Time to go to the beach, since I have the opportunity to visit the beach much earlier than most of my friends and family at home I thought I should probably check it out and pass along some pictures (just to rub it in a little). I drove about two hours to get to Wilmington, NC and went to Wrightsville beach. It was packed (of course) and I paid $2 an hour to park! But in the end at least I got a parking spot, I saw some people circle the block over and over again. I had lunch at a cute place on the water called The Oceanic and then claimed my little section of sand.
I can’t resist when there are waves, and it turned out to be a perfect day for waves! But big clouds were floating by and when they blocked out the sun it suddenly went from unbearably hot to kind of chilly with the breeze off the ocean. I made a couple forays into the water, but mostly parked my butt on the sand. It was a nice day but on the way home all of a sudden my back started to hurt, then my arms, then the backs of my legs and when I got home I was a hodgepodge of red and white. The spots where I had effectively applied sunscreen were my normal pale white, the spots where I wasn’t so diligent were lobster red.
Even though I can barely move without something stinging today I had a great time and it was worth it.
The first weekend I was here I decided I could not sit around the cabin, I had to go exploring. But where I was not sure, since the cabin does not have internet (I never realized my addiction to the convenience of a few clicks here and there to make life easier) I had to scam some internet time in the lab to be able to come up with a plan.
I decided that I would go explore some rock climbing, packing my gear just in case others might be willing to let me join them on the rock. Saturday morning I set out for Roxboro, NC which is about one hour away from Durham. The directions online said you came to a long gravel drive that leads into a farm. They requested that you kindly park on the road and walk in. When I arrived there were no other cars but I figured I would go stare longingly at the sun drenched stone in hopes that others may come later.
On the trail to the bouldering area I discovered some ephemeral pools with hundreds of tadpoles, I had trouble taking pictures of them because of the reflection of the sun but here are a few.
It was nearing high 70's when I made it through my tour of the climbing areas and I took a few pictures in the sunshine that I could send to friends from the north (to brag about the prime climbing weather).
Just when I figured I would head back to the car, I heard something rustle in the leaves. I know what squirrels sound like when they bound through the woods and that was not a squirrel. I waited quietly and scanned the leaves looking for another movement, hoping it was not some sort of poisonous snake or dinosaur (yes, the idea of those little terrorizing ones about the size of a bird from Jurassic park crossed my mind).
It indeed ended up to be a lizard (I'm pretty sure he is a lizard, from looking at his scales, but let me know if anyone knows better). I spent over an hour taking one slow step at a time to get closer and closer to the magnificent looking creature, he would glance periodically at me, probably annoyed I was disrupting his sunning.
After an eternity I was right in front of the rock he was on, I knelt down, put one hand on the rock he was on, and leaned in almost touching my camera lens to his nose, and 'click'. I took one of the best pictures of my life! Afterwards I sat next to him until he decided to leave and then I slipped quietly satisfied out of the woods and walked smiling to my car.
Yesterday was officially two weeks that I have been here at Duke University in Durham, NC. I feel like it was only yesterday that I submitted my application to the summer research program here and then waited the agonizing 2 months to find out if I would get the chance to do research with lemurs. Now that I've gotten the grand tour of the Duke Lemur Center and the lab I will be working in I still can not believe I am here.
Since I have arrived I have been staying in a cabin on the Duke Lemur Center property, it is located next to two of the free-ranging enclosures so you can hear the lemurs giving their alarm calls loud and clear in the mornings and early evenings. My mind had no idea what I was hearing when I first arrived because I had never heard a lemur before.
Since I have been staying at the cabin I have encountered many little creatures living around the place. Like some very cool skinks, little gecko-like reptiles, they are super quick to run away so many of my pictures are not nearly this good.
Also in my bike rides around the property I have encountered a beautiful fox, he does not seem to be afraid of me because we both stopped and stared at each other for a long time until he became bored of my incessant staring and wandered off. Hopefully next time we meet I will have my camera.