November 16, 2010

Salalah And The Arabian Sea

The Salalah coastline, Oman.

After three straight weeks of work, we finally got a day off thanks to the local holiday Eid. At 6:30 am, we rolled on to the company bus and drove two hours southeast to the port city of Salalah. We had grand aspirations of spending the day roaming around town checking out the local souq, but after a) realizing that everything was closed and b) seeing the beach, we changed our minds.

Anyway, back to the reality of stomping geophones for the next three weeks.

We did manage a quick stop at this archaeological grave site. The 30 meter long cylinder in the background is believed to be the burial site of Jesus's Grand Dad. It's amazing, people really were taller back then.

After checking out the tomb, we got down to serious business at the Crown Plaza Hotel.

Welsted rented this board and caught a few waves in the Arabian Sea.

Hey man, easy on the photos, we gotta keep this break a secret.

A stop on the way home.

Finally, a picture without Welsted.

November 08, 2010

Rock, Sand and Camels

Often joked about but rarely seen. Ian Welsted Photo.

Two weeks in Oman and the desert is still exotic. I'm sure it will be a different story in a month. Working in the middle of nowhere. Well that's not entirely true. In reality, we're sandwiched between Marmul and Salalah. Haven't seen the former since we flew in and won't see the latter until we get the day off for the Muslim Holiday Eid on November 16th. Looking forward to getting out of camp and seeing the local color.

For now, it's just more of the same. Wake up at 5 am and head out in to the desert to spend the day laying out miles and miles of cable across the Jebel. This is the local term for mountains although these mountains are more like mounds. We've taken to calling it moundaneering.

Here are some photos of the camp and our surroundings. It's quite a challenge to get quality shots with all the safety vests and industrial gear. I'd say the Rockies lend themselves a little better to this sort of thing.

A rare Frankincense Tree.

Frankincense is tapped from the very scraggly but hardy Boswellia tree by slashing the bark and allowing the exuded resins to bleed out and harden.

Ben forgot his lunch one day and took off like a bat out of hell for this lizard. I have never seen him move so fast.

Camp.

A series of trailers otherwise known as home.

At night, the place feels like a distant lunar colony.

Sun rise and sun set are always special times in the desert.

The view from my room.

A few of us did a 30 minute rock ring workout (3 Metolius rock ring programs back-to-back-to -back) the other day and I haven't been able to move my arms since.

Sunset.

The Seismologists. Ian Welsted Photo.