Two more days. Less, actually..

By , July 19, 2010 7:52 pm

You got that right. I got another two more days to go until I’m flying out of here. Right now I’m busy with writing my report and trying to get it all finished before I fly off, to have a well deserved 2,5 weeks of vacation at the place of friends in Gordonsville, Virginia.

So, I mentioned before, I did all the research I had to do, worked out some of the results and I’m not busy to work all of it into my report. I’d say that about 90% is done right now and that the last 10 percent is coming along nicely. I got this evening and tomorrow evening to work on that, before I head out to Virginia on Wednesday at around noon.

Tomorrow’s going to be busy with something else. I got the chance to fly along with the helicopter once more, this time to get dropped down in The Everglades to see how people catch alligators and to help them to keep from getting bitten, so that’s going to be a real hands on experience, or hands off, if the experience goes wrong.. But let’s not think about that too much. 😛

To tell you guys a little bit about the GEER conference from last week.. It was fun. I got to see a lot of talks, I got to have fun with colleagues, I got to do my presentation about my project to my boss and several other people from the office, so all in all I can really say that I had fun there.

You might want to click on the picture to get a slightly better view, but you can see me here, standing in one of the presentation rooms at GEER, with the opening slide of my presentation, basically giving the name of my project.

The last couple of days are going to be busy, but fun! That’s for sure, just as fun as all the other days I’ve had here. It’s been and still is a great experience being here.

At GEER in Naples now

By , July 12, 2010 10:16 am

I’ll keep it short, as I’m in a talk right now, but I arrived in Naples last night for this week’s conference in the Naples Grand Resort Hotel. The con is called GEER. Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration. 5 days of talk about things happening in the Everglades.

And I’m here as a volunteer, having to do some work on the audio and visual side of the con.

Anyway, I’ll be here all week and will have some access to internet in the hotel. So send me an email sometime, or if you’d like to skype, send me an email with your skypename and I’ll give you mine and a time I’m available. Could be fun.

See ya!

You’ve been here long enough when..

By , July 9, 2010 7:25 pm

I’ve been here for quite a while now and I’m starting to notice things in my behaviour that I wouldn’t do or wouldn’t find normal when I first started here.

Example 1: When walking into the lab, I found it normal to see a man weighing a dead snake. Later, while I was busy doing my thing in the lab and turned around, I could see him dissecting the snake. I looked for a few seconds to see how he did it and then went back to my work.

Example 2: The tourists start to become annoying. Tourists stop for everything. If they see a bird, they stop. If they see a snake, they stop. If they see a branch that looks like a snake, they’ll stop. And it wouldn’t be that bad if they’d stop on the side of the road, but 75% of the damn tourists stop in the middle of the road. Right where the rest of the people are doing 55 miles an hour. Real smart, asshole, park your car on the side of the road!

Example 3: Other colleagues that have worked here much longer than I’ve been here ask me what button to push on the vending machine to actually get a Cherry Coke instead of a Diet Coke. Cause the machine sometimes gives Diet Coke instead of Cherry Coke. Although that could also just be a sign that I drink too much Cherry Coke and know the machine too well.. 😛

Celebrate with cake!

By , July 7, 2010 7:31 pm

Or rather, apple pie.. Dutch apple pie!

This is what the rest of my colleagues found in the lunchroom this morning.

Dutch Apple Pie!! Cause Holland made it to the World Cup Finale! And I'm celebrating! So feel free to grab a slice and celebrate with me.. Enjoy! -The Dutch Intern, Evert.

I may not be in The Netherlands right now, but that doesn’t mean I’m not celebrating! Let’s just see me as the Dutch representative of celebration in America when it comes to cheering for the Dutch team. :)

Want ja, we worden kampioen!

We’re through to the semi-finals!

By , July 3, 2010 8:52 pm

Congratulations to the dutch soccer team for winning from Brazil with 2 to 1. A good game, with an even better outcome. :) Now to see how we’ll be against Uruguay on Tuesday. I’m sure I’ll be sitting in the office with my ear glued to Radio 1 streaming from the internetradio. :)

But yeah, back to the important things, how am I doing here at The Everglades? Well, the alligators, snakes or bugs haven’t gotten me yet! So that’s good, I’m still able to go around and about.

I spent last weekend in Fort Lauderdale, once again.. The highlight of the weekend was checking out a shop over there where they had candy from all around the world, so I recognized a lot of candy from The Netherlands. I resisted the urges to buy a lot and only bought some Stroopwafels for my colleagues, since they like them so much.

On Monday and Tuesday I worked on my report some more, so it were two simple office days. Nothing much else to say about that, really. Other than that during these days, the tiles with sediment were drying in the oven, so I could start weighing them later the week.

It was on Wednesday when the tiles were dry, so I could weigh them for further comparison with other times I got tiles from the field.

The dry sediment in the petri-dish in where it will be weighed, of course, using a scale for the weighing. I'm not going to guess how much sediment is in there, cause I wouldn't be good at that.

It was on Thursday that we went out into The Everglades to get some more of my tiles for the very last time. It was the very last time I would be going to this part of the Everglades. Really, the end of my internship is slowly starting to come in sight.

We saw some more dolphins on our way to the site, these were swimming at the bow of the boat while we were puttering through a canal where you're not allowed to go fast. It was a great opportunity to see the dolphins. Hehe.

Me and Karen working on one of the tile grids in The Everglades, taking out the tiles with sediment and replacing them with some fresh clean tiles.

One of the tilegrids with a few more sediment on the tiles.

One of the cool things to see on the last day in the field for my project were the footprints of a raccoon, having walked right across one of the tile grids.

See the small footprint there in the mud of the Everglades? That's the footprint of a raccoon! Yes, they life in the Everglades, otherwise the footprint wouldn't be there, hmm? Smarty pants?

It was cool to see that footprint, but it was kinda sad to know that it was the last time I would be seeing the project that I started here. Or at least the part in the field, all the tiles that I laid out in the field.

Still, I’m having fun here, the end is coming in sight, my report is coming along nicely and the weather’s really good, although sometimes we got some big rain, for the rest it’s all good!

I'm still doing alright and so is the little blue truck! It's going to be too bad to not be able to drive that little truck anymore, so I'll drive it all the more while I still can. Vrooom vrooom!

Well, I’m going to enjoy the rest of my weekend right now, there’s a party this evening and I’m invited! So I’ll update the website sometime again in the end of next week.

See ya!

Here for 10 weeks and 1 day now..

By , June 25, 2010 6:50 pm

Yep! That’s how long I’ve been here already. 71 days in total. Or rather, 70 days and about 16 hours, but that’s getting into time details too much. 😛

As I already told and showed, I went shrimp fishing last weekend and basically was tired from that the rest of the weekend.  So I didn’t do much there. :)

During last week we did a lot of chores besides the normal office work that I do here, which is working on my report and other things. As we pulled our boat out of the water for its 100 hour maintenance check last week we stored it on the trailer at my house, so we could bring it to the shop on monday morning. Which we did, dropping it off nice and early for them to get working on it.

Tuesday was the big day, we would be getting a new intern at the USGS and Gordon and me would be picking him up from the airport at Fort Lauderdale. Although he wouldn’t be arriving until 8pm that evening. So we had the chance to stay in office during the day and join the potluck that was organized at the office for all the employees of the park. Everybody brings a dish of food and/or drinks and eat, followed by a meeting about the progress of things in the park.

Later that day it really was time to head out to the airport and pick up the new German Intern. It took a while for him to get through customs, but after waiting ‘only’ an hour and 15 minutes, he was free to come along with us, dropping his stuff in the back of the truck and driving back down to the park. Along the way we got a quick bite to eat at McDonalds, as it was 10:30pm at that time, dropped off Gordon and continued the way with just the two of us. Me driving and Oliver (the intern) sitting besides me, taking in the scenery. We made a quick stop at Walmart for him to get some groceries before we finally arrived back at the house at around 11:30pm.

Me at MacDonalds at around 10:30pm. First time I've been to MacDonalds in America and just as bad of an experience as every single other time I've been to MacDonalds, which was to be expected, as it's MacDonalds. Not a high quality of foods.. Nuh uh..

On Wednesday I had to bring Oliver to a  place where he had to get his fingerprints taken, which should take about 20 minutes, but all in all it took us about 2,5 hours to even get started with it, as we were sent from place to place, from person to person and still didn’t get any further, but we managed to get it all done in the end, which got a bit of a laugh from us, taking so long for something so simple. But I guess that bureaucracy for ya, or rather.. bureau’crazy‘.

Thursday really was the day of going from shop to shop for different reasons. The boat we brought in on monday was finished, so we had to pick that up first thing in the morning. As we got back to the office we had to take the starter motor off the airboat, which was broken and had to be brought in to a shop to get a replacement, but as we did that, we also brought the big white truck (which you’ve seen before and which I loooove to drive..) in for some repairs to a car shop. So I really did see a lot of mechanic-shops that day, but it was all good, it’s always fun to look around in shops like that.

Today, well, today is just another ordinary office day.. Working some on my report, I got samples of sediment in the oven to dry, which I have to check out this afternoon to see if they’re already dry. So, there’s lots to do, but it’s all good. And since we got our machette back from getting it sharpened, I can now chase after my colleagues again with a nicely sharp machette! Mwuhahaaa!

Sharp and ready for action! Well, at least the machette's sharp!

A new update next week, as usual! Have a good weekend! I know I will!

Been a while, hasn’t it?

By , June 21, 2010 8:50 pm

Yeah, it has.. Haven’t had that much time and didn’t feel the need to update the site last week, so I’ll do it right now. That way I can include what I did last weekend, which I think was pretty awesome! But first, last week!

What did I do last week? I didn’t do an awful lot during the week, at least not something to write about. But I went out into the Everglades on the boat on both Tuesday and Thursday.

On Tuesday we went into the Everglades to do some maintenance on some of the equipment we got set out there, mainly to keep an eye out on the waterlevels and other things in the Everglades. Nothing fancy, just checking how the equipment’s working, replace whatever needs replacement and making sure critters didn’t get to the wires.

On Thursday we went out to get another batch of my tiles out of the Everglades, with or without sediment on them.

See how this tile has a lot of sediment on there? And see how warm it is in the mangroves? Oh yeah, it's not just all fun and games when I'm out in The Everglades! It may look like that, but at times it isn't! Most of the times it still is a lot of fun though. Hehe..

And now for the thing that I did on friday night! I went shrimp fishing! That’s right, shrimp fishing! A couple of persons here at the USGS own a shrimpboat and have other people on that that do the actual fishing for them. Aaaaanyway, I was offered to come along on a night to go fishing for shrimps.

So after work during the day on friday I did some preparing, getting some food ready to take along on the boat and made my way over to Coconut Grove where I met up with the people on the boat. At around 7:30pm on friday evening we went out onto the water of Biscayne Bay and started fishing.

A fishing boat drags nets across the bottom, although right now they’re still on the side of the boat, as we were still going out to the place where we’d go fishing. Biscayne Bay.

The guys on the boat first showed me how things were done, giving me the chance to take some pictures and see how things were done. Then after a couple of times of watching how they were doing it, I gave it a try myself.

See? I ain't doing half bad! Sorting out shrimp as if it's my job or something. But it isn't, just visiting and seeing how it's done. Hehe.

We caught quite a bit of shrimps during the night and at around 4 am we slipped back into the docks of Coconut Grove where we handed the shrimps over to the person selling them as bait, but not before I got a few shrimps for myself for dinner on saturday! After saying goodbye to the captain and his helpers, I drove back home and arrived there an hour later at around 6 am in the morning, being more dead than alive. So after a quick shower I dropped into my bed and didn’t get up until 4 in the afternoon on saturday.

But the fishing sure was an experience I’m not forgetting anytime soon! :)

As promised.. Some photos!

By , June 12, 2010 7:17 pm

Reporting to you, life from the Starbucks on the corner of US1 and Palm Drive is me, your dutch guy live out of America! Dumping some more photos for you people.

I checked out a couple of abandoned buildings with a friend of mine and we stumbled across a room that looked quite creepy. An old laboratory, it seemed. I wonder what kind of experiments took place here. :)

We had a lot of rain at one time. And I happened to be in the car on the parking lot of Walmart, stuck in the car, cause it was raining too hard, way too hard.

More rain! All the water poured down in less than an hour. It was really a lot of rain.

It's me! Looking at you! In America! 😀 While you are in The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France, England, or perhaps even America! I don't know from where you're looking at me.

We got some great evening skies over here! This one having a cloud the shape of England covering the evening sun.

I get to drive this truck at times. RAWR! I like driving big trucks like this. I really really do.

Me and my housemate, we had a bit of a feast with food one night. I made the steak, grilled on the bbq, the corn on the cob and the mashed potatoes and my housemate made the noodles, chicken and the mushroom-sauce for that. It was YUMMY!

Get a truck, a good camera, a tripod for said camera, a flashlight and of course a remote for the camera (thanks again, bro!). Start the camera and run around the car with the flashlight! If you do it right, you end up with pictures like this one. Creepy looking truck is creepy looking!

That’s all for now again! I’m going to drink some more coffee at Starbucks and will see you all later again! Buhbai!

It’s really warm here, even with a cold..

By , June 11, 2010 10:20 pm

Yep! You read that right! I got a cold. My nose is clogged, my throat is sore, my limbs are feeling sore and I basically feel like a wreck at the moment. Typical symptoms of a cold. It’s over 30 degrees Celsius and I’m the one constantly bringing a handkerchief op to my nose.. How fun! NOT!

Well, at least I’m still walking around and getting things done, right? This week there wasn’t a day we had to go out into the field, so I spent the week in the office, working on my report, drying the collected sediment that we got from the field, today I weighed the dried sediment. But I’ll not go into that much, cause it’s boring to you anyway.

Because of the week spent in the office I don’t have any photos right now, also cause I don’t have my laptop with me right now, so I’ll have to upload some photos later this weekend.

Oh, before I forget to tell, last weekend I went to Fort Lauderdale again and on sunday we went to the Sawgrass Mills Mall. Which is a HUGE mall close to Fort Lauderdale. An absolutely huge mall. We spent quite some time walking around in there, going from shop to shop and in the end I got myself some swimshorts (they’re checkered!), a tanktop and a hat (it’s from Vans!) and a few other things, so it was quite the productive and fun day! And we had dinner at The Cheesecake Factory, which is a place where they serve all kinds of food, but the main attractions are all the different cheesecakes, ooh boy! That was some good food over there! 😀

So, all in all I  had a good weekend and a rather quiet week this week, but with my cold coming up on tuesday and getting to a peak on thursday, any other kind of activity other than office work would’ve sent me down to my bed to lay down and recover.

Ok, here’s a promise that I’ll get some photos up for you either the weekend or next monday. For now, I’m going to celebrate weekend! By sitting at home recovering from my cold. :)

Still enjoying myself here!

By , June 4, 2010 8:38 pm

I haven’t been updating the site in a while. The last time I posted anything is now well over a week ago, so it’s about time for at least a little bit of an update.  Not that much has happened since the last time I posted.

As the title of this topic already says, I’m still enjoying myself here. It’s all still great fun. I’m counting the weeks until I have to get back to The Netherlands and already I’m thinking that I’m running out of time to do all the things that I want to do.. I still wanna go places, see things, do things, take more photos of things as well. And since I’m staying the last 2 weeks of my time in America at friends in Virginia, I ‘only’ got about 6 more weeks to do the things I want to do in south Florida before I’m flying to the state of Virginia.

Anyway, back to the present, or rather, the past.. What have I been up to over here.. Last week friday, I went out into the field with two of my colleagues, with whom I went radio-tracking to look for a Burmese Python. We found it too! It was pretty awesome to see. A good 6 to 7 feet long and seriously pissed after one of the guys held it by its tail to keep it from going away. Coiling up on us and drawing in deep breaths, accompanied with a lot of hissing to warn us. The sound was absolutely amazing! And the way you could see its whole body inflate and deflate.. Damn! Such a cool thing to see, if from a distance.

The Burmese Python that we radio-tracked and found slithering through the forest. It's amazing how well camouflaged these snakes are.

As last monday was Memorial Day, I had a three weekend. Which I spent relaxing. Or well, saturday, me and a housemate took my truck and rode for 1,5 hours to get up to Shark Valley (click here to see Google Map), a different part of the Everglades National Park. It has a 14 mile long bike-trail with a big watchtower in the middle, giving you a look across a small part of the Everglades. It was a little touristic and we didn’t see a single alligator, even though they’re supposed to be there plenty, but still, the bike ride itself was kinda fun. And I sure loved racing down the road with my little blue truck. :) The rest of the weekend was spent not really doing much other than getting some groceries from the store and basically just lazing around around the house or head out into the park, taking photos of stuff.

The workweek started on tuesday, which was an office day, so not much interesting was done that day. On wednesday, I helped a guy from the USGS with his research about fish. Basically going along with him and writing down the length and weight of watercreatures he caught in a trap, after setting them free again. It was on thursday where we went out in the field again to do some more work on my tile-project. Driving down to Flamingo, getting out onto the water with the boat, doing the research in the actual mangroves in the Everglades, then getting back to Flamingo with the boat again before driving to the office again. Days that we’re out in the field aren’t half bad! I like those kind of days. :)

Just about ready to go ashore! Safety first! Always wear a lifevest on a boat and hold on to the railing! Especially when it's going across the water at 25 miles an hour..

Ship ahoy! Almost ready to get back out on the water again! Boat's loaded up and the work is done!

While we were out in the field yesterday, today’s an office day, so I got some time to work on my report and make a quick update here, so with those two pictures above here as a last treat just before the weekend, I’ll end this update again. I’ll talk to you all later and will see you again some other time, but only here, cause this is where the action is! For you at least. :)

For me it’s in Florida!

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