Saturday, April 25, 2015
Friday, March 20, 2015
The Mara is amazing low right now. We estimate the flows at around 1 m3/s at Purungat Bridge (see here for the water level data). The zebra and wildebeest had no trouble crossing the river.
Unfortunately, the low flows are probably contributing to the cholera outbreak in the upper catchment. Read more here - Bomet hotels closed over cholera outbreak and here - Two die of Cholera in Bomet.
Thursday, March 20, 2014
2:50 pm - Alternator bearing froze in the middle of the Mara. We had already been suspicious of the new sound coming from our engine, and a friend's mechanic had checked it out, diagnosed the problem, and determined we could safely drive the 2 hours to the nearest town. We broke down a few hundred meters later.
2:53 pm - We had already ordered a new bearing from Nairobi as soon as we heard the diagnosis. Determined we couldn't get the part from Nairobi until the next day. Called our mechanic in Narok, 2 hours away, to source a more local alternative.
3:07 pm - Called our field assistant in Mulot, 1 hour away, to look for a back-up option.
3:11 pm - Called our friend whose family owns a shop in Aitong, 30 minutes away, to look for a back-up, back-up option. The closer the towns, the smaller they were, and the less likely we could find the part we needed, but it was worth the try.
3:49 pm - Determined a used alternator from Narok was the best/only option. Sent all the money we could (not enough) via cell phone to our mechanic to purchase the alternator.
4:05 pm - Our mechanic left Narok on a motorbike with the used alternator, heading for the Mara. The roboticists and I went to hang out with our friends we had been visiting. Chris, like a true sea captain, wouldn't leave the vessel, and insisted on sitting outside the gates in the afternoon sun with the Land Rover.
6:49 pm - Our mechanic arrived at our Land Rover in the Mara. She (the Land Rover) and Chris are outside the gate, and it's starting to get dark.
7:30 pm - Chris rolled into our friend's place, new (used) alternator in place and the Land Rover purring like her normal self again. Decided it was too late to drive, and a great opportunity to spend more time catching up with friends, so set up our tents for the night.
4 hours and 40 minutes from breakdown to repair in the middle of the Mara-- not bad! Of course, we have some great friends to thank for their help in getting things running again so quickly, and having a comfortable place to camp for the night. In Kenya, logistics are all about who you know, and how easily you can contact them. I can't imagine having worked here before cell phones!
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Wouldn't be a true safari experience without a breakdown! Alternator bearing froze approximately 500 meters after a mechanic told us we could make the 2 hour drive to town. Fortunately we're near some friends who can help out, and we're pulling out all our logistics tricks to sort this out... wonder where we'll end up tonight...
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
|John and Chris from Platypus rigging up their robotic boat|
|Robotic crocodile cruising the Mara|
|Deploying the boat for a test run|
Saturday, March 8, 2014
|Biofilm growth in tiles in the streams|
|Biofilm growth on rocks in the streams|
|A rock covered with algae|
|Geemi changing water in the streams|
|Geemi doing outreach about the streams|
|Geemi, the unsung hero of the experimental streams|
|Hippos basking in the Mara River|
|Eric collecting a pore water sample from the Mara|
|Jonas and Eric collecting a sediment core from the riverbank|
|Jonas and Eric on the banks of the Mara|
|Jonas and Eric collecting a sediment core in the savanna|
Friday, March 7, 2014
|Build-up of rotting hippo feces and in a tributary of the Talek|
|Emma and Chris collecting water samples in the Ntiaktiak River|
Sure enough, we did find optical brighteners present at certain sites in the river, but not necessarily where we expected them. This is an exciting new tool to have, but as usual with new methods, it only raised more questions for us.
|Emma testing for optical brighteners|
|Collecting hippo feces from hippo pool surveys|
|Amanda and Emma at the Mara Serena airstrip|
|This is what 6 tons of sand looks like|
|David showing off his dam-building skills|
|Our completed dam|
|Our dam the following morning|
|Breaching the dam|