All posts tagged: remote field research

Return from Rat Islands

“Get in the shower Robinson Crusoe, you aren’t in the field anymore,” the WideEyedSpouse sounded a little snarky. “I’m still cleanish,” I whined. So what if I didn’t feel it necessary to shower for the third day in a row. “You know,” I told the Spouse, “you can be too clean.” The Spouse looked me over, “yeah, well, you aren’t.” I took a shower. I’m now two weeks back from living in a remote field camp and running a multidisciplinary research program. I am remembering to flush the toilet regularly and I don’t wake up wondering where I am anymore.  I have been warm, dry, and well-rested for days. I miss the field. The aching beauty of the landscape. Uncomplicated comforts. The pure joy of a job to do, unencumbered by conflicting imperatives. But my gardens here in Buffalo are in bloom . Hamish the Corgi and Miss Tibbit the Useless Little Black Dog are here. And the WideEyedSpouse once again has my back against the world’s troubles. Home is good too.    

The third crane on the Fish Dock.

My phone binged at me while I was stopped for an unloading school bus on Homer Spit. I watched the cutest collection ever of tiny-wee Xtra Tuff boots splash down into a puddle at the bus exit. I glanced at the console where my phone rested. “Third yellow crane in,” the message said. The flashing red lights eventually quit blinking and I turned left onto Fish Dock Road. I putt putted the overloaded minivan between forklifts hauling fish bins, hoses, and hairy-faced men in overall Helly Hansens. Their Xtra Tuffs weren’t particularly cute. My minivan rental did not match the lifted pickups parked all over the place. There it was, the Puk uk. I walked over to the skipper to introduce myself. “Hi,” I stood next to him looking down into the Puk uk. “I’m C….” I told him. He glanced at me. “I figured,” he said. My logistics handlers were already loading the WeatherPorts, fuel, and other gear. The skipper craned the stuff onto his foredeck using the Fish Dock crane – you pay …

Indiana Jones may have been a little smelly.

Think it through. He packs a gun and a whip in the smallest suitcase I’ve ever seen. There just isn’t room for spare socks and underpants. He wears the same pants, shirt, and hat throughout every field expedition. That suitcase is too small for a couple of clean sets of clothes. If you add it all up, he must have been really amazingly smelly. So smelly that it defies belief that he could sneak up on even the sleepiest, slow-brained guard. I am speaking from a position of deep knowledge and experience here. I just packed up my gear for a field session in the far northern wilderness. Gun, whip, hat – sure they are in the bottom of the crate if you want to think so. Let’s say that the moment I learned the grant support came through I checked the loads on the revolver and tossed the whip into my packing crate, then finished off a couple of fingers of whiskey. Or, you can picture me huddled over the computer monitor late into the night …