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Panamania Just another Weblogs at Harvard Law School weblog

September 20, 2004

Flying. . .or close enough

Filed under: — crofoot @ 11:10 pm

Living on BCI, you sometimes start to go stir crazy and just need to get off the island. I work in the forest, except when I’m working in the lab, or sleeping in my room, leaving precious few places to escape to when I can’t stand to look at my computer or think about capuchin monkeys any more.

Boat rides are one way to get off the island. A couple of days ago, Andrea needed to look for seeds for one of her experiments. It was a perfect late afternoon, so we took one of the motor boats and went around to the back side of the island to search for them.

I think the hurricanes must be taking all of the moisture out of our weather patterns because even though it is the rainy season, and it should pour almost everyday, we’ve had two solid weeks of gorgeous weather. Sunny days with a nice breeze, which are somewhat detrimental to my work schedule.

The weather has been putting everyone in a great mood, except for Randy. He is studying the dispersal potential of forest birds, so he nets a bunch of birds, and then takes them out into the lake and sees if they are able to fly back to shore. I had always thought that birds could all fly, and had never really considered the different degrees to which that was true. Apparently, many of the forest birds don’t fly well at all, and have to be rescued when they crash land in the lake!!! Anyway, the reason Randy is grumpy about the beautiful weather is that when it is too bright, the birds (who spend their entire lives in the shade of the canopy) can’t see very well and get disoriented. On sunny days, even some of the best fliers crash land in the lake, or fly in circles, stressing themselves out. Luckily, he saw a tapir this morning, which is really, really rare and seems to have improved his mood considerably.

Yesterday, after too many hours staring at a computer, bashing my head against a mental block, I decided I needed to get away for a while. I couldn’t get off the island on a boat, so I decided to climb up to get away.

Andrea and I went up Fausto tower–one of the 7 40 meter tall ARTS towers that have antenna on top. The view was spectacular, and I surprised myself at how little trouble I had getting up (and down!). I was expecting to freak out half way, but I didn’t. It was amazing to be above the canopy, when you spend so much time staring up at it from underneath.

It was the most amazing feeling to clip your safety on to the tower, and let go with your hands and just lean back. There is a huge cell phone tower (twice as tall as Fausto tower) in the center of the island. Supposedly, from there you can look out and see both oceans. Weather permitting, I’ll be posting some photos from there soon!

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