Genovesa and Bainbridge Crater Lakes: a data logger’s death sentence

After a quick 24 hour turn around, Stephan and I headed back out to sea, traveling to Genovesa and Bainbridge crater lakes on my absolutely favorite ship.  The Pirata.  
 Photo by Stephan Hlohowskyj
Piggy backing off the coral trip, we only had 3 days to get a lot done.  At each site, we set out to obtain data from the data loggers we had deployed at each lake that have been measuring local climate (temp, wind, rain, sunlight) and lake conditions (temp, salinity, lake level, etc) since 2009.  We also needed to collect sediment and water samples from throughout the water column of each lake. 
And of those 3 days, over 30 hours would be spent at sea.  
Good luck wasn’t in our fortune, and we fought a current the whole way to Genovesa and lost our early morning jump on the day.  The hike to Genovesa was always brutal, long and hard and we’d need a full 12 hour day.
The “path” (very loosely speaking) is marked by rocks stuck up in Bursera trees.  With heavy, cumbersome packs, moving is slow.  Stephan used the machete to clear a path large enough for his tall pack frame piled with gear.  
Carlos makes his way through the Bursera. Photo by StephHlohowskyj 
Red footed boobies and chicks squawk at us as we awkwardly bushwack past.
Photo by Stephan Hlohowskyj

Fortunately, I couldn’t have asked for a better team to help me, and  we arrived in record time to the weather station at the crater rim.

Photo by Stephan Hlohowskyj
We dropped some of the tools for the station, and then real fun began: climbing down the couple hundred foot cliff to the lake.  A cliff made of unstable scree and boulders, my favorite kind. 
Photo by Stephan Hlohowskyj

Moving is slow and calculated.  The true masochist in me enjoys it *a little* 😉

Photo by Stephan Hlohowskyj
And face to face interactions with Magnificent and Great Frigates and Boobies nesting provide much needed photo op rests.
Photo by Stephan Hlohowskyj

Photo by Stephan Hlohowskyj

Photo by Stephan Hlohowskyj
But admittedly, arriving at the lake always brings relief and puts the upcoming ascent in a daunting perspective!

Photo by Stephan Hlohowskyj

Despite our poor coordination with the rowing (with an added 360 turn for every few meters rowed), we successfully gathered the samples!

Photo by Stephan Hlohowskyj
That was however, where our good fortune ended.  We could not read out data from any of the loggers.  None. Nunca.  SIGH.  

Photo by Stephan Hlohowskyj
Exhausted, overheated, and running out of water and time, this pretty much sums up how we felt:
Photo by Stephan Hlohowskyj
So somewhat defeated, we had to resort to bringing them all back to the states in hopes that the company can extract the data for us.

We sailed to Bainbridge in hopes of better fortune.

Photo by Stephan Hlohowskyj

Now I might be biased (because this is my main study site), but Bainbridge is always a site for sore eyes after Genovesa.  The “hike” if you can even call it that involves an (admittedly) awkward boat landing, but then you walk 50 feet to this view:

Photo by Stephan Hlohowskyj
And did I say flamingoes?! THERE ARE FLAMINGOES 🙂  And this time they were courting.  Absolutely hilarious to watch them prance back and forth (GoPro video to follow).
Photo by Stephan Hlohowskyj
But why Flamingoes??  Well because this lake is SALTY.  And I mean salty!  Over 3 times that of seawater.  Combine that with the fact that it’s shallow and mixed and you get one productive lake!!!  Mmmmmmmm….
Photo by Stephan Hlohowskyj
When do I get to be aired on “Dirty Jobs”?
Photo by Stephan Hlohowskyj
And where there is salt, there is rust!  So much rust that our weather station snapped in half:
Photo by Stephan Hlohowskyj

Photo by Stephan Hlohowskyj
Photo by Stephan Hlohowskyj
Thankfully, I was expecting this given its condition on our last trip, and brought all new parts for the station!  But we had to chisel the instruments off the old one….so lets just say it took a while and not everything is working as well as it should.  But it’s a beaute!
Photo by Stephan Hlohowskyj
So what I’ve learned is like most vehicles, loggers have very specific lifetimes after which time, everything simultaneously breaks.  Oh and hypersaline lakes make a particularly good instrument graveyard. 

3 thoughts on “Genovesa and Bainbridge Crater Lakes: a data logger’s death sentence

  1. Did you all figure out the compass problem this time?I can't believe that happened to the weather station! (OK, I can believe it, but thos pictures are still impressive…). Sorry to hear about the undownloadable data! 😦

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  2. So we *did* figure it out using the GPS…BUT in doing so we figured out that the sensor must have been affected from the fall because the direction doesn't work. :/And ha, yeah…you know personally how corrosive this water is. Your skin can attest!

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  3. So we *did* figure it out using the GPS…BUT in doing so we figured out that the sensor must have been affected from the fall because the direction doesn't work. :/And ha, yeah…you know personally how corrosive this water is. Your skin can attest!

    Like

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