Monday, March 26, 2012

An old story about ghost nets

Just a little over a year ago, I was out on a survey dive with my boss at my old workplace at Lankayan Island. I can't remember what it was we were supposed to be looking for, but as I was adjusting my mask underwater, I nearly finned right into a ghost net.

You might be wondering, what's a "ghost net"? Ghost nets are fishing nets that have been left or lost in the sea by fishermen. These nets, often nearly invisible in the dim light, can be left tangled on a rocky reef or drifting in the open sea. They can entangle fish, dolphins, sea turtles, sharks, dugongs, crocodiles, seabirds, crabs, and other marine creatures, including the occasional human diver. :-/ (Source: here)

Upon finding the ghost net, we went along the line to find out how long/big it was. It took us nearly 40 minutes (the average time for a dive) to go from one end to the other and along the way, I noted at least five turtle skeletons, presumably from when they got caught in the net and drowned.

The damage to the reef was also quite substantial. We found many overturned corals, probably due to the movement of the net during storms.

So my boss and I went back to the island to recruit some volunteers (most of whom were divers in our dive group that week) and armed with scissors and knifes, we went back to the spot to try get as much of the net out as possible.

It took us four dives over a period of two days to clear the net. There were some left over that was hanging over a cliff at the edge of the reef. It was pretty deep at that part so we didn't continue. The waves were also pretty strong by then so by the last snip, most of the net drifted off into the open ocean. None of us could quite hang on to it. :-/

By the time we were done, most of the holiday for the other divers was over too. I remembered feeling a bit sorry for them because the work was very tiring and they didn't get to explore much of the reefs around the island. However, it was indeed a good opportunity to spread awareness on the effects of destructive fishing methods. All of them left with a sense of accomplishment and of course, free beer that night helped everyone make friends with each other too! ;)

A few days after, a tsunami struck Japan. But that's another story... :)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Endless possibilities *scoffs*

I saw something on Facebook which threw me back into a forever-alone-funk, so I texted a close friend about it. Here's what he had to say:

Which brought me to a picture which I got tagged in by another friend:

*Throws hands up in the air*

If I really do turn out to be a bi, I think life might still be the same. Unless girls like me more than guys. *Glares at EJ*

Saturday, March 17, 2012

No spend month: Week 1

Week 1: March 11-17, 2012
Budget: RM70.00
Actual expenditure: RM69.55

*Phew!* There wasn't any big events which required spending this week but I barely made it with my budget due to two things: lunches at Sushi King and NK Food Network. :( However, I thought that both times were good opportunities to socialise with new people, i.e. the new PhD student, Jessica, who will be sharing a lab and an office with me; and some Biotech undergrad freshmen!

Croquette with Japanese curry. It looked 80% like in the menu so I was happy. :)

NK's homemade beef burger - one of the biggest I've seen in Kuching!

There was also one point in the beginning of the week when I had to drop by the post office and spent quite a bit on courier charges. I wasn't quite sure if it should come from my budget or if I should separate it and put it under my bills etc.. I'm still not sure actually...but since I didn't blow my budget, it's alright I guess. :)

I must mention here that it's been overwhelming getting support from friends who know of my no-spend project and worked around it when it came to lunches and dates. Normally I'll be on a movie or dinner date on Fridays with a few non-university friends to catch up with each other, but this week one of them suggested hanging out at her house to watch The Big Bang Theory while finishing up her Chinese New Year stock of snacks and beer. Good stuff, that. ^^

Week 2 will start tomorrow. I don't foresee any big happenings in the coming week as well so I should be able to keep to the budget. We'll see!~

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The DMC-FT3 and DMW-MCFT3!!

They were not what I really wanted, but they will do as the dive season opens in Kuching. Ah, I'm so happy! All thanks to my parents who thought that by the time I saved enough, dive season will be over and I won't have any nice pictures to show in my presentations. ;p

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

They swim. It's really free. It's a beautiful thing to see. They sing.

The title of this blog post is from "Whale Song" by Pearl Jam. You should check it out because it's a funky cool rock song about whales and whaling. What I really want to post though, is a video of a whale, swimming free and singing its song. 

This film is an encounter with Sweetheart and her calf Heartthrob. An hour long encounter unique in the fact that it was the first time in our twenty years of research that a mother allowed a calf to interact directly with us in total trust. 

We name the whales mnemonically. We give them a name associated with a bodily marking or personality trait which helps us to remember and quickly recognise them in future encounters. 

Sweetheart, the mother, is named after a heart shaped marking she has near her dorsal fin. She is with her new calf Heartthrob who is only a few months old. Calves remain with their mother for about a year. Sweetheart had a calf in 1998 named Heartsong and a calf in 1999 named Heartbeat. The two escorts are also whales that are very well known to us. Their names are Nebo and Demi.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Coral mucus =/= guy semen!

Saw this on Kristen's blog:

Not from 9gag...!

And in agreement with most of Glee casts' WTF expressions...

Chris Colfer ends this because he is epic

I bloody work with coral mucus and I don't think they feel or smell like guy semen. Well, at least my supervisors never said anything about it and I pretty sure they're highly qualified to be able to tell (oh God I can't block certain images from my mind now...).

What is this I don't even... :-/

Thank you, Kristen.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

No spend month

Inspired by Georgette's No Spend Month, I'm gonna attempt this starting tomorrow. It's a pretty good time considering how my scholarship money should be coming in during the coming week (provided it's not late) and I need to save for a proper camera and an underwater housing for my research. By proper camera, I mean one that's not a toy. :)

Also, I figured that I should start saving for other things I might want to get later on this year. There's also at least two weddings I'll have to attend and they require air travel and accommodations. This year doesn't seem to be a cheap year for me. :-/

I'm going to budget myself at RM10 per day. Adding in phone bills at RM150 per month, parking fees at RM40-60 per month, and petrol for the car at RM80 per month, that totals my spending budget to around RM570-590. Scholarship money is only RM900 per month, so do the math. I might need a part time job. *Sigh*

Oh wait, I forgot tithing. That's RM80 per month. *salkdfja;slkfja;lkfj*

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Recesky TLR DIY camera!

It arrived today!! *Whee~~*

However, as I was looking through the contents, I was a little disappointed to see the instructions in Chinese. With me being a banana, I had to play the guessing game and rely on the pictures. :-/ 

Ching chong ling long ting tong!

I also read the Recesky TLR tutorial guide on Lofico while making it but since they only showed how it's supposed to look like, the shutter assembly took nearly an hour.

A bit later on I found out that there are some manuals online which has been translated to English. They are actually based on a Gakkenflex manual (the "original" DIY TLR) but since the Recesky is based on them, they do pretty well! (Source: here and here

There's also a video on how to fix in the shutter springs (the bane of my existence at that time) here.

Three hours and pretty red and sore fingers later, I've gotten it up and running!! :D

Yeah, I can't wait to get pictures with this effect, lol

I know, I know, I can tweak pictures without getting toy cameras like this. But hey, I really enjoyed the DIY (minus the hour of troubleshooting the shutter assembly!) and it is dirt cheap online. A shop at OneJaya, Kuching is selling the kit at RM140 but I got it on the LYN forums for a mere RM50 *cues evil laughter*.

So, I am very very pleased with myself today. ^^

After this, proper old-school film pictures!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

New "project"!

I swear, random buys will be the death of me. But there's much excitement around the house (and frowning from the parents)!

Saturday, March 3, 2012