I got into Vancouver yesterday evening.  My luggage did not, but the airline gave me a pretty substantial care package:  toothbrush, toothpaste, condom.  So yeah, that should keep me pretty much set for the next month.

Things of note:
1.  Gas is $1.42 here.
2.  This is for liters, not gallons.  Oops.
3.  There is a baby beluga in the Vancouver aquarium.
4.  Two blocks from the couch I’m sleeping on is a store that sells nothing but cupcakes.

This morning, I headed to the University of British Columbia to help Harry out with inventory.  Harry is a cool guy who (from what I gathered) is writing a textbook on how to build underwater robots.

A lot of people working with the Pavilion Lake project are faculty or grad students at UBC, so a bunch of our stuff is in the  Civil Engineering school here.  We were basically working in an enormous garage, fondly called the Rusty Hut, which houses a hydraulics lab.  There are hundreds of items that have to be inventoried … everything from giant buoys to secchi disks to AAA batteries.  I keep being amazed by how huge an undertaking this project is.  (Not to mention expensive.  The daily rental price for the submarines?  YOWZA!)

Also today we sliced up and shackled some really big chains (sparks flying everywhere!  wooo power tools!!).  They’re going to be attached to the two-ton blocks of cement which will serve as the anchors for the barge.  The barge is what the subs will be launched from, and apparently the barge is so big that we’ve arranged to block off a highway to get everything up to Pavilion Lake.

Obviously a lot of “real science” involves tedious tasks like inventories.  But inside the Rusty Hut is exactly how I pictured Science when I was a third grader: gigantic pipes and copper coils and even a door labeled with nothing but DANGER LASERS.

It is well known that blogging is the best cure for the airport doldrums.

When I arrived at the airport this morning, the lady at the baggage check-in looked at me and said “marine biologist?”  I was very excited, thinking I gave off some sort of field researcher vibe, before realizing that there is a pair of enormous rubber boots strapped to my backpack.

I’ll be sleeping on a couch in Vancouver for the next week, going to logistics meetings and packing up all our field equipment before heading up to Pavilion Lake.

Also, I believe today is Andrew’s birthday (thank you, Facebook).  Happy birthday!

Exactly two weeks from today, I’ll be in British Columbia, getting ready to head up to the Pavilion Lake Research Project–the first of my adventures.

Yesterday, during one of my now-frequent phone calls with friendly NASA folks, I learned that the Discovery Channel is going to be there filming us.

!!!!

Just thought I’d throw that out there.

Love,
Zena Cardman