Today was the big day for me to accompany Dr. Hyatt to Lake Balboa to collect sediment samples. Balboa is a sinkhole lake that is one among many in its immediate vicinity. Dr. Hyatt has been working up a paper detailing the circumstances of the lake's (and others like it) formation from what data he can gather about its bottom and sub-bottom.
Joining us on our field work was a former student of Dr. Hyatt's named Cassey. She is majoring in Environmental Geography here at VSU and was eager to get out and do some hands-on work. An early 8am meeting quickly turned into a slight snipe hunt. Lead by Dr. Hyatt, we went back and forth from campus to his house and back again to round up various supplies he forgot. Cassey said that it was normal. Twenty miles down the road the lake stood. We loaded up our gear and launched the boat. A string of 20 meter apart milk jugs were are guides across the lake. Along the way the samples were collected in an Ekman(sp?) grabber. It's basically a box with teeth on one side that snap together to collect the very top layer of sediments on Balboa's bottom.
Poking along collecting the (sorry) poop-like sludge made for a great day. Cassey wrote down information on the samples and recorded the depth to the lake bottom while I manned the front of the boat using an 8-channelTrimble GPS system to keep track of where samples were collected. Flocks of white ducks floated near us, schools of tiny fish could be seen shooting through (and sometimes out) of the water, and a squadron of A-10 Tank Killers screamed overhead. It was an impressive site. I noticed out of the corner of my eye that an A-10 was banking out of the NW to the SE. There also flew another in the NE banking towards the SW. As the two jets tore the sky above us, a third followed in their wake. I'd hate to see one of those coming after my rebel faction.
The overcast and slightly breezy day only brought a minimum of showers that were more refreshing than a neusence. The Sun did manage to peek out enough to redden Dr. Hyatt and leave my knees with a crabby luster. Cassey escaped without so much as a Solar scratch as she sported her SPF 48 sunblock. After pulling all our rope in and taking the anchors off the floor of the lake our day in the field ended. I learned, got a tan, took some cool pictures, met another new person, and saw some neat-o jets. Not a bad day...
So as an added bonus, I leave you with tonight's twilight from Valdosta!