We’ve been at the French research station CRIOBE for two nights now, and we’ve been enjoying our stay. Since we arrived on a Friday afternoon, the station has been quiet and we’ve been taking it easy. But plenty has already happened!

While Jerome and I were packing for our trip, we left nothing to chance. We’ve both been to some remote research stations, and they tend to be outfitted with the necessities – but not much else. Our work is relatively equipment intensive, so our baggage looked like this:

the gear

That doesn’t include our personal checked bags or any carry-on. Needless to say, getting this all to the station was quite fun. Even without the massive numbers of bags, traveling with science gear makes airport security even more wonderful. There’s nothing quite like holding up a hundred anxious people while I prepare for the x-ray by taking three computers, a microscope, and multiple cameras out of my ‘personal item’. Or like watching them all go right by me on the other side while I get a special pat down and I explain to TSA exactly why my stuff triggers the explosives detector. Of course, such a conversation is always incredibly enlightening:

“What’s this big black metal object?” (referring to the microscope’s fluorescent light source)

“It… makes light?”

“Oh… Ok. Move along”

Meanwhile, our checked baggage apparently needed a little extra explanation as well. We imagine this is why one of our boxes did not make the trip with us. It apparently caught the next flight, however, and appeared at the station even before we made it ourselves!

Waiting for our ride to CRIOBE at the ferry terminal


We spent one night in Tahiti before traveling to Mo’orea

Since our arrival on Mo’orea, we’ve gotten a few different tours of the station, and have been wowed each time. CRIOBE is very well equipped. So well equipped, in fact, that we will be able to complete many analyses that we previously had planned to put off until our return to Oregon. This is very exciting because we will be able to process our samples to a point where they are much more stable for the flight home.

Our accommodations at CRIOBE

We’ve taken advantage of the slow weekend to explore the island a little. We’re looking for a site to set up our experiment: it needs to be flat, accessible, and not prone to disturbance by random other people.

Here’s one potential site:

This one isn’t as flat as we’d like it to be and could be a little too close to a boat ramp. The search continues!


A Tahitian man we met on the beach near this site told us that this part of the island was called the ‘head of the lizard’. He also recommended that we try the local beer


The island is covered in Hibiscus

All in all, we’re in pretty good spirits, and it’s not hard to see why!

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