Early rise this morning and ambitious plans for finishing coring at Nong Thale Pron before noon, because the weather forecast had predicted more torrential rains for around 1 pm. Early mornings are special – the light is different; the noises are much more subdued; animals walk the streets and don’t bother about cars; and life in general is down to a slow pace.
Heavy mist covered the surrounding limestone hills and veils of fog rose above the lake and when we arrived. Today’s strategy was that Kweku and Nut would first paddle out to get a surface core from the small boat, while we others would get the bigger boat ready. But, but, but – once pumped, the larger boat made a very well-known noise of air pressing out in large quantities. Using soap and water, we soon found some of the air bubbles and covered them with duct tape, but the loudest noise came from a different place, from the lowermost corner where the hard plastic at the back of the boat meets the long side and the floor of the zodiac. There – in this corner were two really large holes. How these had come into existence is hard to understand. Moo managed after hard work to fix the holes as good as possible using duct tape.
Our boats have had a hard time – four field seasons, exploring at least 30 lakes; packing and unpacking; coring, coring, coring; heavy loads with equipment, sediment cores and people; moving from dry to hot and humid climates, from no air condition to air condition … they really need a general repair now or maybe even a complete rest in the boat graveyard?
Around 10 am we finally managed to get out on the lake with the zodiac, hoping that the mending what help, that no water would get in and that the air would stay. The heat was close to unbearable – no wind, just sun and clouds. We could work for 2 hours, and then paddled back to the shore for a rest. But even on land the only space where we could find some shadow was the car. What a difference to yesterday! Another two hours on the lake in the afternoon and another four meters of sediment, but when we hit hard sediments and the corer started to bend, we gave up. Enough sediment to analyze!