Welcome!

The climbfish have now evolved to cover my life in the US - including very exiting life in downtown Baltimore (aka the wire) and ocean research expeditions with NOAA. I don't promise frequent updates but I will try and cover the most and least exiting times here. Enjoy!
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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Not alone...

The last few days we have kept working in the area around the Deepwater Horizon site. Part of our work has been to collect a repetitive data set from one specific area of known natural gas seeps to enable the researchers here to test and develop gas plume mapping techniques, another part is to cover a large area in an attempt to map the amount of gas that is naturally leaking into the ocean from the ocean floor in the gulf. For this we are using a multibeam sonar EM302, a splitbeam sonar EK60 and a Knudsen sub bottom profiler as the main tools. I will write more in detail about this in time and hopefully have some pictures to show you too.
One of many oil platforms in the area
Today has been a calm day in the gulf, no wind and the sun is shining (every day). I have spend quite some time today just watching the ocean fly by. Even though the ocean is 2000 meters deep and land is far away there is a lot of life out here. Every little patch of floating seagrass and every floating piece of anything is forming shelters for fish, turtles, crabs(!) and there is plenty with jellyfish too. Yesterday we stopped the boat and drifted for a few hours to calibrate the EK60, a lot of small fish gathered around the ship and suddenly there was a huge dolphin fish cruising around the boat. I quickly got some fishing gear in the water and in my mind she was already mine, but it ended like it usually does, 1-0 to the fish. Even the little ones have been hard to catch but I finally got one blurry guy on the camera after stalking them in the killing heat for some time.
Flying fish, turtle and a lonely crab was out for a swim/fly in the nice weather
In the middle of it all this great marine life there are oil platforms scattered here and there. Its hard to say much about the impact of the oil spill from the observations I have made sofar. Its clear that the gulf is bustling with life all around the rigs, but nobody seems to really know how much the environment have been be affected by the oil that leaked out into the deep water. Its feels a little surreal to be here and work where it all happened. Today we passed what possibly was a natural oil slick, this can happen if gas bubbles from the seafloor carry oil all the way to the surface.

ABANDON SHIP! Luckily I had an ice-cream in my hand when the safety
drill alarm went off so was quite pleasant even though the sun was burning.
At sunset a few hours ago there was a call for dolphins surfing at the bow so ran out and got a good show, little cheesy but dolphins always makes me happy - thanks to Maddie who took the video below.

Enjoy!

A pod of spinner dolphins came to play with us at sunset

Spinner dolphins surfing at the bow
video






Monday, August 29, 2011

Thunder!

Some pictures from last nights thunderstorm, I have seen a lot of thunderstorm this year but this one was unreal and it went on for hours. This morning it was nice and sunny again like nothing ever happened, flying fish flying and big tasty looking tuna jumping in the morning sun, with lovely oil rigs in the background. The Mexican Gulf theater is keeping me entertained!





Friday, August 26, 2011

Deep water horizon

My blog and lookout spot on Okeanos
So its been 5 days at sea now on the awesome NOAA ship Okeanos Explorer. At first I was running around trying to figure everything out at once (not working out so well) but after a couple of days we all started to get into life at sea and the work here pretty good. We are about 25 people onboard this boat (have not counted yet..) and everybody seems to have some pretty cool life experience. The ship itself provides really great food, a gym, a gaming room, library and most important an ice cream freezer without a lock.
Needless to say I am pretty happy with the comforts here, especially since my days camping in Key West living off insects and leafs.
Survey control room

A short update of what we are doing. The main mission for this cruise is to figure out how and how well we can map gas plumes in the deep waters of the mexican gulf with multibeam echosounders. After calibrations procedures outside Key West, we have spend the last few days few days on transit from Key West towards the Deepwater Horizon oilspill site using the time for staff training (i.e. making me stop run around like a lost and) of the ships sonars systems and getting in to our rutines.

Important calibration procedures
We have just arrived to the Deepwater Horizon site, after a quite minute for the dead at sea we have now started fine tuning our systems to see gas plumes around this site. My shift start at 16 - 00, and I spend the rest of the time extracting knowledge from all the great reaserchers onboard this boat, and also to eat cookies and ice cream.
Sunrise and the giant soccer ball we call home

Ironicaly while I went to sea in nice calm weather there has been both a earth quake and now a hurricane that has hit Baltimore and the whole east coast of the US, hope everybody is safe and sound and that there is still something left there to return to in October. Take care all you people in Baltimore!

Time to go back to the dungeons.




Sunday, August 21, 2011

Key West on bare feets

Camping at Long Key State Park, with lots of thunderclouds on the way
Kayaking in the mangroves around Long Key State Park

US can be a strange country sometimes and I cant quit get my mind set on it. One minute I love it the next minute I love a little bit less... I guess it mirrors the diversity of the people and how differently people think and value different things in life around here. The last 3 days, before arriving to Key West once again late last night, I took a bus north to a more "rural" area of the keys to go camping. I thought about renting a car to make it easy and all but decided to try the public transportation system out, how bad could it be (after all I am camping next to the only highway), and wow it really sucks. Fortunately the bus drivers here are great and they pick you up even though your not at the "right" bus stop at the right time (every 2-3 hours or so), there are often no signs, you just have to know where the bus stops. Last night my bus driver stoped at a burger restaurant so him and me could make an unofficial stop to get dinner... to continue way after schedule some time later.
Huge tarpons swimming in a private harbor where you are not allowed to fish for them...


I've met some really nice and helpful people all along the way, I also met some downright nasty people, one guy screamed at me that I had to ask for permision to film "his" fish in a harbour where I temporarily stopped in a thunderstorm kayaking and an old lady reported me on the campground when I kindly asked if she was going south and if she had space in a car for a few km as there was no busses... in the end the ranger gave me the key to her appartment as it was raining and then gave me a ride 30 min out of her way when she finished her job, so awsome! 
The beach...

Long key state park was beautiful and the fishing and kayaking was great, saw a manatee just of the campground while fishing, and sharks and all sort of fun things in the mangrooves while kayaing for a day. After two days of camping at the prime spot (next to the motorway of course) I left to Bahia Honda which was a really nice campground with good fishing and swimming. The fish here is so huge, will try and upload some videos later of 1,5 meter tarpoons swimming around in a small harbour (where you couldn't fish for them..), I only caught small stuff but splashing monsters kept my mood up.  Today I went diving on a shipwreck, Vandenberg, outside Key West. it was 31 degrees in the water so I only wore my surfshorts. nice!
Ugly fish

Baracuda! Snorkeling on a reef outside Bahia Honda State Park

Time to board the Ship and go to"work"!

There is apparently a hurricane expected next week (first in 4 years) just my kind of luck as I have already been rescued 2 times this year...


Okeanos Explorer

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Welcome to Baltimore

Secret wedding on the Swedish Ship Götheborg, June 6
Spring turned to summer and I finished my last day at work at Marin Miljöanalys. After a couple of nice but too short summer weeks in Sweden I packed my bags and left to Baltimore in the US. Why leave a great Swedish summer for a hot stinking city you might ask (I did anyway)... 1. My newly wedded wife(!), Anna Larsson just started studying a master in Public Health at Johns Hopkins which will keep her/us in Baltimore for the next year, and 2. I got a chance to work for NOAA as mapping personal on their reaserch ship Okeanos Explorer, which make me feel very privileged and excited.

My roadbike and the view from Federal Hill overlooking downtown and the harbour, Aug 14th




 I spend the last 3 weeks getting set up in Baltimore (just bumming around really),  Baltimore is a much cooler city then what I had heard beforehand and since I got my bike I have had some good weeks here exploring the city and settling into the town. Me and my bike made lots of new bike friends, here bikers stick together and take care of one another as I soon discovered. In addition to deadly biking in a city made for cars, there are also some quit nice hiking opportunities around the city, and a good river for trout fishing 35 min from downtown, gunpowder river (conveniently close to "pretty boy dam").  

Enjoying a swim together with plastic and dead bodies at Patasco river, exiting to see whats next down the stream!
All is really quit good, there a a few annoying things, mostly concerning laws and rules in the US, the most upsetting one so far is that your not allowed to swim in any lakes in Maryland except for controlled swimming areas, as the owner of the lake is responsible for the peoples safety, madness from an outdoor lovers perspective.

Anyway, Ive had it with Baltimore for now, I just arrived to Key West today where I will spend the next 5 days camping, fishing and freediving before I board Okeanos Explorer on Sunday afternoon. Tomorrow morning I leave my hostel and head for Long Key State Park, cant wait!
Straight off the airport and out to the most southern point of the US to watch the sunset and take a swim in the hot water, I like it!