Sunday, January 27, 2013

I got a cheap uke a couple weeks ago! I was missin' playing mine back home way too much.

This little bay had a couple of blacktipped sharks swimming close to shore right by us :)

Coconut crab!! These guys are pretty gnarly. She/he was climbing up the tree away from us upside down.

Not sure what these are...the soft looking pink fuzzy part on top is ROCK hard.

Bioluminescent mushroom :) Which is also what my independent research project is about! :D

We finally went to Tinian!! Tinian is the island next to Saipan; it's about an hour boat ride away. Sadly almost all my pictures got deleted from this trip :( :( But at least my mushroom pictures didn't!


Moss of some sorts!
Tinian has lots of World War 2 history. It has the most used airport in the world at the time. And guess what took off from that airport? The B-29er's that bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We drove on that same airstrip that the planes took off from and saw the atomic bomb pits that they used to secure the bombs to the bottom of the plane. We also saw a crumbly administration building (picture got deleted) that I walked up in to and got to the second floor before I was told about the "Do Not Enter - Building Not Stable" sign outside.  Whoops, but on a serious note I didn't see it. I climbed in before I reached the sign haha It was a pretty sweet place!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The last couple days have been exhausting in a different way. We are doing data analysis for the land transects (we found ghost crabs, shore crabs, and lots more hermies). It's easier for me to do field work outside, hike around the jungle and get down and dirty in the mud than to sit in a room for hours at a time and emerge myself in Excel and JMP (a statistics software). It is a relief knowing that this marathon science project is almost done for us.

Pandanus: my FAVORITE tree out here!!!  This thing is a beast. The little bumps all over the trunk and branches are spines, and the luscious looking leaves are actually blades with thorns on the sides of them. Oh how I would love to grow one back home, but I'm not sure how they would do without the high humidity.

My roommate took this to show how sweet our cupboard forts are. It's 7+ feet to get up here.

Pool-side New year's! With Adriana, Sarah, and Zach!

Meh? My roomie is wonderful!

Two more days until the winter session is done with! It's crazy to look back and remember all the wonderful things I have experienced in the last 4 weeks....and some people have just been chilling for winter break! Don't be jelly, get out there and make it happen!


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Northern Lights

Wednesday and Thursday this week we completed underwater surveys (I finally visited Managaha!). We were looking for trochus and turbo snails and giant clams. The largest clams I saw were about 22cm across and were the most beautiful colors ever! One was a deep purple with neon blue spots and the other one was speckled yellow/green/brown. I also saw a 3ft long blacktip shark that was swimming 20-30 feet away from me!

My wonderful new sarong! These are fun to wear.

There is a zoo that is a 5 minute walk from my house; it's so close I can hear the lion calling.

Beautiful crowned crane


Opie! She/he was such a sweetie.

I finally got to see the lion. He was so lonely, it was heartbreaking to see. When he called out it was devastating, I could feel his sadness resonating in my body and I started crying.

I started talking to him as I would with Rajah and he curled up the against the fence and fell asleep.

Tasha! She is GORGEOUS!!

What my roommate brought home for dinner last night! I was limited to spring rolls, lettuce wraps, and the other unknown item on the top left. However, I will now add lettuce wraps to my unofficial meal catalog. Mmmm!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas, Saipan 101, and Rota

This will be a long one...

Christmas day! We BBQed together by the beach and cooked up a TON of veggie burgers, some pork burgers, and freshly caught fish. It was sad not seeing Dad, Boy Wonder, Tanner, Jupiter and Rajah, but I was around a great group of people (including my mum).

Christmas day sunset! This and the following sunset pictures were all taken from me standing on a  made-man rock that the Japanese used to anchor their ships to.

Our professor took us on a Saipan 101 tour a couple days later. It was about a 6 hour trip around the 45 sq. mile island.

I forgot what this place was called, but it was at the end of a pier. You can see Managaha in the background, which is a another small island that we will be visiting one day.

This was at a Japanese war memorial that was against the bottom of a huge hill/cliff.


Plumeria! The most beautiful smelling flower I have ever smelt :) There is a Chamorroan legend about this flower that is similar to a Romeo and Juliet story. There were two young lovers from different cultures that didn't have the support of their families. The lovers decided to get married and a family member of the boy found out so they murdered the girl. When the boy found out, he took his own life. Some of these flowers have a red streak that go through the center of it, and that is supposed to represent the blood on the girl's wedding dress.

More fungi! And a millipede.

Statue at a Korean War memorial.

The next two panoramas are taken from the top of Suicide Cliff.

Driving back down the back side of Suicide Cliff.

On a more cheery note, the next place we visited was gorgeous!
This is the first parking lot of its kind I have seen!

Some of the steepest stairs I have come across! But where oh where do they lead?!

The Grotto of course!

This place was MASSIVE. It was basically a giant cave that faced away from the ocean, but had an opening underwater towards the back/bottom where sea water could get in. The water was soft and fresh, and there were stalagmites and roots hanging from the top.

You had to time it just right to get on this rock. Towards the bottom right there was a way to get across but only if there weren't any waves.

From up and above the Grotto.

The next two pictures were of an old radio building.

Mount Tapochau! This is the highest point on Saipan at 474m. 

Andddddd we're off to Rota :D
Rota is another island in the Northern Mariana Islands. It's about a 25 minute plane ride south of here.

We rode in the back plane.

Right before takeoff!

Rota! The coastline is very rocky at times. Standing here was like sitting in the splash zone at a Shamu show. The waves would crash against the rocks and spray everything within a 30 foot radius.

Ruins from the indigenous people of Rota. 

Not sure how long these have been stacked for...

These white spores were floating around everywhere near the ruins.

We visited a cave that has pictographs from Chamorroan people that were 300+ years old.

These handprints were at least an inch and a half larger than my hand.

Bird Sanctuary! We saw some Mariana fruit bats as well.

Adventure girl!

Monitor lizards, the larger one was about 3ft long.

Flame trees and sunset!

The rest of the pictures are taken from the plane as we were leaving. I was very fortunate to sit on the west side of the plane to be able to see the sunset really well. We flew just high enough to fly through the clouds all the way back.

What can be better than watching the sun set from a plane?

Watching the full moon rise from the other side! :D

Needless to say, goosebumps were a major part of this flight.