Showing posts from May, 2007

Joys and frustrations

I'm pretty upbeat today, despite the fact that my thesis project is going down the toilet. Why, you ask? Well, although, I've already scrapped Plans A and B, and have to come up with Cs and Ds as we go along, at least I know what's not working out, and can do something about it. Definitely better than plotting and planning all semester, and pinning all my hopes on a piece of paper.

As those in the know would realise, you have to be a little insane to do research on ecology. Sure, there are perks, such as the very obvious one of diving for work (no-one tells you of the seasickness and the long long hours), and getting paid (albeit peanuts) to dive on coral reefs in exotic locations (sometimes). For me, one of the major thrills is the challenge of unravelling the mysteries behind each organism that make up an ecosystem. Each time I dive, I'm just amused and amazed at the wonderful complexity that can arise from a driver as simple as natural selection, something akin to fr…

Dive log 27 May

After four looong looong days of waiting, we finally got to dive today! Even then, things looked a little uncertain in the morning- waves were 5-7ft high, with the occasional 8 footer rolling in. But the dive boats were going out, and as Steve said, we would be wussies if we didn't!

Things seemed steady at first, but as we left the shelter of the shallows, I could begin to see why small craft advisories were in place for the past week. Stomachs churned as we rocked and bobbed on the roiling sea towards Conch Reef. As we geared up and strapped our BCs on, I finally threw in the towel, and decided that donating my breakfast to the sea was preferable to holding it in and spewing cereal on my labbies in the boat.

It was definitely preferable to stay deep down underwater then bucking about on the surface, so we decided on super-short intervals, changed tanks quickly, and jumped right back in. Coming back wasn't too easy too. Slammed myself against the boat while hanging on the ladder…

Photos as requested

Okay, here are the photos of the shaving process! I still have to get used to not needing to tuck my hair behind my ears anymore :).

It was really hot in Key Largo, had to stick pins all over and tie it up just to keep the hair off my neck and out of my face...

See how long it was?

The guys really enjoyed this part...

I had a lot of hair...
The finished product! Want to see the front? Gotta wait till you see me in person! :)

A weight off my shoulders

I finally did it! I had my hair shaved off. Not completely though, didn't want to walk around with a blistered head....but I now have a half-inch fuzz on my crown. Takes a little getting used to, seeing myself in the mirror, but gosh, I never knew it felt so cooling!

And I certainly provided a lot of entertainment for the guys. They even skipped Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider to attack my hair with gusto and stainless steel scissors. Joe finished off with the clippers, set to #6.

Now I have to apply sunblock to my scalp before going out! How strange...

Blowing in the wind

What's blowing in the wind, you ask? My Masters thesis, that's what. Endured a 14 hour drive from Wilmington down to Key Largo yesterday, only to find out that because of gusty winds and rough seas, we might be grounded till Sunday...So everything's been pushed back almost a week, and we can't stay on longer than 5th June, so it'll be a mad scramble next week to get everything in before we have to return.

On the plus side, I guess I have not slept so well as I did last night for weeks, and I took a very nice healthful walk during sunset today. Tim, Steve, and the NURC guys hooked up my pneumatic drill today, and we took it for a test run on a limestone rock sitting in the parking lot. Not too bad, I just need to find a way to start drilling cleanly, so I don't score the coral surface so much. We went to pick up Sven and Kyle from Miami airport 3 hours earlier than we planned, except Steve took a wrong turn and we ended up stuck in Miami traffic for about 2 hours…

fragile things

I've recently xin xue lai chao again (gotta ask the divinebovine how to write in Chinese characters), and so, bear with me as I unleash prose on your unsuspecting eyes in the days to come...

A thing of beauty in full bloom
Your vibrant colours shining through
The soft scent of fragrance that wafts from you
O cursed time stole your youth
That I could hold out my hand
And stop this path of sand

The Survivors by PSB

Many people think the Pet Shop Boys are purveyors of corny dance music, but many many of their songs are imbued with meaning. This one helped me through some tough times and is one of my favourites.

The Survivors

Cross a windy bridge one winter night
Past Embankment Gardens enter warmth and light
Face the music (It's never easy)
Forget the chill
Face the future (It's never easy)
Find the will

If life is worth living, it's got to be done
One might be forgiven for thinking it's a life on the run
Many roads will cross through many lives
But somehow you survive

Look around, picture what's in store
Is this the final edit, or is the subject now a bore?
Don't shrug your shoulders (It's always easy)
You can't ignore

That life is worth living, it's still worth a damn
One might be forgiven for thinking it's something of a sham
Many words may make it sound contrived
But somehow we're alive

The survivors - Our heads bowed
The survivors - At memorials for other faces in the …

Environmental report available for viewing for 4 weeks from 02 May 2007

Was alerted to this post on Habitatnews:

Notice - Environmental report for disposal of dredged material at designated containment site east of Pulau Semakau. 02 May 2007
.The Public Utilities Board plans to dredge sediment material from Sungei Punggol and Sungei Serangoon. The dredged material will be placed in the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore's designated containment site east of Pulau Semakau. Studies have been carried out to determine the environmental impact of this activity. The environmental report is available, for public viewing by appointment, at the Environment Building, 40 Scotts Road, Singapore 228231 for 4 weeks with effect from 2nd May 2007. To view the said report, please contact Mr Sim Hock Lai at 67313820 or via email at . Anyone who wishes to inspect the said report after 29th May 2007 can contact Mr Sim Hock Lai to make arrangements to view it. "First published in the Government Gazette, Electronic Edition, on 2nd May 2007 at 5.00 pm."

Give it back!

Whoever stole my bike handlebar yesterday, you have p***ed me off bigtime! Don't you have anything better to do with your seemingly useless time? I hope you cut yourself extracting the handlebar and contract tetanus! Humpf...

A thought about Singapore corals

After a depressing afternoon studying about historical declines in coral reefs for my Oceanography final (coral reefs are DOOMED, DOOMED, DOOOOOMED!!!), had a thought about another reason for saving Singapore corals. Politicians may say that surrounding countries have much better reefs that are bigger and provide proportionally more ecosystem services to the region, BUT Singapore corals have a couple of rather unique characteristics:

1. They can survive in really elevated levels of sedimentation, levels more than one level of magnitude higher than those reported to KILL corals. Ain't that cool?

2. They seem to be more resistant to bleaching-related mortality brought about by elevated sea surface temperatures (SSTs) such as during the El Nino event in 1998. About 25% mortality (correct me if wrong) compared to massive die-offs such as in the Maldives?

If these attributes have a genetic basis, as maladaptive corals around the world die-off in response to habitat degradation (e.g. incre…