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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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sweden in town

Me, Mum, Sis, and Theo burning the Bird in Harpers Ferry
Busy city/office life swept me away since my return from island time Puerto Rico, but most importantly I got visit from my mum, my sister Karin and her 6 month old, Theo, all the way from Sweden for a week over Thanksgiving.
Enjoying the last fall colors in end of November, Druid Hill Park

Just a few days before their arrival Baltimore was still dressed in fall colors and I was pretty happy that they would get a well needed break from the Swedish Winter. The very day of their arrival all the leaves came down and it got Swedish (very) cold. Fortunately they were well prepared and we had a great week exploring the surroundings and celebrating a big family American Thanksgiving at my colleague Tim's house out on the country side. That was lucky because just about everything else was pretty much like Sweden, including the weather. I had not quite realized how much of a Swedish bubble we have created at home. Our food is a mix of IKEA imports and home made Swedish baking and cooking, even our American roommate Andrew is eating herring for breakfast... Fortunately we were able to satisfy sis and mums need for Cheesecake, muffins, waffels, pancakes and other Americanized sweets at the local coffee shops
WARNING: The rest of the blog have a slight touch of "proud uncle syndrom" so If you don't like baby pictures stop reading now
Theo taking another nap after his first flight ever from far away Sweden
(apparently everything was way to exiting to sleep during the flight)
A cold walk around the neighborhood
Warming up for Thanksgiving football
Mum making new friends
Chris taking aim at the big bird
Karin in sweet heaven
Yes, I could not move or breath after this dinner. As expected. Still I had another piece of that delicious key lime pie above. 

Hiking Maryland Hight, Harpers Ferry, the following day in a crisp sunny winter day. Good time for a nap.
Coffee break with a view! The Shannendoa and Potomac river meeting up in the background.
Fresh expresso on site.

Hungry little monster after another long sleep in the fresh air
Washington, DC next
Theo charming the president
Karin and President Lincoln
Checking out his view
Parking the Theo fast food truck on Lincoln's stairs
Two exited guys at the Air and Space museum, DC
City sightseeing trip a couple of blocks from Hopkins School of Public Health
The highlight of the trip
Baltimore Harbor

Last night of their trip the "Wonder on 34th Street" in our neighborhood turned their light on. Good timing!

The following day after their departure I attended a conference at the... Swedish Embassy. The Swedish Agency for Water Environment (HaV) had arranged a seminar in "the Economics of the Oceans" to promote blue growth and sustainable use of the seas. There was a great turn out of NOAA folks and many other organizations that reside in DC. Aside of inspiring talks how to move forward with the environmental challenges in Chesapeake bay and the Baltic Sea, I got to connect with my Swedish Colleagues who were surprised to find a Swede working among the NOAA folks.

The Economics of the Ocean Conference, Swedish Embassy
On my way home from the embassy there was a Norwegian Christmas Tree celebration at Union Station serving free Glögg and Ginger bread (and a sit on Santas lap). I got on the train on a glögg induced sugar high and fell asleep while listening to P3 (Swedish NPR) streaming live on my phone. When I woke up an hour later I was quite surprised to find myself in the US

Saturday, November 9, 2013

It's a wild world

El Faro
It started with the night tour on Halloween. Me and Will had just moved to our new location Fajardo on the mainland of Puerto Rico. We were staying in San Juan de Cabeza Natural reserve in their accommodation just next to the lighthouse and got invited to a guided tour of the reserve by the rangers. We didn't really see much during the tour but the guide got us started at exploring the bush around our house. So next night we headed out with torches just outside our door. Within 10 minutes we had found our first Puerto Rican Boa Constrictor. We were so excited. Then I walked back inside just to discover that I had killed a scorpion in a bum related accident on my chair earlier. We also made friends with a number of small lizards chilling on our work computers and yesterday I got attacked by a whole battalion of ants so I had to run up to my room and take a cold shower to get them all off. Its been full on nature to say the least.

The night tour
A normal lagoon in day time
And a glowing wonder at night! Small dinoflagelates in the water glowing as I stir a stick around in the bioluminescence bay 
Trying to score bonus points from Anna while writing with a stick in the glowing water
Is that a..?
Puerto Rican Boa Constrictor just outside our house!
So exited
Another victim, poor scorpion.

Will making small friends
Will making bigger friends

Our house, a window less compound...  But walk around the corner ->
...and there is a pretty nice view
And another one... (the bioluminescence lagoon, the North coast, and el Younke Rain forest)
...and another one (The NE Reserve with Culebra far in the background)

Bigger friends helping out with the ropes
We finally finished our field work yesterday. 913 video locations recorded during 15 field days! Its been pretty insane to be honest but now it its done. "All" that remains is to process and analyze all the data back in the office, but for know I am ignoring that fact. We had some crazy weather do deal with and lots of little problems to solve just like any field mission, but we got lucky the last week and scored some calm days where we could get to a lot of tricky locations around the exposed North shore of Puerto Rico. I also did a lot of power snorkeling. Swim all you can to a site while trying to avoid getting snagged on any fire corals and waves, make a quick video recording then swim all the way back. Just to do it again a few minutes later. Not so relaxing but still got to see some cool stuff and got a workout at the same time. One of the best snorkels was on a distant off shore reef where I encountered one of very few sharks we saw, a calm and beautiful nurse shark who let me come really close and follow it around the reef for a while.

Yet another power snorkeling dive... the line is attached to a safety buoy with a Garmin GPS in so that we can position our photos
Spotted Eagle Ray, my favorite ray down here!
a friendly nurse shark showing me around his home
Dropping it for the 900th time!
The setup, a Seaviewer UV Camera, positioning lasers and a GoPro mounted on top.

Computer with live video feed and a GPS unit to classify the recorded habitat

One of many nasty clouds in our way
Time to seek shelter... a water spout forming
Will now deserves some rest!
I just arrived alone to Rincon for a weekend of surfing before I fly back on Monday. The swell is up and there is a surfing world tour competition here this weekend. Time to catch some sleep