig trees they grow like a parasite. They consume a living tree and grow all around it until the tree underneath dies. This makes a unique trunk. This one in particular is huge. It was pretty cool.

For the last picture we thought we would just take a shot of the local countryside on the drive back into Atherton. The rainy season pretty much started two days ago and today we finally got to see some blue sky.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Christmas Day in the Tropics

Well Lora and I spent Christmas day in the forest...working. She is such a slave driver! But I love her anyways. The good news is that she is now officially done with her first site of six... for this round of data collection. The bad news is that we had to spend most of our Christmas holiday working. Below is a picture of us at her Mossman Gorge field site. Mossman Gorge is part of the Daintree Rainforest, a World Heritage Site. It is really beautiful. There is a gorgeous river that runs right through her site.

The picture below is me holding a Richards prototype insect trap. They fold up, are light weight, and reasonably priced.

After working in the field we went to Port Douglas, a resort town nearby. We took a short walk on the beach before going out for a traditional Thai dinner.

There were many people spending Christmas on the beach. Many of them were playing cricket. Behind Lora you can see a family having a go at cricket.

Some people were swimming in the Pacific as well but up here at this time of year you must swim in fenced in areas due to the Stingers (Jellyfish).

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve

Seasons Greetings everyone. Just a quick note letting you all know what we are up to right now. We are just about finished collecting data at the first of 6 field sites in Australia. Looks like we will be working today as well as tomorrow, Christmas Day, so that we can move on to another site. It certainly will not be a typical Christmas.

Lora is sick right now with a cold and it is hampering her motivation. Some how she finds the energy to still go out into the field for a day of work! I'm sure I would be milking it for sympathy if I were the sick one. I'm still not sure how one catches a cold in the tropics during the summer.

We'll keep you guys posted and hope your all doing well and having a nice Christmas. Until next time.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I am still here

Hi everyone, I know I am long overdue for posting. I left Hobart 4 weeks ago to start my field work in far north Queensland. My internet access has been real hit and miss lately. When I first got up here I bought a little car. The rental car was costing almost $80 a day so it made sense to buy a car for $3200 since I have a lot of field work in the area.

I have had the car 3 weeks now and already lost 2 hubcaps on dirt roads, replaced the battery, got a nail in the tyre (Aussie spelling), replaced the bracket that holds the window in track and worst of all my cigarette lighter went out so now I can’t listen to my ipod. All in all it runs great and I am really happy with it.

It has been really nice to get back in the field. I had a grad student from the lab help me for a week. Poor girl had no idea what she was getting herself into. We ended up carrying 30 3meter pieces of rebar 2 km into the forest. Tim came up for my birthday and to help me as well. The first thing I had him do was to carry the rebar out. I came up with a better, lighter plan, which now involves Tim climbing trees and set lines up for me….I have a great husband.

He almost lost it one evening when the mozzies (Aussie term for mosquitoes) were really bad. He has already had to put up with the leeches. My current leach count is 11 and still counting. The best was when I found a full leech in my bellybutton.

While up here in far north Queensland I have been spending time with my friend Denise. It is so nice to have a good friend here and a place to be based out of. Denise is the one in the middle. The other surprising thing is that another friend from my days in Panama is also up here for a couple months. I paddled the Panama canal with Sue (on the right). Here is a picture of us during the race, I am in the back and Sue is in front of me.

Thank you for all the birthday wishes. I will try to write emails soon. Happy Holidays, while everyone is cozy inside with family and friends Tim and I will be enjoying the warm sun, swimming in the lake and drinking margaritas with Denise and beau Franz (my office mate from Panama).

Lora's Birthday

Well, Lora turned another year older and wiser last week. I flew up here to spend the 13th with her and to help out in the field. Her party was HUGE! I invited all of the people I know in Far North Queensland to an elaborate evening of fine dining and entertainment…Denise.

The three of us had dinner out on the back porch of Denise’s house. We dined on Eggplant Parmesan, of course it was a Jamie Oliver special! After dinner Lora opened up her presents. Denise gave her a fun little game called Abalone. Since all of you guys are way over in the States I decided to spoil her and gave her 6 presents. The problem with that plan is now I don’t know what I’m going to get her for Christmas. I’ve included a picture of Lora with one of her presents…an Astonishing X-Men comic. If you don’t know this about Lora yet she is a GEEK! She also received a cool Ripcurl watch to balance out the geek factor. She’s lucky she has me.

Just wanted to post a blog to let you guys know how things are going for us over here. Basically, life is moving forward. We love you all.


Monday, December 11, 2006

Sailing the Air

Not one of mine but read further down to see where I'm off to next.

First off let me warn you that I do not have any pictures to post because I forgot my camera at home. SORRY JAEL! But, I can let you guys know what we've been up to lately.

A picture right off of launch at Mystic Mounatin, Bright, Victoria. You can see the small town of Bright down below.

The past week I have been in Victoria taking a paragliding thermaling clinic. I had no idea how cool it was to be able to use a rising thermal to get HIGH above launch. At one point I was almost 2000ft above the launch... 4000ft above the valley floor. The bad news was that the fire season is really bad right now. Many of the days were unflyable due to POOR visibility (somke). My paragliding career is slow in coming living here. The good news is that I am leaving tomorrow for Cairns area to help Lora in the field.


I can't wait to see her. We'll spend about two or three weeks up there and then drive one of our new cars down the east coast to field site number 2 near the gold coast. The drive is about 1800kms and should take us a few days. There are numerous flying sites along the way so if I have my way we will take a LOOONG time making our way to the Lamington field site. I've included a few pictures of one of the beach areas I plan on flying in the next few weeks. Pretty ugly huh?

We did buy two cars. The first is way up north and is a 93 toyota corolla and I bought a 93 subaru down here in Tasmania. It's wierd thinking we own 4 cars now. Hopefully they will be low key and not need any major repairs while we're living here. The good news is if any of you guys decide to come over for a visit you will not need to rent a car. We've got them stashed all over this country.

Again, sorry for the lack of personal pictures but these are probably better than I can do and they give you the idea. Love you all and have a wondwerful Christmas. Ours will be on a beach arounf a barbecue drinking beer and eating sausages.