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, August 27, 2013

Oregon - Vancouver - Seattle

As close as we got to the Vampires. Anna is very "fashinated" by the Twilight series but claims she is
 not a fan. Though she have seen all the movies and read the books..  Now she has also had the beer
We ended the trip on the west coast with a long weekend visiting friends around Seattle and Vancouver. As always I leave this part of the world with a crave for more, and with a sinking feeling that it is to far away from were I live. Im sure I'll find another excuse to go soon enough.
Fitting right in
I might cut this before I get back to work tomorrow
Mt. Baker forest full of gnomes and big trees
Anybody out there?
Mt Baker, WA
A quick roadside fish fix
Its been long coming, finally got to see my friend Brandon in Vancouver again, since last time the family had doubled in size..
Big Happy Family
Did I forgot telling you we have two kids now?
Great Hiking 25 minutes from downtown Vancouver. If the kids had not got
hungry 10 minutes from our goal we would have got a nice view as well...
Carrying Vancouver on my green shoulders 
Ok, now she is just showing off. Anna 1 -  Gustav 0
Next Stop - Visiting my godparent Magnus sister Ritva in Seattle. Swedish "Fika" at last
Monday morning 5:00 AM, time to go fishing
Ritvas husband Harvey is a phenomenal fisherman and decided to take me out for a day on the water in his boat. The early morning start payed off and we where soon into a plenty of Pink Salmon. Every second year about a million fish swim up this watershed and we hit prime time
A fine Pink Salmon, or humpie as Harvey calls them as they develop a large hump on their back when they get further up the river to spawn. After Spawning all adult fish die and go for another tumble in natures circle of life. This one got turned into a delicious smoked salmon instead...
Harvey getting some action. We filled our quota (4 pp), then catched and released some more before reluctantly leaving the river teaming with fish (and fishermen)
Harvey's fish mobile. I like the concept.
Harvey is also a lifelong collector of Lures, reels and rods. He has an amazing collection in his basement/man cave. Even Anna was impressed. 
Word of the day

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Best out West

It's pretty great to be out west again. Jag är som en ko på grönbete... I brought Anna with me for a week in Corvallis Oregon where I am currently attending a weeklong NOAA course in Oceanographic Satellite Data while Anna is teleworking for Hopkins. We so happened to plan our travels so we got two long weekends out of the trip. After a late arrival to Seattle on Friday we spend two days driving down along the west coast 101. Its easy to understand why everybody look so healthy around here. It's practically impossible to not run around hiking, fishing, surfing, biking with these great surroundings. On top of the active life style out here all restaurants serve organic, locally produced food (not to speak of the local breweries, healthy for the soul...). Only thing to say about Oregon Coast is that while we do have fantastic summer weather right now the ocean is sooo freezing. I thought I did well bringing both my wetsuit, boots  and Swedish mentality, but it turned out I should have brought my hoodie and my gloves as well. Its less then 10 deg C in the water in mid August! Currently living in a small bed and breakfast in Corvallis it's like we have landed in a miniature Portlandia.
Food for me (though absolutely freezing!)
Food for Anna

Looks that way...
Cruising along scenic highway 101
A new found friend along the road
View from my breakfast at Newport Coffey House. Fishing boats and 3 NOAA ships
The local choir...
Thats what I call a large pancake, it kept me warm surfing in the 10 deg C waters 
Next activity fishing in Vancouver on Friday. Anna is grounded from her work for a day to see if she can catch her own dinner

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A windy road in Paradise - Part 2

Staying in another remote location, The Cabezas de San Juan Reserve.
View was pretty good though...
Fajardo. Surely things would get better once we got to the mainland of Puerto Rico. We had heard that our local DNER partner had a spanking brand new 40 foot motor boat to take us around, and that they actually had gas for it. Though again, I should have known it would not be quite that easy (and frankly, something inside me was already sounding the alarm).

First warning came when our cab driver did not show up as agreed on in the early Monday morning. We lived by the remote lighthouse of the breathtaking Las Cabezas de San Juan reserve outside Fajardo, sharing the wilderness with only a few guards and a handful(?) of scorpions and native boas, not larger then 8 feet. When our taxi driver did a no show on agreed time we hiked down the 2 km to the guard station to explore our options. It turned out that no one is crazy enough to run a taxi service in Puerto Rico as early as 7 am.

Warning 2. Will caught this cute deadly scorpion during a visit to our bathroom 
Two hours later we showed up at the DNER office to find our boat captain. Stone face. The official at the enforcement office gave us a stern questioning look. "Hi, we are the habitat mappers from NOAA..." No reaction. I called up spanish speaking Antares, our local colleague working for the NOAA Coral Program, and handed over the phone. Our officer instantly came alive, gesturing rather wildly and while speaking a fast spanish. I picked out 3 words I had learned earlier during the trip:
problemo, manjanapossible. Not a good start. 
Robert Matos (DNER), together with Antares and Chris Jeffrey (NOAA) who had joined us for the day to get a first hand look at our habitat classification work flow. I could finally sit back and take some photos of other people doing the work
It turned out that the local coordination and communication had hit a new low point. The Rangers had both Monday and Tuesday off (Problema, Manjana) to rest in order to work during the upcoming long weekend, when they would be busy keeping track of  the party happy Puerto Ricans out on the water. That left us with one day (possible), Wednesday. As our undertaking was pretty hard pressed even with 5 full days of work on the water a reduction to 1 day was not a good one. We spend the rest of the day researching and negotiating alternatives. We managed to upgraded to two boat days, with a potential extra day, and the next day we where in business again working with another section of DNER. Finally, out of the planning and back in the water.
CJ and Antares taking over the work
Happy to be out of their cubicles!
Antares helping out with the habitat mapping.
A mix of the endangered staghorn coral and gorgonians (soft corals)
Will with 3 weeks of free diving in his back is getting some quality bottom time.
Suddenly we were surrounded by Boobies looking for a meal!
Exposed limestone outcrops in the land of birds and (hopefully) sharks

After a long day on the water I couldn't help getting... into the water. Me and Will went for a snorkel off our local beach as an unprecedented calm day allowed us to free dive on the exposed side of the Cabeza reserve. It felt very sharky but no finned friends turned up. Instead I suddenly got surrounded by a huge school of Tarpons and a few sharp toothed barracudas that arrived out of nowhere (pics below).
Large school of Tarpons and some barracudas looking for a meal
Ghostlike brain coral
We had two productive days once we got working. CJ from our group had flown down to help us, learn more about our work methods, and to prepare for the ecological assessment of the region starting next year. And our invaluable local colleague Antares came out with us as well for a day. Sure was great to have some extra help and share two beautiful days on the water. On Thursday when we had to take a day off due to lack of boat support again we where invited to go sailing with Antares and her boyfriend Mareano. Not having had a single full day off during the trip (its all relative) we jumped at the opportunity. We had an awesome day sailing from Fajardo to Culebra on Mareanos 44 foot sailing boat. I have to come back here and go sailing for a few weeks (anybody want to join me?)
The good life. Penelope Cruise and Johnny Depps desserted (but filled with tourists) Island in the background. We also passed by the black pearl waiting around for the next film(?) in Port del Rey Harbor.
Sailing in the Caribbean is just as nice as pictured. Damn, I'd like to do more of this!
Find 3 similarities!

On Friday morning we took the ferry back to Fajardo. Though we had a little late start our local fishermen Juan Sabat that we had hired for the day helped us achieving the missions most productive field day. The boat was pretty basic but he made up for it with stellar local knowledge and boating skills. We worked in sometimes knee deep coral infested waters without hitting the bottom once. We even found the time to investigate the Island where Penelope Cruz and Johnny Depp got stuck during Pirates of the Caribbean. This time it was filled by party happy Puerto Ricans content with the national sport of sitting in the water and drinking all day. 

Me, Juan and his small fishing boat in the background
View from the Lighthouse with the local keys and Culebra far off in the background.
Still lots left to map when we come back next time. 
Im slowly turning into an amphibian, time to go home... Got to love the tights though.
We flew home last weekend with a under the circumstances pretty successful mission in our back. And even though I already miss my daily free-diving and the salsa happy Puerto Ricans I am pretty content laying on the sofa all day today looking through the pictures from the last few weeks. Back to baking, commuting and gardening (it has turned into a jungle in my absence, though the house is definitely cleaner).
One year older as of this Thursday... Anna baked me a cake according to deeply rooted family Larsson traditions. Im all for it.