Monkey Tracking Adventures (part 9)

17 Jan 09

As to how the new undergrads are: loud.  I know all about the dating lives of the guys in the next cabin now.

It’s another sunny day, hot for walking, but very pleasant otherwise.

Not much to report today, it was a pretty relaxed day for me.  Tony went out with his assistants to identify plants and check on how they’re flowering as a way to be able to estimate monkey diets.  I stayed in, and with no net and no radio work to do, spent time working on Arduino examples. A little pedestrian for the location, perhaps, but it was a nice break.

About 11 or so, he came back in, and shortly thereafter we took a walk up to canopy tower 2. It’s further away, about 2600 meters, which seems like nothing at home, but here, for me, it was a long hike.  Worth it, though, because the view from there is fantastic.  It’s a taller tower than the other one, I think, and larger. It’s wooden instead of metal scaffolding like tower 1, and surrounds the tree for more stability.  At the top there are three levels, a veritable tree fort.  It’s on the top of a ridge overlooking a lagoon, and as I said, has a great view.  I can see why the bird people love it.

On the way there, we ran across some leafcutter ants.  Pretty cool to see a long trail of leaf bits marching off into the forest. I got a few pix to be posted later.

While we at the tower, Heidi, who’s researching the photosynthesis of palm trees, came out to collect some samples.  In order to do this, she had to climb a palm, drag a saw up after her, and saw off a leaf.  No mean feat since the palm is 15-20m high and has no branches except at the top.  What she used was a pair of leg braces that clamp on to the tree and allow you to climb it one step at a time. The braces are attached to the tree by a loop of wire, and when you push your foot down on the brace, it tightens the wire loop and secures the brace whereever it is on the tree.  Lift your foot and you loosen the wire, allowing you to slide your foot up the tree. We had a good time watching her and catching the palm leaves.  Then we went down to the lagoon, had a quick paddle, and came back.  The shower I had when I got back was second only to last Saturday’s shower in its greatness.

Didn’t see any monkeys while we were out there, but Tony picked up one of the wooly groups, L group, on the telemetry unit, and was mighty happy. No one’s picked them up in a few days.

The main generator is still out, so all A/C is gone, and only the lab and the kitchen have power. There’s the occasional breeze, and a fan, so it’s plenty cool in the lab.

When many people are using the internet here, loading a web page is a bit like watching grass grow. I’ve been editing the same wiki page for the last hour and have almost made one change.

I’ve had crazy dreams since I’ve been here. Not sure why, but they’re all over the map. Some anxious, some amusing, most just plain weird.

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