Happy New Year! Everyone has been telling me about the superstition that your new year is decided by how well New Year's Eve and New Year's day go. I think that's a load, but even if it were true, I'd say I have a good feeling about 2011. I think mainly because I've been thinking about it for the past 4 years, but I no matter what, I think it will be a good year.
It's been a few days since I've updated. I honestly have no recollection of the 29th of December. I'm pretty sure that I got off the rig at 5pm after being stuck out there for 24 hours. So the 29th ended with a beer and sleep. I know that on the 30th I had a night shift with Jason and the night drill team. We actually got core! It was unclear when we arrived whether it would be a successful night or if we'd just continue to track how the rig was moving via GPS. But for whatever reason everything finally just went totally to plan and we had a successful, busy and no-sleep night. The best kind. We felt so great, everyone was in such a good mood, joking around and working hard. I also got semi-addicted to hearts solitaire on the computer in the down time. Overall, great night. We didn't retrieve much core, but it was the first bit since I've been here.
During the day on the 30th I went swimming in the Dead Sea for the first time. It was great. I was really careful to not get anything in my eyes, but some splashed on my face and burnt my chapped lips pretty badly. I was talking with some of the drillers and they were saying that to set up the rig they had to spend the better part of a day in the water to put things together. That would be miserable. My 20 minute dip was well worth it though.
So jumping back, we got back to the kibbutz the morning of the 31st. I spent most of my day in a daze because I hadn't slept in close to 24 hours. I took a 3 hour nap in the afternoon, but I woke up to not miss lunch. I decided to go for the boat ride out to the rig with the night shift, but I had the night off so I didn't stay. We said hi to everyone, and I rode back with the day shift. My roommate and I have been on pretty opposite schedules and it's been a bummer because I really like her. So last night we hung out, got a beer at the bar and eventually other people joined us as we approached midnight. Then there was free champagne, strawberries and a few fireworks by the lobby. I crashed pretty close to 1am though, I was still running on very little sleep.
Then today Jason and I planned to do a hike since we weren't working. Moti showed us a good half-day loop. We were able to climb half way to the top of the mountains and then go up a canyon a bit and back down by several waterfalls. It was fantastic. The weather has cooled a bit so it's not too hot, just right for shorts and a tshirt while hiking. We saw tons of animals, it's all the same three-- capras, hyraxes and foxes. Then we stopped at the ancient synagogue, which dates back to the 1st century A.D. Unfortunately everything was in Hebrew so I don't really have a story to go with it, but photos are up on facebook.