I haven't figured out the name of the small crater that we are going to, but I have it written down on a piece of paper in my coat in my room.
Today Jason, Paul and I are going to join a field mapping course that is going on in the south of Israel, in the Negev Desert, at the small crater (there are big craters too). Amotz is a geologist at the university in Tel Aviv and he leads a week long field mapping course for 2nd year geology students, and we will join them for a day or two to check out the geology.
Otherwise, they are moving the drilling platform from the middle of the Dead Sea to offshore by the kibbutz. There have simply been a lot of weather problems preventing the team from drilling at an efficient capacity, so they hope to bring it closer to the shore in order to bypass bad winds and waves as much as possible.
Originally the team wanted to get the deepest core possible at the deepest part of the Sea, then when they were unable to penetrate deeper than 450m, they wanted to start a new hole to try to fill in the gaps missing from the first hole (you don't recover 100% of the sediment when you drill), and potentially go deeper. This is where they hit problems and we moved from Hole A to B to C...until we finally ended with Hole H and it started working again. We've drilled 40m or so in Hole H and now they want to move to onshore in order to correlate the layers they find in the middle of the Sea with their stratigraphic counterparts close to shore. Today they are moving the platform and setting up, so we are not missing any work as we go for our field trip.
The big bad news is that my roommate, Elitsa, had her computer bag stolen from out front of our room. She has had a string of bad luck. She was using my dad's camera in the lab to take photos of the core and document everything. That camera went missing last week and it seems that it must have been stolen. Then my dad asked that I give her my camera so she could continue to work, so I did two days ago and yesterday she had her camera, my camera and her computer in her briefcase when it was stolen. She set it outside our room on our front table, was in the room for 10 minutes and when she came out it was gone. She's been really torn up about it. At the hotel they have very little that they can do. So I won't have a camera to take photos for the rest of the time I think, but I will be with people with cameras, so no problem. I just feel really bad for her.
The past couple days I have gone out on the day shift. It would have been nice if we could core, but somehow the weather decided to change and get windy during the day as well. Steve the driller didn't drill while the winds were very strong because they are on to their last drilling tools and can't afford to break anything. So two days ago all we did all day was watch movies, waiting for the wind to go down. There were three drillers, me and Jason, all stuffed in the drillers cabin around a laptop--needless to say, a cozy situation. Cozy, stuffy and dark. But it was fine, just lazy and kind of a bummer because the winds never let up so we didn't get anything accomplished. Then yesterday the morning was pretty windy, but by the afternoon it was nice and we were able to core a little bit. Mainly salt, but some mud. It's very slow to core through the salt because the tools have a hard time cutting through and retaining it all.
On another note, I'd say that emotionally and socially I've been doing well. I'm overall being quite outgoing and keeping in a good mood. When I got here everyone was pretty burnt out and within my first week I'd say it only got worse. Things weren't working well, everyone had differing opinions and plans were changed all the time. It was a stressed out and negative atmosphere a lot of the time. I was still fresh and happy and just glad to be here so I did my best to just go around an be happy and smile a lot and talk to people. That's what I've managed to keep up for the most part and I like to think it helps a little. More recently I've gotten frustrated at times and I'm tired of hearing people complain and be negative. But when that happens it is usually short lived.
It's crazy to think that I've been here for 2 weeks already. I only have one week left. The project is continuing later than originally expected, so I might end up leaving the project early in order to travel a bit, but a part of me feels like I should stay and help as much as possible. I definitely plan to come back to Israel, so if I don't get to see everything I want to see then I will have opportunities later. It's great. I'm a fan.