Saturday, October 29, 2011

OK, More Blogging (Including Bats)

At the time of writing this, I’m sitting just outside Male Airport waiting for my flight to Qatar, and sweating profusely. I took the 1 hour and 10 minute flight from Gan to Male that spans the entire western side of our northern balloon sounding array. The array very roughly forms a square and includes Colombo (Sri Lanka), Gan Island where I stayed for two weeks, Male, and a ship. The ship had been the R/V Revelle, but it has temporarily left its station. Hence, our sounding array has temporarily broken down. The flight was about 350 miles, and very roughly gives you an idea of how long our sounding arrays are on one side, although this distance is shorter than the distance between most stations in our two sounding arrays.

For much of my time on Addu Atoll, I was very disappointed that I could not get a good picture of the Addu Atoll Flying Foxes (bats). These things could carry off a small dog. Well, my luck changed while waiting at the airport for my flight. One fellow was sitting up in a fruit tree right outside the airport terminal, munching away.These bats are endangered just for this reason. They eat fruit (e.g. mangoes, papaya) and are hence killed by farmers protecting their crops. Most of my in-focus pictures feature the bat with a mouth full of food and hence the animal has a dopey and un-dignified look.

Here is a slightly out of focus picture without any eating involved. Now, doesn’t that look more dignified?

The Maldives are truly an amazing place. I took this picture on the plane to Male showing a few of the thousands of atolls making up the Maldives. The shapes of the landforms range from linear to donut-shaped, often with a deep abyss in the center. I snorkeled on my last day along the edge of the abyss that forms the center of Addu Atoll. It was a truly amazing experience.

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