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> August 19, 2006 – Paramushir, Day Three, A good day for office work
post Aug 25 2006, 05:04 PM
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August 19, 2006 – Paramushir, Day Three

NOTE: The eight days of journal entries from August 17-24 were written while I was camping ashore at Pernatoye Lake, along Vasil’ev Bay on southern Paramushir Island. I am typing them in mostly verbatim from my handwritten journal from the field – with just minor editing/additions for content and clarity – now that I am back on the Gipanis.

August 19 - 7:45 am

It’s raining and has been steadily raining since at least 2 am when I got up in the middle of the night to use the facilities.

August 19 - 9 am

The rain is still steady so we are not working in the field today. Tanya has declared it to be “Good day for office work.” We’re in the house reading, working on computers, writing, drawing up geology sections, etc. We’re doing our best to stay dry and see if the weather changes for the better in the afternoon. Looks to be a LONG day. We could feasibly do the coring in a mild rain like this, but it makes the labeling of the cores difficult as well as any sort of personal comfort. Since we have the entire week here, there is no need to push, yet. If we were down to 1 or 2 days remaining, then things might be different.

I talked with Ben during the 8 am satellite call. Groups on shore call to check in with the ship at least once a day, evening or morning. I told him what is happening here and found out about what they are doing as well. They are still in Severo-Kuril’sk and plan to stay there until at least tomorrow.

August 19 - 2:30 pm

Well, it stopped raining, mostly, after lunchtime, but too late to do anything. Before lunch, Jesse and Sasha built a tarp lean-to over the cooking fire. Jesse was very pleased with the cobbled-together final product, particularly since he got to tie several different types of knots during its construction. We already had the tarp, but had to locate “ropes” of various lengths and diameters. We used heavier rope from some fishing nets and thinner “rope” made of flexible, multi-strand copper wiring, like stereo wiring. We also had to find the stakes for the tarp and used some old metal tubing and staffs that Sasha found in one of the out buildings. (See picture below – left)

We had some tea and mid-afternoon snacks and now we are all puttering again. Jody is trying to make pancakes over the drying stove in the back room. (See picture below – right) [Note: We wondered why she started so early, but it actually took quite a long time – about 10 minutes per side, 4 pancakes at a time! But they were SO delicious!] Tanya and Katya are working on drawing sections from their days on Matua and Kharimkotan. Jesse is looking over his maps and planning routes to ground truth vegetation cover for his satellite images. Pat and Tolya are reading and/or napping and I don’t know what Pasha and Sasha are doing now [Later note: They had gone fishing and we had delicious fresh salmon for dinner!]

IPB Image
On the left: Jesse Einhorn and Alexander “Sasha” Pakhamov construct a tarp lean-to for the cooking fire at our Paramushir camp.

On the right: Jody Bourgeois spends a rainy afternoon at the Paramushir camp cooking field pancakes. She is in the back room where all of our wet clothes are attempting to be dried by the kerosene stove/heater that she is cooking on. It was a very slow process, about 10 minutes per side, 4 pancakes at a time, but they were so VERY DELICIOUS!

August 19 - 7 pm

Well, I made it through a long and potentially VERY dull afternoon with several diversions – running outside to see a brown bear come up to the camp and then be scared away by our newest camp member – a dog that wandered up that we so far are only calling “Capaka”, which is “dog” in Russian – and helping Jesse wire a light in the hallway and then add a switch, too. He also spent some time patiently explaining the concepts of AC circuits to me – which is probably the umpteenth time that such a thing has been attempted (at least 14 of which were by my husband) – but this time I might actually have gotten it. He was very patient and drew lots of pictures and put up with all of my silly questions as he went.

Oh yeah, you probably want to know more about the bear . . .

There were two bears that came right up to about 10 meters from our front door within about half an hour of each other. The dog barked and barked and everyone took pictures and video from a safe distance. Eventually between our presence (the bears here are not very accustomed to people and tend to run away more readily than those that live in more populated areas) and the dog’s barking, it went away. It didn’t seem very scary since we were in a large group and we could have easily run back into the house. It was pretty big though, and I would not want to run across it by myself in the field. (See pictures below)

[Note: When we are working on islands where there are bears, we never do fieldwork in groups smaller than 3-4 and always have bear flares at hand. When walking through the brush, we continually call out in deep voices “Hey, bear” so that if there is one sleeping in the thick vegetation, we will wake it up and hopefully we will see it before we walk right up to it.]

IPB Image
On the left: The first brown bear that wandered up to our camp on Paramushir at about 4 in the afternoon. The dog is barking furiously at the bear and Sasha is taking pictures (along with the rest of us).

On the right: A closer picture of the second bear that wandered up to our camp on Paramushir, about half an hour later. Again the dog barked at it and it wandered right back off.

Jesse and I made bets this afternoon at how long it would rain before we would work in the rain anyway. I thought that it might stop raining enough by tomorrow evening. He thought that by Monday morning, we would work even if it was still raining. That would give us 3 days to core, plus one day to pack and start possibly moving equipment down to the beach before we get picked up on Friday. I agreed that, by Monday, if it was still raining we would probably work anyway.

Tonight for dinner we are having fried fish that Sasha and Pasha caught in the ocean and the pancakes that Jody made on the drying room heater. Probably potatoes, too. Right now, I am sitting as much as possible over the drying room heater, trying to get warm. My feet will not stay warm. Only when I am in my sleeping bag at night do they get warm. I think that when my shoes got drenched last week, that they dried on the outside, but not on the inside, so now whenever I put them on, my socks slowly soak up the water inside and my feet are cold. I just keep changing damp socks with dry ones, but I’m going to run out soon.

So ends another day in Paramushir.
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