How happy I am about a Russian corer that has travelled more than 700 km from Bangkok by lorry, bus and boat to Phra Thong Island! Andrew went to the mainland yesterday to pick it up at the next bus station, to get more water supplies, and snacks.
Now we can make an attempt to core the tsunami sediments at the two other sites without having to pump the water out! Russian corers are made for soft sediments and have a hard time coring sands or any type of stiff sediments. But we guessed that the small corer would be ok and that it would manage the tsunami sands. And it worked! The first core we got up contained several of the soils and tsunami layers that Waw had described previously.
More coring at a slightly different place needed more muscle power to penetrate the sand layers, which seemed to be a bit thicker here. Too much obviously, because the corer was completely bent when the boys had lifted it up! I should have had these guys with me on the lake sediment-coring trip, instead of just Nut and me trying our best to push the corer in and drag it out!! Seeing the corer, which had just made its way from Bangkok, in such a state made my mood sink. But again, I had not counted on the boys! They just took the steel frame, unscrewed the blade (which I never had managed to do myself), stuck the corer in a hollow tree trunk and bent it back in its original shape – ready to use again! I guess they should get some extra course credits just for this!
With the newly repaired corer we could easily continue to the next trench, which was about 2 km away from Mr. Chui’s resort, and get more cores, and also more samples to date.
By the end of the week we had many good and interesting sediment sequences, despite all the difficulties we had encountered! Now it is up to Linda to make good use of all the samples, describe the sections in the laboratory, analyze them, and compare the results.
This tsunami fieldwork will stay in my memory for a long time: the fun we had, the nice team, the good food, learning a few more sentences in Thai (such as: I don’t speak Thai; or realizing that the intonation I have to say suai, which I thought means beautiful, sounds more like bad luck), all the efforts to get the samples, the muddy water, the snakes and eels, the Swede boys without whom we could not have done much, the beautiful beaches, the transport on Phra Thong, Mr. Chui, the spiders and the mosquitoes, the little boy Somadu, and the incredible heat.