Tuesday, February 2, 2010

VAPoR field testing - Day 5

Even though we decided not to go the field site today, the alarm went off at 5.45. Still dreaming very vividly, wondering if it's the altitude or field excitement. Apparently there was some shaking going on last night, but I think I missed that.

Our initial plan was to pack up quickly on Friday and go to Volcano Nat'l Park, but since we didn't have instrument today and had to pick up our spares in Hilo, we decided to drive down early this morning.

Danny started the day with a very exciting helicopter ride over the volcanoes and even spotted a humpback whale, while I was hanging out in the sun in downtown Hilo, trying not to think about Fedex pushing our luck by shipping both the spare instrument and the new transistors in the same plane.

Wailuku River, Hilo

Hawaiian boats

The next stop was Volcano National Park in Volcano where we wanted to collect samples of the gas venting out of the volcano.

Not really what we planned to do...

After asking official National Park Service permission to get a gas sample (we're in the US after all and you never know whether collecting a gas sample in a bottle is different from collecting one using your lungs) we went to the steam vents at Sulphur Banks.

Gorillas in the mist?

There I very bravely walked into the vent to collected a sample in the gas bottle we prepared yesterday.

Duty was done now, time to get some impression of the scenery. We were on the rim of the Kilaunea caldera, but unfortunately the circumventing road was closed for the largest part due to volcanic activity.

A short walk led us through the Nahuku/Thurston lava tube, which was impressive to see, but a little overloaded with too pasty tourists (I guess we've been on the mountain for too long already).

We finished our trip on the Pu'u Huluhulu 1969 flood planes.

Back in Hilo we found a really cute place where we got a very good lunch (enough to make sure that I only needed a salad for dinner) and when we were nearly done, my phone rang with the relieving message: "Hello, this is Fedex, your shipment has arrived".

Luck was with us today, and a million thanks to John Westberg, Dan Harpold, Chris Johnson, and Paul Mahaffy for shipping this new instrument out (and thanks to the experiment from which we're stealing the RGA)! Time to drive back up to Hale Pohaku and back to the field at 21.30 to turn the system back so we can start running first thing in the morning.

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