Sunday, September 13, 2009

high as a kite

Our most recent field work expedition took us to a different area of coast than we normally survey. Rather than surveying the sandy bottom to examine any changes (erosion/accretion) that may be occurring, we worked on a stretch of rocky coast. We would provide biologists with bathymetry readings for models that will predict larval transport of the stationary creatures (barnacles, mussels, etc), which live in these environments. Because of the jagged rocks that were just hiding just below the turbulent water, this survey was a little trickier than usual. While one of us was collecting data, another had to stand on the nearby cliffs to watch out for rocks and kelp so that there were no mishaps.

Later in the week, we headed back up to Washington to survey a much sandier region--the mouth of the Columbia River. To pass the time while we were on ground crew, one of the interns brought out her new kite! It's been a long time since I've flown a kite, but I had no idea what I've been missing all these years! The force of the wind pulling the kite was extraordinary! Sometimes I had to dig my feet into the sand to keep it from dragging me along! This attempt to stop was often unsuccessful though and I was thrown down into the sand laughing at how helpless I was at controlling the kite!

We weren't the only ones flying kites that day on the beach...a couple of people were harnessing the power of the wind to pull them at very high speeds in a buggy! They would just zoom past us being pulled by their colorful nets of wind! It was then that we got the bright idea to use the jet ski dollies, which kind of resembled the buggies, in attempt to mimic what we had just seen. It did work, but we were never able to gain the speeds we had hoped...or the direction control for that matter...