Thursday, September 27, 2007

Moon Over Raglan

My first post for a while - only 6 days till I go home now. This shot was taken looking east from camp. As you can see it is getting pretty winery here now. It is still not too cold, I was working out side in a T shirt for a while today. I expect it will turn very cold, very soon.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

SPM Day 5

Well time has flown, 5 days already! We were booked to leave on the late boat back to Newfoundland, so we had until about 14:15 to do a last bit of exploring. I still had the little circle mystery to solve, or at least find evidence supporting the leading theory. After the customary visit to the Patisserie/Boulangerie we headed for the east side of town. We found many wonders, including an abandoned airport was was partly converted into a housing estate, A ship wreck, A beach covered in old car wheels, the garbage incinerator (pile of burning garbage) and the answer to the mystery... The giant circle munching horse! Yep, it looks like the circles that can be seen on SPM in Google earth are made by horses tethered out to graze in the open areas around the edge of the town of St. Pierre.

After Lunch We went to check out the cemetry, there was a very nice garden in front of it. It is a fine example of how many of the public gardens look in St. Pierre. They obviously put a lot of time into these gardens, but it is well worth it as really make the place look special.

SPM Day 4

Sorry for the delay in updating my blog, we got back back a bit late after climbing and the blogging sort of fizzled after that, so now that I am home I'll do all my updates at once.

Day 4 we had set aside for trying the crag we found on day 2. We picked up Boule (round loaf) of bread, Some Pain au Chocolate and some little strawberry tart things and headed for the rock. Here Michelle and Lewis are crossing a dam which is half way up the hill to the crag. I think the dam might be an old Hydro electric dam, but may mow supply water for cooling the oil fired power station at the bottom of the hill.

I have no photos of the actual climbing, as I was either climbing, or belaying most of the time. Michelle took some climbing photos which she may post on her blog later.

Here is a annotated view of the crag.
We set up our first anchor at the top of the red line in this image. We used one existing piton and really went to town placing our own protection with a total of 3 nuts and a tricam (it was our first gear anchor) The red line marks the approximate route we climbed. This section of the wall is pretty easy going, probably a 5.6. It is quite positive and has some big horizontal cracks and ledges, a good place to bring young climbers.
After a lunch of bread and cheese we set a second anchor, at the top of the blue line, There was no existing protection here, but there were some nice cracks to place nuts, so we went to town again and put in 4. Lewis and I rappelled down, but it looked like it would be a bit of a mission to set up safe top belay here and the rope was running over a big edge so we couldn't bely from the bottom, so unfortunately we didn't climb this one. I think it would be a fun climb, there is also a nice potential climb the the right, marked in yellow, it starts on a face then goes up a v groove to the top. There looks like there is lots of potential on this crag, so it is defiantly worth taking a rope and some gear if you are a climber heading to SPM.

After a day out on the crag we returned to town for an ice cream and a bit of a walk about. We found this very strangely shaped house, this corner is only about 30 degrees! There are a number of oddly shaped buildings like this in St. Pierre, I guess that space for building in town must have been at a real premium at one time, so they used every inch they could. Most of the homes are detached, but only just, many homes are only inches apart, I was wondering how they paint houses that are that close together. The only way I could see would be either with a roller on a very long stick (but sometimes there isn't even room for a roller) or by dismantling the wall from the inside, painting the siding then rebuilding the wall.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

SPM Day 3

Langlade, Grand Barachois and Miquelon.

We set out early on a boat trip to Miquelon and Langlade. when we arrived we took a minivan tour of the two islands that were united by a sand bar (The Grand Barachois) about 200 years ago.

There have been a number of farms established on this sand bar, some lay abandoned while some are just starting up. This View is looking north from the sand bar toward the Island of Miquelon.

We traveled to and from Langlade on the St. George, which transports goods and passangers to this island where many of the residents of SPM spend their summer. Since there is no dock at Langlade we landed with the aid of a Zodiac which took us from the St. George to the Beach.

Here we are boarding the Zodiac, to head to the St. George, the green boat in the distance.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

SPM day 2

Today We headed into town, picked up a bagget, and went exploring, First we stopped at this light house that we has seen from the ferry on the way in yesterday.

After Mooching around town for a while we decided to head for the hills. I am on a bit of a mission the find somewhere to climb here. I searched the internet for info on climbing here, but there was nothing to be found. So, is this because there in no good climbing here? I would find that hard to believe given the geology and the coastal exposure.
It was a bit of a climb, so we stopped for a lunch of Noodles and French bread half way up.

After a little more Hiking we did find a reasonable looking crag with some climbing potential. The rock is solid and looks pretty nice to climb. We decided to hike up to the top to see if there were any good places to set some anchors for a top rope system.

Well, I guess we were not the first to look at this rock and think about climbing it. This is an old Piton that had been hammered into the rock as part of an anchor used by a previous climber. There were 5 pitons here, a group of 3 and a group of two. They all seem solid, and we will may well use some of them as part of our anchors (backed up with our own gear) when we have a go at this crag on Friday. I can't wait to get back out there, looks like fun for the whole family with moderate routes proably in the 5.6 to 5.9 range.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

What is this?

In the google earth image below there are a number of circles - what could they be?
I think I have an idea, I'll go and check it out and get back with an answer.

View Larger Map

Saint Pierre.

Today we Left home, drove to Fortune where we caught the ferry to the French island Saint Pierre.
Looks like it is going to be an interesting trip, at a first glance the place looks much like any small town in Newfoundland, but as you walk around town there are many things that are strangly European, and of course everyone is speaking French, Just like being back in Raglan!
Posted by Picasa

A refreshing break

After arriving at Saint Pierre today we grabbed a case Oringina and a bag of Madeleines Coquilles and headed for a hill behind the town. We found an old dam, which was a suprisingly comfortable place to stop for a snack.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Food Fishery

Although Cod has been under moratorium in Newfoundland since 1992? there is an Annual food fishery. During this fishery people are allowed to catch a limited number of fish for personal use. Generally people go out in small boats and fish a few Km off shore.

This year has been a bit strange, there was a massive amount of ice early in the year and this has effected our weather and I am sure will have some impact on marine ecosystems. The Caplin, a small very numerous fish used to spawn on the beaches around here in july, but for the past 10 years they have been getting earlier every year, now they spawn in june. This year they spawned in june, but are spawning again now in August. I am not sure what the impact of this is in the big scheme of things, I guess it is just their way of dealing with the changing ocean environment. what evey the case, it means that there are caplin near shore during the food fishery, and cod like to eat caplin. I figured that I'd try to take advantage of this. Lewis and I went down to middle cove and did a bit of beach casting. I figured that if I could cast out behind the schools of caplin I might stand a chance of getting a cod. Sure enough, after hooking a handfull of caplin (two on a single hook at one time) I had a big tug on the line and after a short battle I landed a nice cod, this was soon followed by another. Lewis caught a load of caplin, hopefully he'll get a big one next time we go out.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Tundra Flower

I have not been blogging much recently because I have no internet in my room.
Yesterday there was almost no wind so I went for a walk to photograph flowers, unfortunatly the slowers I was interested in are finished, butI found thid little one, These white flowers grow in aread where cryoturbation has braught "soil" or pulverised rock to the surface.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 23, 2007

Thanks Merci

I'd like to say a big thank you to good people here in Raglan that made my Birthday one to remember. Being away from home and family is tough, any day, but especially on birthdays.

The shot above is of the notice board here in donaldson camp. It seems to be tradition here to post a birthday poster like this for every birthday in camp, just so every one knows. I was getting birthday wishes in both official languages all day.

To top it off only of the cooks made a fantastic Birthday Cake - very good!

Thanks everyone.

Je voudrais dire que un grand vous remercie à de bonnes gens ici dans Raglan qui a fait mon anniversaire un pour se rappeler. Être parti de la maison et de la famille est dur, n'importe quel jour, mais particulièrement sur des anniversaires. La photo ci-dessus est du panneau de notification ici dans le camp de donaldson. Elle semble être tradition ici pour signaler une affiche d'anniversaire comme ceci pour chaque anniversaire dans le camp, juste ainsi chaque sait. J'obtenais des souhaits d'anniversaire dans les deux langues officielles toute la journée. Le compléter au loin seulement des cuisiniers a rendu un gâteau d'anniversaire fantastique - très bon ! Merci chacun.
Posted by Picasa

Mr Caribou

This Caribou was taking a break from migration and eating some of the nice lush sedges growing by the Bio Disk (Sewage treatment plant) quite close to camp.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Tundra Sky

It is now a month after the summer solstice and the Sun is setting at a more reasonable time and it actually gets dark at night now. Because the we are so far north the sun does not just slip down below the horizon, it skims along it, slowly sinking below it. This means that the rich evening light, a time refered to as the "golden hour" by some photographers actually lasts for more like 3 hours.
Posted by Picasa

Donaldson Camp

A few nights ago I went for a walk on the hill behing camp, here is the view. Lots of nothing hey! Well there were some interesting rocks, Pillow basalts in particular - I'd have taken some photos, but my Camera battery died.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 13, 2007

Caribou ( Tuuktu )

Lots of Caribou around here now, when it is not foggy I can see perhaps 100 from my window, but they are all moving, migrating north. These were part of a long string making their way across the tundra.

The weather was great when I arrived, about 25C and sunny, now it is about 1C, windy and foggy.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

On the Road again

Left St. John's today, I'll be in Montreal tonight and off to Raglan Tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Ant Macro

Ok, this is my second try posting this image - last time it showed up fine on my computer, but apparently didn't show up an anyone else's computer.

Yesterday I was building a rock wall in the garden, as I moved rocks I kept finding red ants warming their larvae under the rocks heated by the sun. As I disturbed them they would rush around to put the larvae in the shade, either under another rock or down a hole.Watching these I remembered my reversed lens and decided to have another go with it. The working distance is only a few cm and the depth of field is very shallow, but the price was right!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Torbay to Raglan

I have posted this map to clarify the location Raglan in relation to Newfoundland. While Raglan is not a lot further north than Northern Labrador it is significantly further North than most of the province, including the island of Newfoundland. Raglan is also at an elevation of about 600m so the climate is quite a bit harsher than that of Newfoundland.

This map was stolen from Google Maps

Pingualuit Crater Mystery solved

1.3 Million years ago a chunk of rock flying through space hit Northern Quebec with the force of 8,500 Hiroshima atomic bombs, Since then things have cooled down a bit and the crater has filled with water, there is no water flowing in or out of this crater, it has been catching rain for the last 1.3 million years. Along with the rain water it has also trapped pollen, from plants in the region, and dust from the atmosphere. These sediments have been keeping a record of our climate for at least 120000 years.
An international team led by Laval University in Quebec City has recently returned from the Pingualuit Crater and hopes to unlock 120,000 years worth of secrets about climate change. For more information on the research going on at this crater have a look at this article, recently published in the globe and mail. This article was published on may 25th - which is when my original post started to receive so much attention.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


This was the View from my window a few days ago.
Posted by Picasa

Snow Bunting

About 3 weeks ago these little birds started to appear up here in Raglan, now there are loads of them. They are apparently snow buntings. When they first showed up there was nothing but snow up here, I have no idea what they were eating - I guess they were probably just waiting for the snow to melt. Well now the snow is going fast, the snow outside my window had dropped about 5 feet, only another 10 feet to go!
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

My View

With the snow still up to the roof here most of my view is the inside of a snow bank, however there is a cave melted by the air rising from my open window. The view is always changing as new icicles form, sometimes gathering snow as storms blow by outside. The cave works well for letting light without it being totaly blinding, it also stops the wind, a bit, so I can have my window open even if it it windy outside.
Posted by Picasa


With the warmer weather our precipetation is getting wetter, two days ago we had a blizzard, but it was blowing a very sticky mixture of sleet and snow. This is a view of one of the trailers where the night shift workers sleep. As you can see, it is fairly well coated with ice. Just imagin weather like this in a city!
Posted by Picasa

Internet dish

This is my link to the internet, how I am posting to this blog, checking my email, chatting to family and sending my data to the ofice. Now that the weather is warming up here the snow is getting more sticky and has been forming a layer of ice on the dish, so during storms when everyone is in camp and wants the internet the most some brave soule has to venture out onto the roof and scrape the ice off the dish.
Posted by Picasa

Big day for Pingualuit Crater.

On May 25th I seem to have had a unusually large number of visitors to my blog, 125 in total, many, I think were looking for Pingualuit Crater, some specifically for pictures of said crater. I don't know why it is suddenly of so much interest. Any one visiting here looking for the crater leave me a comment - I'd be interested to know why you are interested in this crater.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


Sadly we are not doing anything as exciting as launching a rocket. Nick and Terry are conducting a probe test in a test loop we have laid out in Raglan.
We take readings with the probes in an area that we know to be free of conductors, this allows us to accuratly calibrate the probes.
Posted by Picasa


Last week We were testing some equipment, and enjoying a great spring day in the tundra.
I was messing about with my wideangle lense and got a rather interesting of Nick, the wid angle really exagerated the nose and chin.

I ran a high pass filter on a copy layer in photoshop, made the layer monochrome, and pumped up the contrast, then reduced the opacity of the copy layer. This filtering exagerates textures and variations in contrast.

As a side note: similar filtering it used in the processing of geophysical data, though not the kind we are producing here.
Posted by Picasa