22 April 2014

And speaking of water, if you look very closely at water, even salty, hot, nutrient poor Red Sea water, you will find a lot of creatures living there.  Copepods, chaetognaths, krill, jellies, polychaetes, gastropods, even fishes.  Life abounds.

Recently, for one of my classes we went out on the big boat to learn about pelagic ecology and the critters that live in the open water.  I was quite surprised to see that in just a little bit of water, there are quite a few things.

for some reason everyone wants to save the baby fishes but no one cares about killing 1 million other invertebrates

to sample tiny things, you need a very big net

to fix big nets, you need big Norwegians :)

19 April 2014

Its amazing what just a little bit of water can do.  From stark desert nothingness, the land is transformed into an oasis of life.  Full of green, and flowers, butterflies, birds, and even water beetles.  People flock to it as well.  Muddy footprints left from someone playing at the water's edge, F + M and A + N marked their union, and cars stopped all along the highway to catch a glimpse of the often elusive fresh water.

We found this place on our return drive home so we just stopped for a little while to snap some photos and make sure it wasn't a mirage.  We all thought how nice, though, it would be to stretch out a hammock and read under the shade of an acacia tree while listening to the ripple of the stream.  Its funny how just a little bit of water can make you want to linger.  

17 April 2014

Camping in the desert can be tough.  While you don't often have to worry about rain flooding your tent, in our neck of the woods, or lack there of, it is wind and curious beduins that keep you up at night.  Without trees or much of anything else to stop it, the wind can rattle the tent so strongly that you are sure your will find yourself in Timbuktu come morning.  And if you manage to sleep through the cacophony of thin plastic whipping against itself, headlights and shouting are likely to awaken you.  You can drive off the road, through fields of lava and swear that you are in the middle of freakin' no where, but don't be fooled, other people are not so far off.  So, do not set out into the desert for a good nights' sleep, but do go for the food and fun.  There is nothing like an empty night sky and potatoes roasted on coals.  Conversation with good friends and learning to cooperate in rough conditions.  And most of all, the next day, when you crawl out of your tent and enjoy a barbequed french pastry while enjoying the sunrise and watching the camels off in the distance, you'll know that it was worth it.

The next morning, sleepyheads :)

In pursuit of french pastries.

who was happy I brought eggs :)

11 April 2014

Up and over the lava we went like a little crowd of Teletubbies in our brightly-colored gear.  No doubt every beduin within 100 miles could see us slowly snaking our way up the volcano.  I can only imagine their confusion at our purposeless feat.  But we persevered and when we reached the top, we were quite amazed.  With a strong cold wind blowing and loose rubble under our feet, we inched as close to the precipice as we dared.  In front of us, the ground fell away, hundreds of meters below was all that remained of a once powerful geological phenomena.  There was the summit and then nothing.  Nothing but air and a few birds playing in the breeze.  

So, when we realized that it would be impossible for us to circumnavigate the crater, or descend into her depths, we took our photos, planted a Polish flag, and back down we went.

04 April 2014

Looking back on these photos from last weekend has made me think about several things.

First, I think that I am wearing zip-off pants in at least 80% of the photos on this blog.  That is eh'em a little bit embarrassing.  Though I will say, that if you're gonna be outside and you don't know if its going be hot or cold, go with the convertible pant.  Shorts and full length all in one.  Efficiency at its finest.  I might have a secret crush on utilitarian wear...

Second, I really don't want to live near an active volcano.  The one shown in these photos last went off in (I think) the 1200s.  Over 1,000 years later and there's still hardly a damn thing there.  Liquid hot magma don't lie.

Last, its funny how in just a span of one week, life can be so drastically different.  Where last weekend I was hopping over Earth's ephemeral crust, huffing and puffing and stubbing my toes, today I am lounging, listening to some folk tunes and baking up a storm.  Different days, different adventures.  I've gotta remember that when things seem scary or dull, overwhelming or boring, something new will soon come knockin' on the door.

I hope you enjoy the rest of the week, I sure am!