Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Hot times from Maumere to Larantuka

Two more stations in the bag as we are ready to leave Larantuka tomorrow morning by ferry, set to head east to Pulau Lembata for two more installs.  The past two days provided successful missions, but required some major endurance.  Each day, we had enough permitting and errand running to force us to start working at noon.  As such, we took on the hottest part of the day.  It was a good experience meeting folks from both villages - they were accepting and appreciative of what we are doing.  They have all felt gempa bumis (earthquakes) in the very recent past, and have experience significant ones prior.  We have heard some stories about a large earthquake in 1992 that generated a tsunami that leveled the area.  If we can do anything to help them better prepare for these disasters, our work here will transcend our other scientific goals.

Team photo from Bangkoor village.  Small 800m tall volcanic peak in background.

The drive from Bangkoor to Larantuka provides some of our first up close looks at volcanoes.  Lewotobi is recently active, including eruptions in the 19th and 20th centuries.  As the drive went along, we had a long look at the peak during a beautiful sunset.  Once emerging on the coast as we made our way closer to Larantuka, looks of the Savu Sea seemed romantic given the stunning scenery.  Definitely looking forward to more of this!

One of the bigger volcanoes in East Flores, Gunung Lewotobi (1800 m), peeking out in the sunset.
On the approach to Larantuka, small volcanic cones dot the landscape...some poke out of the ocean!
After a night in Larantuka, we clambered our way across some rough road to head north.  This location provided a unique opportunity to install a station in a more northerly location than most of Flores can offer.  We spent a bit of time searching around for a site with local Camat providing his recommendation.  Abundant vegetation, very rocky terrain, and stinging heat slowed down our progress with siting.  But we finally broke through and found a good location.  One of the best factors of our final destination was a big shade tree about 50 meters away to the south that provided us some much needed relief. 

Site installed in Sinamalaka village, a huge mango tree in the background. Nova snapping her own photo as some local bros look on.

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