Saturday, February 6, 2010

VAPoR field testing - Day 8

Pack-up day today, so the last hike down to the dust bowl. Finally, I saw one of the native protected nene-birds!

The weather was great, crisp and only a slight breeze, ideal packing conditions. We started off right away and with a 15 minute interruption for the morning meeting we were done around 9 AM. That went a lot quicker than anticipated.

After saying goodbye to everybody we worked with and thanking the PISCES, Norcat, and NASA folks for their great support, Jim drove VAPoR and us back up to the visitor where the Mauna Kea Support Services van was waiting for us already. MKSS did a great job in receiving our boxes and driving them up the mountain when we arrived and now they're taking care of getting it back down to Hilo for the shippers to pick up. That was of great help!

Around 12.30 we we're done with loading the van, showering (even 4 hours on the field site is enough to fill everything with dust again), and packing our own luggage, which was about 3 hours earlier than anticipated. Time to explore the island.

This time we went right on Saddle Road and took the through-route to Kona. Very pretty, but definitely not the main road, but a good way to quit a bit of the interior of the island. In Kona we had a great fish (ono, or in Jack's words: "Oh no") and chips lunch (didn't know that fish and chips actually could be that good) at the patio of Quinn's. I took the opportunity to buy Kona coffee beans directly from a grower who happened to be in the bar. In any other country I probably would have thought it it be a bit sketchy, but it still seems to be a good deal.

We drove back taking the "regular" road (you can't really call it a high or freeway), along the coast. It's an interesting route from Kona back to Hilo, the Kona side is really dry and volcanic and at some point you cross the boundary between leeward and windward site and it turns from meadows and dry patching into rain forest.

The second part of the drive led us over about 20 small streams and waterfalls. Very pretty.

Back in the Naniloa hotel we met up with Kris and a few others to go for dinner and we ended the night on the patio of the hotel, discussing the field testing over a bottle of scotch. Good ending of a successful week of field testing! We even made it into the Hawaiian Tribune-Herald with the field campaign.

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