The ferry plays fair It is a Christmas (Festivus) miracle! The ferry actually stopped at the pier without any fuss. I had been awake since 4 in the morning, trying to decipher the announcements over the loudspeaker for a hint as to if the ferry would try to dock.. The water was pretty choppy, so I had fully expected the ferry to do the Hachijo-shuffle; that is, skip Mikura and take a short 8 hour detour to Hachijo island before trying to land on Mikura in the afternoon.
Last minute supplies This was my one full day in Tokyo before heading out to the ferry tomorrow night. I’ve been staying at a friend’s house, eating pasta and sitting in chairs; two things I won’t be able to do for quite a while once I reach the island. We did some shopping around Tokyo, including a visit to the giant-mega-super stores Yodobashi and Bic Camera. These guys are 8 floors of electronics and gadgetry – a must see on any trip to Tokyo.
A long flight Ugh! What a long day. The flight was not too shabby – 14 hours, but time flies when you have an in-flight entertainment system. I watched 5 movies in a row with a couple bathroom breaks. It certainly helps pass the time. My luggage arrived with all of the research equipment intact. It always worries me that they will want to search through the camera case and take the MVA apart – surely it must look like a suspicious object to the x-ray technicians.
The gang’s all here DCP’s research season will start soon for both the Bahamas (DE and Bimini) and Japan. This means that all the researchers are gathered in Kathleen’s basement stuffing their equipment into sturdy luggage. In case you might be wondering, the key to securely packing irreplaceable and expensive equipment used for recording dolphin behavior is…underwear. Yes, underwear. To get the MVA (camera and audio array) to fit snugly in the case, it must be carefully supported and lined with soft objects that will protect it from bumps and spills that occur during travel.
Preparations begin for the 2006 field seasonIn less than two weeks time DCP will be heading back to the exotic island of Mikura to continue our research with the bottlenose dolphins that call this island home. This year, I (Justin) will be heading to the island by myself and will be joined by Kathleen in late June. At the moment I am getting mentally and physically prepared for the trip. I’ve also been trying to improve my Japanese – it is hard to say how well I am doing.