Ocean waves off Kiritimati. (Credit: Xiao-Wei Quan, CIRES)

Beware of coconuts and crabs!

February 14, 2016
by Xiao-Wei Quan (CIRES)

KIRITIMATI ISLAND, Kiribati — The lagoon at Kiritimati is famous for sport-fishing. So far, I’ve seen only a couple of people that traveled here to fish. The people we’ve met here are mostly coming for non-fishing activities. Among them is a group of Australian hydrologists/engineers working on a project to improve the water supply system on the island. Today, we were very pleased to welcome two of them who came to observe the launch.

Paul (right) is showing the sounding system to Tony (center) and Phoebe. (Credit: Xiao-Wei Quan, CIRES)

Tony has done some careful analysis of more than 61 years of records of station rainfall observations on the island, and he shared his findings and the data. Very helpful! Thanks, Tony!

The coconut tree is one of the characteristic features of this island. We walk by several on the way from our room to the lobby where we get meals and access internet. The trees look pretty, but you better not walk below one or there’s a chance you could be hit by a falling coconut. Seriously, no kidding!

Observing the ocean waves is one thing we like to do when we’re not launching radiosondes. The waves can get pretty big. Sometimes the wave size may be related to a rainstorm. Sometimes it’s just part of the tide.

Though the crabs in Kiritimati are not as famous as those on the other Christmas Island (west of Australia), we see crabs almost everywhere. You don’t need to spend time looking for them, they come to you. While waiting for dinner (sometimes we may wait as long as 1–2 hours), we were greeted by a coconut crab in the lobby. We need to be careful when walking in the dark to avoid stepping on them. The crabs run very fast, but sometimes they just don’t react fast enough.

A coconut tree, and the coconut crab in the hotel lobby. (Credit: Xiao-Wei Quan, CIRES)

The file size of the blog is getting big, so I better stop here to make sure it can go through the slow and often unstable internet connection. Thanks to Paul for reading the blog and filling-in/correcting some technical descriptions and grammar.

Trying to send back data

February 13, 2016
by Xiao-Wei Quan (CIRES)

KIRITIMATI ISLAND, Kiribati — Paul knocked the door this morning and said, “The internet connection was broken last night, so I was not able to send out the data.” Plan B is to send the data by connecting directly using an Iridium satellite link. So, we set up the antenna in the rain, only to find out that the connection was unstable and not adequate for transferring the 300KB of data. We went to a local internet expert, trying to find other possible solutions, but the internet connection was out on the entire island. The only thing we could do was wait. Fortunately, the internet connection came back in the early evening.