Sunday, November 16, 2014

Capitol hopping

The crew has finally split into two teams.  I have traveled to Timor Leste while Coop and Nova finish the installation and wrap up our presence in Kupang.  My flight from Kupang to Atambua provided great views of Timor Island, revealing rugged topography and an abundant network of river channels.  I have made it to Timor Leste’s capitol Dili with six more stations to collect data from, in addition to increased diplomatic efforts and public outreach.

Looking south over the confluence of three big
rivers.  Taken from somewhere above Soe.

Some nice topography while approaching Atambua.

To cross the land border from Indonesia to Timor Leste, foreign citizens much first secure a visa approval form from the Timor Leste consulate in Kupang (thank you Lonely Planet travel book – if one doesn’t have this approval, they must return to Kupang!).  It takes three working days to process, no fee to acquire.  The English speaking staff at the consulate requie a 3x4 cm photo from the applicant, a copy of their passport, and evidence of a return ticket leaving Timor Leste.  
My entrance letter to return from Oecussi into mainland Timor
Leste.  Without this, life would not be so nice.
I reunited with the Institut of Petroleum and Geology (IPG) from Dili, remembering good times this past march with the driver Mr. Alex.  IPG has hired an earthquake specialist within their hazards division to be assigned to this project, Mr. Luis Teofilo.  I look forward to proving him as much training and knowledge over the next week to prepare for future collaboration.  In general, the IPG (est. 2012) has greatly expanded their capacity – they doubled their staff and moved into a bigger facility in Dili.  Our project is helping them expand into an area of analysis that they can most certainly benefit from. 

The first station was serviced during this stay.  Eight months of data were collected, nearly meeting the capacity of our system – looks like I showed up just in time to harvest the fruits of our labor.  Sweet, sweet data, ripe for the picking.  We threw some shovels of dirt on top of the sensor, layers some more plastic on top of the equipment to shelter from the sun and rain, took a lot of notes on site conditions and equipment performance, and moved on.  I am encouraged that the power system is in good condition – there are many stories of equipment failure in tropical environments.  Keeping my fingers crossed for the remaining stations.

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