10-08-2005 Macae

One lake done! As to be expected we are already behind (our very optimistic) schedule :- ) The day before departure we packed everything in the pickup and trailer which took us about 2 hours. It was a puzzle to get everything in. Every time I am amazed by the pile of stuff we are taking, we are definitely not traveling light.

Anyway, we got it all done the day before departure. We did some last minute shopping – because of course we forgot some very obvious materials – and were convinced that this time we would leave on the scheduled time. This would have been against Salga tradition, but anyway we were very much looking forward to it! Unfortunately some paperwork of the car turned out not to be in order: we had not paid a registration tax. Thanks to David and Tiago this was quickly fixed. Evidence of the payment was mailed by express mail but when the package with evidence 'A' did not arrive the next day we decided to take the chance. We printed some kind of payment confirmation that we could look up on the internet and with this evidence 'B' Vera escorted us to the fist lake. Of course we were stopped by the police but they were just looking for drugs and were not interested in the car papers. Luckily.

The day had passed by when we arrived at the first lake. The lake is called 'Coca Cola' but is also known as 'Iodada' but the municipality calls it 'Iriry' (to keep it simple). The lake is part of an ecological reserve and because of this we were told that we could not use the motor. Because we did not want to use all our energy in the first lake we were very grateful that Vera contracted a rower for us: Claude, the nephew of the owners of the hotel we were staying. A golden guy that helped us a lot.

Just to add some last minute stress we suddenly realized that we did not have an anchor!! Kind of essential when you want to stay at the same site for a while. Vera and Gige searched the entire town, but no anchors for sale. Finally they marched in to a family barbeque of a fisherman who lent them his own anchor for the coming two days without even asking their names. Nice to find such s trusting person!

Besides Gige and myself we had 3 new people on the team: Luciana, Leonardo and Korine. The international team caused a lot of 'Babylonian situations': mixtures of Portuguese, Spanish, English, Dutch, Westkappels and Bressiaans sometimes turned out to be totally incomprehensible even for the person that just carefully had formulated the sentence. With some extra communication effort everything went very well. We found a lot of macrophytes we had not seen in any of the previous lakes. I liked that a lot. The only minus was the sediment sampling. The lake bottom was composed of sand only. It was impossible to take a core and the top sediment samples were taken by hand.

Today we had a day with 100% effort 0% progress. First we got lost and arrived to the wrong lake (Cabiunas) 2 hours later then planned. We decided to start at Cabiunas anyway (this lake was planed to be sampled 2 days later anyhow) but after setting up the tent, calibrating all the equipment and losing liters of water and salts while trying to get the boot trough the macrophyte beds we gave up and aborted the mission. It was just impossible to get to the open water.

By this time we found out how to get to the other lake (Comprida) and by midday we had everything back on the car and left. One and a half hour later we got stuck in the sand with trailer and car. We needed quite some digging and the winch to get back on firm soil again. After that we decided to try another access via a fazenda. If it hadn't been for a nasty ditch that was crossing the trail we would have had a perfect access to the lake…

I am writing this update of our adventures at the field station of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. The people here kindly gave us access to all their facilities and now also explained us how we will be able to arrive to the lake tomorrow. So: to be continued….

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