Big Trees, Bad Snakes & Belligerent Pigs

As predicted, things have not gone entirely to plan.  Yesterday started with a reminder not to get complacent:  on Phil’s trip into town, he was waved down by a Costa Rican family with a seven year old girl who had just been bitten by a fer-de-lance.  The family was justifiably panicked, and fortunately Phil came along at a good time and was able to get the little girl to the hospital quickly.  She was doing reasonably well upon arrival, so hopefully all is ok.  The night before, most of us were picking our way back to our cabins late at night, in a driving rainstorm, with poor lights…and largely in flip-flops.  Fer-de-lances are hard to see in the daytime, more active at night, and often put on the move by heavy rain.  Yeah, dumb.  Not a mistake we will repeat.

On the science front, yesterday was about carrying a big ladder around the jungle.  Why, you ask, (and reasonably so)?  To measure the rate at which trees grow, you have to install bands around their trunks that can record increases in diameter over time.  Problem is, in tropical forests, those bands have to be placed above the giant buttressed roots that characterize a lot of tropical trees.  Hence our day of looking like confused firefighters wandering through a rainforest.

Playing about with big trees can take other forms as well – here’s Hana doing her tarzan imitation:

Sam and Phil missed out on the tree-swinging in favor of doing battle with a newly constructed soil corer  – one that unfortunately did not work as hoped, but at least it provided some entertaining pictures!

Last night was another good one on the Cerro Osa porch – some science, some reminiscing…and the use of local beer cans to make a histogram.  Yeah, we’re geeks.

This morning we said goodbye to Phil, before heading back out to dig more dirt (Sam and Hana) and add fertilizer to Adrienne’s trees (C0ry, Adrienne, and me).    Adrienne went one way while we went the other, and in so doing, she drew the excitement straw, having to endure a solo stand-off with a pack of grumpy peccaries.  Just another day in the life…


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