Posted by: atomfullerene | July 25, 2008

Bodega Bay at last

Well, I am all moved in at Bodega, and now that I finally have some free internet time, I can make a post. I had a pretty good flight out here, starting very early in the day.  The most noteworthy thing was seeing this behind my airplane after I had landed.

It looks to me like they spilled some jet fuel while filling up the plane.  Glad I was already off of it.  Anyway, after another flight and a long bus ride (which went over the impressive Golden Gate Bridge) I finally arrived at Bodega bay and started doing Science.

They told me to stay in school so that I wouldn’t have to spend my days doing tedious repetitive work or laboring outside.  Yeah, guess what I am doing…

Still, it really isn’t that bad.  I get to travel to neat places and see neat things.  Even if I do tend to wind up doing things like grinding plant samples, making dozens and dozens of settling plates, and hauling a bunch of five gallon buckets of water here and there. But gruntwork aside, it’s pretty cool to be here.  In fact, pretty cool describes Bodega bay and its lab very well, both metaphorically and thermally.

The breeze blows moist, cold air from the cold ocean current offshore.  This washes up over the two or three miles inland, creating a thick, nearly permanent layer of low clouds and haze.  The temperature difference between shore and just a few miles inland is amazing.  It does get sunny here sometimes though, and when it does it is very pretty.

Bodega bay is also noteable for sitting next to the San Andreas fault line.  In fact, my dorm sits directly on top of the fault line.  I could practically cross the room into another tectonic plate.  It’s pretty cool.  I do like the dorm.  I am in a sort of barracks room, but only one or two other people are staying in here, so it isn’t problematic at all.  The furniture is new too.

The marine lab itself is a 25-30 minute walk.  Supposedly there is a shortcut across the dunes, but when I tried to take it I just got hopelessly lost.  I knew where I was, and where I was going, but I had no idea where the trail was.  I had to go offroad through the grass and scrub, which was inconvenient and time consuming, but pretty.
Lots of wildlife lives around here.  Swallows are nesting, deer and rabbits are everywhere, and someone even saw a mountain lion.  Here’s a rabbit I saw.

Now, when I say that there are a lot of deer, I really mean it.  Even Cades Cove might not have this many deer.  You see them every time you walk to or from the lab, and their scat is everywhere.  You can even smell them in places–that sort of petting zoo mammal odor.  I have a lot of pictures because the deer are always in your face, posing.

You get the idea.

Anyway, the lab itself is very nice, and also ENORMOUS.  It’s the size of all the three seas labs I have been to so far added together.  Nice facilities, with running seawater everywhere, wads of wet labs, a shop, a library big enough for a high school–all kinds of stuff.  All kinds of people too.

Here’s a shot of Bodega Bay itself.  Lovely, ain’t it?


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