Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Puzzling fieldwork

Sailor Cat needs to bring a wolf, a goat, and a cabbage across the river.
The boat is tiny and can only carry one passenger at a time.
If he leaves the wolf and the goat alone together, the wolf will eat the goat.
If he leaves the goat and the cabbage alone together, the goat will eat the cabbage.
How can he bring all three safely across the river?

This is a fun little puzzle, but its analogous logistical fieldwork quandary we are dealing with. We have 12 stations on 4 islands. Each station has a dead battery and we need to replace the dead batteries with recharged batteries. In order to charge a battery, we need to leave it for 12+ hours at a hotel/port and can only charge 1 battery at a time. Each station has a different travel time from each port. How do we design 4 separate circuit diagrams, one per island, to visit each station and swap its dead battery for a charged battery?

Rob and Nova outside the plane after landing in Waingapu (Sumba)

Rob and Elen (our MVP!) in the Neo Hotel lobby

Driving around Sumba

Chocolate avacado drink :D

Riding side-sadle on a motorbike. Its normal.

Crispy banana.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Goodbye Dili! For now?

6 stations done, 14 to go! This past week I've been touring around Timor Leste with Atoy - the lead mechanic for IPG, an awesome driver, and a pretty fun guy, even if we do have a bit of a language barrier. Now I'm preparing to fly to the Oecussi station Saturday morning, where I'll meet Teo and Atoy. Its a complicated station because Oecussi is separated from Dili by Indonesian land and visas are complicated. But once we get this station done, I'm done with Timor Leste for this trip. Its an interesting country and really makes me think about history and infrastructure and society. It'd really be great if everyone in the more developed world had a chance to visit here for perspective. But I think that window may be closing soon because I think this country is really developing quite quickly. For instance, I've been spending the last couple days in Dili working on trying to figure out how to telemeter some seismic stations. They're almost there and just need a little help to configure dataloggers to send data through the cellular network to their office in Dili.

Little 3 minute video with photos from the first leg of the trip:

Beautiful mountain valley on the road from Same to DIli

A waterfall along the road from Same to Dili

Atoy and me at lunch near Same

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Rob and Nova, back for a service run

Hi, Rob here. I'm back in Dili for a service run of our stations in Timor Leste and then to service some new stations from Australia. Nova and I were on a flight together from Seoul to Bali, but we split so she could go visit family for a while in Jakarta while I take care of Timor Leste. We'll meet up soon to do a few stations in Indonesia.

Nothing too much to report. I've serviced our station in Dare and in Atauro and both were working well. Now I'm taking some downtime before preparing for a 4 station run around eastern Timor Leste with Atouy before coming back for Maliana and Oceussi stations.

Getting ready to take a motorboat from the ferry to Atauro

My first coconut of the trip! Cut by the village leader in Atauro.

And the after picture...

I forget what this is called, but the yellow, spiced rice is served in this wrap made of palm leaves. Very tasty.

Yes, this is a picture looking out on the clearest blue sea from a little island paradise.

Monday, October 3, 2016

The demob begins!

Cooper and Nova arrived back in Kupang today and are getting ready to start the long process of removing the 22 instruments from the Indonesian component of the Banda Arc array.

Fortunately, we secured additional funding from the Society of Exploration Geophysicists - Geoscientists Without Boarders to keep the 8 seismometers deployed in Timor-Leste for another year.

Stay tuned to hear about our demob adventures!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Rote - the service run sunset

We're done! All the stations have been checked, data has been downloaded, and the data and I are ready to return to LA. Nova's been great this whole trip and it would be hard to say goodbye, so instead we're saying sumpai jumpa lagi (see you soon!)

Since the last blog update, we've finished Flores and enjoyed ginger coffee with a sunset. Then, short stop in Kupang before we flew immediately to Rote. On Rote, we had two stations to do. One of the Rote stations is located on an amazing oceanside resort so we couldn't help but stay a couple nights there.

On the way to Ende, we found and tried fresh durian. Despite all the fear around the fruit, it was actually pretty tasty and didn't smell at all.

From Ende, where we enjoyed fried bananas and ginger coffee.

Relaxing in Rote with the job done.

One last sunset (and bintang)

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The calm before the final storm

Sumba's done and we're resting back home in Kupang. Tomorrow morning (Monday) we have an early flight to Lahunbajo in western Flores. That starts our last major hurtle - 5 stations on 1 island including a station with clearly bad data. We'll do what we can to try and fix it, but we may just decide to pull it and store the equipment to save time and money for the demobilization. Once western Flores is done, we'll touch down back in Kupang before going to the last island, Rote.

Couple quick videos we took on the way to our last Sumba site:

I got to be supervisor as Nova and the station manager put the tarp back over the station box.

On the plane from Waingapu to Kupang...


Friday, March 18, 2016

Sumba day 1

We've just finished 2 stations on Sumba, leaving 1 for tomorrow. Stations looked pretty good, but all of these q330 stations seem to be giving me a curveball to test me. The first station had a little problem with the GPS - seems like it has a somewhat weak antenna and we had it pointed down. We flipped the antenna up and out and then forced the GPS to relock and bingo, we got it working happily. The GPS is really just used for a clock; the digitizer (q330) has an internal clock which drifts slightly. So, every few minutes to hours, it wakes up a GPS antenna to get accurate timing information from the satellites. The second station had one of its "booms" out of position. The instruments are basically a set of capacitive plates and what we really do is measure the voltage needed to keep those plates at a constant distance. The boom for one of these plates was not quite aligned within our tolerance zone, so we sent a recenter. But no response was seen on our handheld communication device (cliƩ). So we did a manual recenter with the connecting box and it centered nicely.

Little video recorded between the stations. It is really striking how different Flores and Timor are compared with northeastern Sumba!