Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Well leave it to us to wait until 2 hours before we leave the country to report on it. Better late than never I guess! Jo and I have found Chile to be a bit too comfortable and suspect we may enjoy spending more time here in the future. Below is the view we have to put up with while mapping rocks in the Andes.

The people we work with are fantastic and we had lots of fun at camp. Our manager threw a Navidad barbeque for the gang so we had a local, and certainly free range, goat cooked up. No offense to the Mongolians we worked with, but this was waaaaaaaaaaaaaay better than any sheep. Here's a good shot of Jo and the boys:

And one of camp:

For the last week or so we've been back in La Serena. We had a chance on Saturday to do a little Christmas shopping and wander the streets:

Sunday we hit the beach. We decided to take a short road trip about 30 min. south to the smaller fishing village of Tolgoy. Now, when you go to the beach, do you bring a towel or blanket to sit on? Well not us. We brought pillowcases. Yeah, that's right, pillowcases. Don't ask. Now to top it off, the only sunscreen we had was the magnesium oxide; you remember, that stuff from the 80s you'd put on your lips that makes you look you stuck your head in a bowl of flour because it's so white? Yeah that. Well I tend to burn so I had no choice since Chile is sin ozone layer. We call this one mime on a pillowcase:

Joanna O'nassis in her Sunday best, soaking up the rays.

Keeping hydrated:

More pics from camp, La Serena, and the beach are up on the flickr site.

We're both excited to see friends and family over the holidays. Hoping to get some turns in on the slopes too! Feliz Navidad.....

Friday, November 17, 2006

We're Back!

But not for long! Here is summary of important items:

1. We've finished up work in Alaska - our last assigment at Kasaan was fantastic and new pics are up on the Flikr site, just click the "our pics" link at right to view.

2. We took October off from work to visit family and friends in Wisconsin, Michigan, Kansas, Oregon, and Colorado. It was a wonderful visit. We spent a fair bit of time trudging through snow in Michigan making Halloween costumes while in Kansas.

3. Our very good friends Spencer and Amy are now newlyweds and they threw a fantastic wedding in southern Wisconsin, photos will very shortly be up on the Flikr site. We all wish them congrats!

4. We have a new "permanent" job and have just arrived in Chile. Our office is located in the beautiful coastal town of La Serena though our field work and camp will be in the Andes. We will be in Colorado and New Mexico over the holidays, then back down south for the rest of winter and spring in either Chile or Mexico before heading back up to Alaska. Below is a pic of our lovely terrace overlooking the city and coast.

5. I just discovered several comments that were made sometime ago were not posted as they had not been moderated. I apologize as I didn't realize this needed to be done! When we get back from the field in a couple - 3 weeks we'll be sure to check this and hopefully add another update.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Ketchikan to Kasaan

We're in a hurry as I write this. Yesterday Joanna, myself, and another consulting geologist flew to Ketchikan. In about 1 hour we'll be taking the state ferry over to Hollis on Prince of Wales Island. From Hollis we'll be driving to the historic village of Kasaan. This area was host to the very first mining claim ever filed in the Territory of Alaska back in the 1850's or 1860's. Jo and I will be living in a double wide trailer right on the Kasaan Bay and choppering up to the prospect site to do a bit of mapping. We won't have access to the internet unless we drive to get groceries in Craig or Klawock. This is probably the last post until we head back to Ancorage sometime in mid-September. One of the nicest totem parks in Southeast Alaska is near the village of Kasaan so expect to see some photos when we get back!

Hawai'i - continued

Well, unfortunately I was unable to upload all the pics I wanted for the last post. The internet and our schedule just didn't agree. And I didn't have time to detail our drive to Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. We'll definately have to go back as hiking with crutches didn't work out too well. At any rate, we were able to see steam vents, the Kiluea Crater, rift zones, endless lava flows, and steam plumes rising out of the sea where fresh lava spills into the ocean. You can check out the rest on the flickr.com site by clicking the "our pics" link on the right of this page.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Hawai'i - The Big Island

After Returning to Anchorage, Jo and I were excited to spend a week traveling in Alaska. We considered taking the train to Denali, kayaking from Whitter or near Homer, or visiting Kennecott. Only one problem: RAIN. The forecast called for nothing but terrible weather for the week all over the state! Ugh.

On our way to see Talladega Nights (pretty funny by the way), we thought about putting some air miles to use. After the movie we made a quick phone call and booked two tickets to Kona, departing the next day! We got online, found a fantastic little 1 bedroom place for rent by a local couple, and packed our bags.
Because we had a transfer and overnight at LAX, we called some friends and spent a fun Saturday evening with them in Santa Monica. By Sunday afternoon we were on the lanai enjoying a refreshing beverage. Great stuff. The first pic shows part of the beautiful view.

By Monday we were here in Kekaha Kai State Park. Bliss.

Monday was a beach day mixed with a little hiking and a dash of snorkeling. 30 minutes of required walking tends to keep out the riff-raf and makes a potentially busy beach relatively secluded. At the tail end of a short snorkel, I looked over to find a sea turtle swimming within arms reach. Very cool.

On Tuesday, Jo and I scouted out Kona and had a lovely sunset dinner on the beach. We found new favorite local food, too. Poke is tuna sashimi with some seaweed, seasame oil, ground chilis, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and some green onion. Ooooo it is tasty. Highly recommended for any sushi lovers out there.

Wednesday we decided to check out Kealakekua Bay, the infamous spot where the famous Brittish explorer Captain James Cook was killed. It is also very close to where we stayed and one of the best snorkeling spots on the island. We rented a kayak for the morning and paddled our way out to the Cook memorial on the coast. It turns out that this trip is popular with just about everyone, but the crowds were confined to the put-in and monument areas. Once your head is underwater, you don't really care about much else anyway, since there are so many gorgeous fish to stare at! I wish we had a waterproof case for our camera, though I think Jo likes a spot where I'm not taking pictures of everything.

Wednesday night we decided to cheese it up and go to a genuine, 70's era resort style Luau. It was amazing! There were various Polynesian themed dances that would start very traditional, then bust into some crazy gig that was likely scored by the lovechild of Don Ho and Tom Jones. It was wildly entertaining and in all honesty the food was fantastic, with a traditional slowly roasted pig, more poke, and all sorts of tasty fresh fruit.

Since Tuesday my right foot had been sore. I blew it off until Thursday morning when I discovered it was unbearable to walk on. Jo finally convinced me it was time to go to the clinic. Here I must digress and explain how that on any travel break it is tradition that I get sick, hurt, or lose an appendage so that I have to go to the clinic at least once. This trip therefore is no exception. I was diagnosed with bursitis and told to stay off of my foot and keep ice on it/off it for 15 minute intervals. Let's see...coolers like to have ice, I can put my foot on it, and they go well with beaches...sounds like bursitis is working out well with the beach vacation theme! By the time we made it out there on Thursday however, I realized I should have considered how well crutches work in the sand. Not very. I managed to scoot at least 20 feet though and that was good enough for me!

Thursday, August 24, 2006


We have a lot of ground to cover.

After our last post, life got pretty hectic! And we had very restricted access to the internet. The combination of the two resulted in the title of this post, referring to our blogging! Regardless, we still want to throw in some updates when we can so I'll attempt to play catch up while being brief.

Following the wrap of work in Chignik, Jo, myself, Robert, Hans, and Andy moved the operation a few miles (100 or so) down the Peninsula to the town of Sand Point. This town is on a nice island (without bears!) called Popof in the Shumagin group. Sand Point is a metropolis compared to Chignik, with a large grocery and supply store, 3 restaurants, tavern, and a paved road! We stayed in the only hotel, the Anchor Inn. Andy managed a few nights in a very comfy B&B.

During the day, weather permitting, we flew to another prospect called Pyramid on the Peninsula, about 15-20 minutes away by air. Since Pyramid is a high point on a narrow part of the peninsula between the Bearing and Pacific Oceans, the weather is usually terrible. High winds, low ceiling levels and rain, which is typical of the Aleutians in general, is magnified here. We managed to map and sample for 4 and a half days before heading back to Anchorage. This pic below shows the best weather we experienced. Don't get me wrong, it's still a beatuiful place, it's just not very often you can see it!

Jo and I headed out on Aug. 8 back to Anchorage. Unfortunately the weather didn't cooperate with Robert and Hans who were scheduled to leave a few days later. They eventually escaped and got a few days of well deserved rest. Andy's on a new project, somewhere up near Elam I think. Andy, you out there?

more pics can be viewed on the flickr site, see the "our pics link" on this page.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Jo vs. The Volcano

We flew the chopper over Veniominof Crater several weeks ago on the way to one of our prospects. The center of the ~10km-diameter crater has an active cone, shown here with its plume and a glacier on the south flank.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


This was taken from our kitchen window. He was sitting on a lamp post enjoying what was left of a fish.

morning commute

So the trip to work each morning has been pretty fun. In the area we've been working in recently, we've needed to be up high to map. Yesterday we had some cloud cover (but no rain, hard to imagine now) so we couldn't get to the top of the hill. Our pilot Andy was able to get us just below cloud level though. He calls this a toe-in, when only part of the skids are on the ground. I was dropped off first when he had his other skid on the ridge and hopped out of the rear left. Then Andy spun the helicopter around to drop off Jo from the front passenger seat. Needless to say we've had a blast flying around! The views are amazing.

The net here is still really slow but we'll keep trying to put more pics up!

Sunday, June 18, 2006


So after over two weeks without internet, we're finally back online. We've been in Chignik now for over two weeks and have had the opportunity to fly over some of the most amazing scenery I've ever seen! Never have we seen so many towering waterfalls, one after the other, almost every few seconds it seems as we're flying. Many fall straight into the ocean or lead to a stream surrounded by nothing but alder and grass. Now and again there is the odd moose, plenty of bald eagles, and even sea otters laying on their backs just outside Chignik Bay. Of course, it isn't all roses, it's been raining since June 5 and has only quit for a few hours since. Field work can be rough and not all that fun with all the rainwear and gear we're lugging around, but we make the most of it. Haven't had to shoot a bear yet but we've seen plenty, even a few near our field area that the chopper pilot chased off for us. Words aren't enough so we'll try to get some more pics up soon. Our connection is quite slow so we may not be able to get pics up as fast as we'd like.

Happy Father's Day Dad.

Friday, June 02, 2006

few more pics

Went on a really fun ATV tour with Alaska Earth Sciences geologist Andy the other night. We buzzed up the road towards Hatcher Pass but it's still not passable due to snow. Apparently the state will plow it only after July 4, if needed. We also went down to one of the creeks in the valley to the south. Good fun. A couple of pics from this outing and from Jo's wanderings while mapping are on the Flickr site. She took a few nice shots of the old turn-of-the-century workings.

Monday, May 29, 2006

L-cky Shot

We're back in the field...about 2.5 hours by car north of Anchorage near Hatcher Pass. It's a gorgeous area and the rocks are nice too, with visible gold in many of the drill holes. I'll only be here till Friday, then head to Chignik on the Alaska Peninsula on Saturday to start work there. Jo will meet us in Chignik a week from today (Monday).

We're certainly not roughing it at camp. We have the good fortune to spend the week at a B&B that used to give tours of the old underground mine workings. Below is a pic of where we're staying.

When drilling started up again last year, the owner (also owner of the claim), stopped running tours and now hosts the work crew. Here now are 3-5 geologists, a handfull of geotech staff, and 4-5 drillers and helpers, the B & B staff, and our helicopter pilot. As the current drilling is on top of a ridge, the helicopter is needed to move people and equipment. When the rest of the snow melts the ridge top is accessible by 4-wheeled ATVs.

Yesterday was pretty crazy. The husband of a cook here tried to land his plane on the ridge near the B & B but got caught in a crosswind, swerved off course upon landing and flipped the plane when the nose hit a snowbank on the edge of the old tailings pond! Fortunately he walked away with only a bump on his head. Later that evening we got a front loader and helped flip it back over. He also was able to embed a rock just bigger than a softball perfectly in the center of the nosecone. The pics are on the flickr page if you don't believe the rest of this.

Jo's a bit freaked out as two grizzly bears were spotted about 1 mile away from her today by some hikers...and it's only her first day mapping! Scott (our chopper pilot) said he'd buzz the area though and keep an eye out the rest of the week. I'm glad I'm logging core...

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Over the last week we've learned about guns and bear safety. Today we got to hit the shooting range and try to shoot a bear in a mock charge. Fun stuff. I even passed the USGS qualification to carry a .44 Magnum. Yeeeeee-haw. A few other pics are up on the flickr sight. I'll put a couple of videos too if I can figure it out.


In Anchorage on May 23 it looks like this out our window.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Bird Ridge

We went hiking Sunday on a ridge roughly halfway between Anchorage and Girdwood off the Seward Highway. It's a popular springtime trail since it faces south and the snow melts before many others do. There are spectacular views of Turnagain Arm and the surrounding mountains. Turns out that Jo and I both need to get into better shape before field season!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

It's not over yet

Alyeska Resort in Girdwood is open for two more weekends, so we hit it up. Friend and skier extrodinare Tony Jenkins is visiting from Seattle after a 4 week work stint for NOAA on a research boat. I think he was a little anxious to do something active. Tony has skied 52 days this season, but yesterday was hit first at a resort. More pics are loaded to flicker, you can reach that through the our links pic on the right.

Happy Mom's Day Moms

We miss you!

Sunday, May 07, 2006


this time we have a pic

pics update

we put up some more cambodia pics and china pics. edited a few of the baruun naraan ones.

not much happening up here but work. getting rain now instead of snow. visited one of anchorage's long time establishments friday with the work crew. i won't review here as this is a family show.

Saturday, April 29, 2006


Last night we went here


Like the Anchorage suburbs, it's a sprawling maze, only with different bars. And it was packed. You have to have a look at the map on that site. I dunno if we'll be going back anytime soon but it was good to see just once. We got caught up on all the latest hits by Korn and heard "Pump up the Jam" in at least two of the spots at different times. Jo managed to woo at least 3 males during the amount of time it took me to take a leak or fetch a drink. Unfortunately, I didn't get any free drinks.

The highlight was our Macedonian cab driver whom we spent a half an hour philosophizing with in our driveway after taking us home. I'll spare the details.

I need some coffee.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

slide show

Create your own video at One True Media

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

we had some MOOSE in our YARD

no proof, you'll just have to believe me. we will look twice when taking the garbage out.


still fiddling with this thing. the placement of that slideshow thing on the last bugged me so we're just gonna post it. should also mention that we're continually adding more pictures and reorganizing the ones under the our pics link.

saw a few good ski jumps into the dunk tank at alyeska sunday. getting to know anchorage better day by day. but mostly just learning them rocks in the office.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

first post

howdy from anchorage,

lips and myself have finally gotten around to finding a place to put pics and stuff. this will also likely turn into a place to keep you informed about the wedding, whenever we figure that out.

well we're off to the slush cup finals at the alyeska ski resort in girdwood, enjoy the pics! miss you all.

oh, you can get to the pics just by clicking the "our photos" link over on the right of this page. it will redirect you to flickr.com.