Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pictures up!

Mike riding a cannon
Originally uploaded by Farrell
New pictures up of our day trip to St. Kitts. Check them out here.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Rainforest/Ruins Hike

Jessica eating a wild mango
Originally uploaded by Farrell
I don't have time to write *anything* because I had to hike out into the mosquitoes to get enough connection to post this. I've gotten at least 12 bites in the last 5 minutes, and killed no less then 30.

Rainforest/Ruins pictures

Running back to the mosquito netting,

Edited 6.29.10

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Hooray, Update!

So, let me catch everyone up on all the events from the past few days.

Thursday night was the kick-off for Culturama, which is a big celebration of Nevisian/Caribbean culture. It officially began last night, which was inaugurated with a huge concert downtown with lots of dancing and street food.The whole group ended up going and it was a great deal of fun. The celebrating will last until August 3 (give or take a day), reaching full swing by the middle of next week and ending with the selection of the Culturama Queen and parade, both of which we are going to compliments of the program.

Friday we had the day off from work so that we could all go to St. Kitts for the day. Quetta, one of the directors, had this field trip organized to the letter. We all met at 7:45 am, hoped on the bus, and drove to the ferry. Once on St. Kitts we drove all around the island, literally -- the main road was a loop around the island. It was so beautiful, but everything here is. The most interesting site from the day was this old British fort from the early 1700s. It was in great condition and very expansive, providing great views all around, so it was so much fun to explore. To see all the sites take a look at our pictures, which will be up soon, hopefully. It was a long, tiring day, arriving back at Hurricane Cove after sunset, so most people just went straight to bed.

Today was the exhibition day at the museum. On Thursday Farrell and I went down town to help set up the exhibit, which was a little slow in coming together, but eventually turned out great. The exhibit was from 1-4:00PM today with Dr. Fitzpatrick giving a talk at 3:00. Not as many people turned up as I was hoping for (Farrell edit: more then I expected), but I did not really know what to expect. Overall it turned out well as it was a great experience and everyone did such a good job.

Now, it's time to relax. Maybe it will be a movie night?

Until Next Time,

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Quick post

Hello again!

Sorry it has been so long since we last wrote, but the internet where we are staying is extremely unreliable, in addition to a few power outages from various thunderstorms that have been rolling through. In fact, it has done little more than rain since last Friday, as a result of which we were unable to do fieldwork all week. Needless to say this week has been mind-numbing, filled with hours upon hours of scrubbing shells, tiny bones, and pottery with a tooth brush. To catch you up real quick: we are scuba certified, have adjusted to the heat and humidity, helped to set up the exhibit down town, and having a great time! Pictures will come as soon as the our internet connection allows!

Until Next Time!
Jessica and Farrell

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Scuba, Tours, and Work! Oh my!

Hello Everyone!

Sorry for the delay, we have just been so busy with tours and such (as you can see from the pictures), aside from all the work we have had to do. Anyway, this needs to be a short post, but I will try to give a good summary of everything.

Saturday: Our first day scuba diving
Basically, it was amazing. There was no classroom learning session: we walked down to the scuba diving place, were fitted for everything we needed, and then hopped in the water with the instructor. After about 3 hours of instruction, we had an hour break, and then headed out on our first two legit dives. For our dives we took a boat ride out to a little unpopulated island in between Nevis and St. Kitts. That bay had the bluest water any of us had ever seen. We were then given final instructions and began our decent, granted on our first dive it was only down about 20 ft. but you still had to equalize and do various other things to ensure your lungs did not burst. Needless to say some of us (I) were nervous (hysterical), but eventually everyone was in the water enjoying themselves. This first dive was an underwater skills test where we did several basic things while sitting on the sea floor: put our masks on and off, lost and recaptured our respirators, shared oxygen with a neighbour, and emergency saves. Then, we returned to the surface switched tanks, jumped back in, and received a 30 minute tour of the most beautiful coral reefs you could imagine. It was just like we had stepped into finding Nemo. There were all kinds of fishes, and corals, and plants of all kinds of colors. The most interesting site being this soft sea cucumber, which looked like a huge, underwater caterpillar. On this second dive we went to about 35 feet, but I must admit I have no desire to go any deeper. All I want to do is swim around and look at the reefs, I cannot think of any other reason I would want to be that far under. Regardless, we have two more dives (maybe just one though) and our skills test all this Saturday and then we will be certified and able to go whenever we want, for a fee...

Sunday: Independence Day in the Caribbean
Everyone was really tuckered out so we all slept in late. We went out to eat as a group and got a tour of an old plantation. The restaurant was a part of the plantation so it was all fairly fancy, but it was right on the beach, gorgeous, and the meal was already paid for. We got fish sandwiches with a fruit relish on top. It was very unique and surprisingly delicious. After all that, we went down the road to this pottery place owned by the same woman that runs the museum. It is the only place on the island that still produces pottery the traditional way. They had some pretty cool stuff, so of course we bought some. Then we went to see an old fort, followed by a visit to the hot springs, where, interestingly enough, there were several men bathing naked, but not in the pools, just in the little river in front of it. It was rather odd. After all that we finally returned to our bungalows, and rested up. But don't worry, we managed to sing the National Anthem twice during the day to celebrate the 4th.

The Rest
As far as Monday and Tuesday, well we worked from 6:30 am to 1:00pm , had a two hour break, and then washed all the shells, pottery, and other artifacts we found from 3:00pm to 6:00pm. It's been fun, educational, and tiring. Plus, I still have a bunch of reading to do for class tomorrow. Overall though, things are going well. (Minus the fact that the fan just broke...)

Until Next Time,

More pictues up

Leaving for the dig in ~10 mins, but wanted to share my latest picture upload. Find it here.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Rock or Pottery?

First day on the dig site! But lets back it up a little, I'll come back to that.

Yesterday we visited both dig sites we will be working on, the primary one at Coconut Walk, and the second one at Indian Castle. They are both on the windward side of the island, so the ocean is treacherous but there is a very nice breeze to cool us down. When it is not muddy, our land rovers and vans can drive right up to the Coconut Walk, which is very nice. Indian Castle is about at 15 minute walk down the beach from the furthest point our vehicles can make it, which is inconvenient for us and our equipment, but helps keep random people from unintentionally disturbing anything (picking up old looking things). After getting acquainted with the digs, we went to lunch at Double Deuce, a very cool beach-side restaurant and bar. The trip picked up the tab as well, which made it doubly sweet. Jessica and I had goat cheese salads and fries, all of which was truly amazing. The goat cheese hunk was very unique, I had never had anything like it, or any cheese I liked as much. Fitzpatrick gave us about two hours to rest and relax after lunch. Much of the group, including Jessica and I, got a beer and went swimming to cool off, always something we value in this Caribbean weather. After swimming for an hour or so we broke off into volleyball and ping-pong, Jessica opted for the former and I went for the latter. We had a few hours off after the buses picked us up and dropped us back off at Hurricane Cove. At 5:00PM we left for orientation at Rumors, another restaurant/bar. The trip bought us all pizza and the Ph.D's gave an overview of policies and good dig practices. Dinner was very good and the orientation quick and informative. We got back from Rumors around 7:30PM. Jessica, the rest of the group and myself went down to the beach/bar for a swim and a few beers. We had some interesting animal sightings, blue fish similar to what we call Gar fish in the US poked our legs, eating dead skin we believe, mostly painlessly. Later that night we saw our first Caribbean bioluminescent plankton, as we moved around in the water we looked as if we were burning in a green fire.

Back to today! Dr. Fitzpatrick gave us a break this morning, we met the buses (they are actually similar to 12 passenger vans) at 7:30AM instead of our normal 6:30AM. We were on site by 8:00 and working almost immediately. I volunteered to be one of the 3 assigned to cut back a grove of cacti 1.5m or so along the south side of our southern most Coconut Walk site. With my trail making experience, I felt that the machete should be in my hands. It was very hard, very hot, very very sharp work. But we did well and had it cleared in <45 minuets. During that time most the rest of the group divided into two teams, one for both of our excavations. I don't know much about what the northern group did, but they used much larger tools and dug quite a bit more than we did. I get the feeling they are doing more of a quick and dirty site, vs our very meticulous one. All of the Ph.D's worked on the north site besides Dr. Fitzpatrick, he supervised us at the south site. Jessica helped turn a 5m by 5m square into a grid of 25 1m by 1m squares. After the grid was complete, we all picked a square and begin removing surface material. We kept all pottery, shells, chert and bones we found, and discarded any coral and rocks. After the material laying loose on the surface was collected, we bagged it up and labelled it. After a short break for water and sunscreen, we began excavating down 5cm. We almost exclusively used our trowels, with some help from dust pans, to gently scrape down a tiny bit at a time. Any important things were set aside, all other dirt, grass, rocks, coral and plants were put into a bucket and then dumped into our waste pile. Jessica and I worked together on square 24 for about two hours, clearing about 30% of it down to 5cm. We collected about a softball size pile of artifices, mostly food shells with some pottery, 2-3 pieces of chert (used to make tools) and one fish vertebrate. The most interesting thing we found was part of a pot lip, rounded on one side. Kevin found poetry with what looked like a fish eye carved in, and two other squares turned up pottery with a white stripe. The other north dig found very little (they will find more when they get deeper). Their most interesting find was pottery with circular designs in it. We broke for lunch at about 1:00PM. At 2:00PM our bus came to take whoever wanted to get more groceries to town. Jessica and I stocked up for the week, including some fruit which we are very excited about. We didn't have lab today, so we are free until Monday! Jessica and I have our first day of SCUBA training tomorrow morning at 9:00AM, which we are both exceptionally stoked for.

Well, that's all for now.


Pictures are up!

Island from the plane
Originally uploaded by Farrell
I, very resourcefully, figured out how to login to the actual router for our resort. It has been nearly completely down since we arrived, with only a few people even claiming to have successfully logged on to it. We have slow wireless from the bar down the beach, which is what most people use. The lady that owns this place told us that whenever their is a hurricane in the Gulf the wireless gets funky, from atmospheric disturbances apparently. I, as the Computer Science major, feel that it has much more to do with the 30 new bandwidth hungry laptops that just showed up.

Anyway, these are pictures of our Miami airport, our flight from Miami, some island we flew over in the Caribbean, our landing at St. Kits, riding around St. Kits, and the ferry ride to Nevis.

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