Sunday, September 21, 2008

Back out on a Rock

I just couldn’t stay away. Last year was some much fun that I had to come back. And not only come back, but for a full 7 weeks, one week longer than last year. This year I’m starting a month earlier, which means that I’ll see more birds and different birds. I’ll try to post regularly, assuming I have the time, energy, and internet connectivity.

In this first post, I’ll tell you a little about the preparation for going out to the island. There are trips out to the island every 2-3 weeks to move people onto/off of the island and re-supply them with food and other supplies. What that means to me is that I have to going grocery shopping for 2 weeks worth of food for 4-6 people the night before I leave. Luckily PRBO (where I work, provides a truck, a list of food items (made by someone on the island), and a blank check. Usually two people go to make it pretty manageable. We are told to try to get everything on the list, plus anything we want to add (Cheez-Its for me), and to buy organic when possible. This time it took us 2.5 hrs to fill four shopping carts and spend $1,081. The food then has to be packed in boxes for the journey. We packed all the dry goods that night and the frozen/refrigerated items the next morning. On the morning we leave for the island, all the food and our personal gear is packed into the truck and we head for the boat.
At the dock

The boats that PRBO usually uses for supply runs are part of the Farallon Patrol, a group of boat owners that donate the use of their boats and their time. A lot of these boats are about 45' long sail boats, which may sound big, but aren’t. This year I was very lucky, because I got to go with some VIPs on a very nice 85' boat.

The boat

Once on the island, we have to move all of that food to the house and put it away. That takes at least an hour. Trying to fit all that food into three fridges and a freezer is a challenge. After the last of the food is put away, we’re finally free to go an look for birds. It’s a lot of work to pull it off, but in the end it's a small price to pay for the opportunity to spend time out on Southeast Farallon Island.
Arriving at the Farallones

Another shot of the boat

Happy to be back!


Julie Craves said...

Did you bring a razor this year?

koko said... got lucky with that boat!
how was nancy?

Andrew said...

Nice ride. Did you get to sit with the big wigs or did they make you sit outside? How long does it take via 45 ft as opposed to the big mama?

Mark Dettling said...

No razor, gotta conserve water out here and it's like my playoff beard. Nancy was great as always. They let me sit inside, but there were good birds so I spent a lot of time outside. A sailboat usually takes around 6 hrs.

Mia said...

What happens if you run out of Cheeze-Its!? I'm guessing there is a lot of pasta on the shelves. =)Glad you are making the most of life and sharing it with us.