Author Topic: Hello from Madagascar - Errr...Ethiopia...Canada...56k, no f'in way  (Read 14726 times)

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Offline jutes

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Re: Hello from Madagascar - Now with Afar Region, Ethiopia content
« Reply #50 on: October 18, 2010, 04:49:27 PM »
I was literally mobbed by beautiful women in Tuliar,

*jutes scans expedia.ca for cheap flights.....


Offline pistachoo

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Re: Hello from Madagascar - Now with Afar Region, Ethiopia content
« Reply #51 on: October 18, 2010, 05:47:49 PM »
jutes, the quote is incomplete:

I was literally mobbed by beautiful women in Tuliar, then again everyone is since it's a orewhay port.  Excellent location for people who can't get laid in the First World.
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Offline snackers

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Re: Hello from Madagascar - Now with Afar Region, Ethiopia content
« Reply #52 on: October 18, 2010, 05:58:02 PM »
I don't see how the complete quote changes things for jutes.

Offline MRS.Bignerd

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Re: Hello from Madagascar - Now with Afar Region, Ethiopia content
« Reply #53 on: October 18, 2010, 08:09:29 PM »
I still want the lemur from page one... my offer stands though, 10$ CDN!!

Offline mudferret

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Re: Hello from Madagascar - Now with Afar Region, Ethiopia content
« Reply #54 on: October 18, 2010, 10:49:37 PM »
Wow. That looks insane. I thought 47C was hot in the desert in Israel... but 55C! That's ridiculous.

Who do you work for again? and what're you looking for?

I work for a consulting company, but the client is looking for potash.  Potassium enriched salt(s) that are used in fertilizer.  A lot of the mineral ID is done by taste, apparently one salt tastes different from another salt.

Offline mudferret

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Re: Hello from Madagascar - Now with Afar Region, Ethiopia content
« Reply #55 on: October 18, 2010, 10:51:48 PM »
I have worked in both ends of the spectrum...-65ish at the North Slope, and +58 at Shearness Power Plant; I would waaaay rather work in the cold.  The heat becomes so unbearable that it drives you nuts.

Very true, you can at least dress for the cold, and be comfortable.  Being comfortable in extreme heat involves too much undressing, and you're still uncomfortable.  The nomads must have glycol for blood, 35C and they're cold!

Offline mudferret

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Re: Hello from Madagascar - Now with Afar Region, Ethiopia content
« Reply #56 on: October 19, 2010, 12:52:06 AM »
Tonight brings a camping trip to the Erta Ale volcano.  The helicopter will be dropping 4 of us off at the summit with our sleeping bags, sandwiches, beer, and cameras to spend the night.

Here is a google pic search for Erta Ale, I'll be sure to post pics if we aren't encased of a tomb of lava come morning.

http://www.google.com/images?q=erta+ale&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=univ&ei=Xj-9TNKBA5GOvQPT9YhS&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&ct=title&resnum=2&ved=0CCwQsAQwAQ&biw=1032&bih=649

Offline YvanF

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Re: Hello from Madagascar - Now with Afar Region, Ethiopia content
« Reply #57 on: October 19, 2010, 09:23:34 AM »
I work for a consulting company, but the client is looking for potash.  Potassium enriched salt(s) that are used in fertilizer.  A lot of the mineral ID is done by taste, apparently one salt tastes different from another salt.

Going mighty far for potash when 70% of the worlds potash is currently in Canada's backyard. Our friendly neighbors to the east (Sask) are sitting on quite a gold mine!

Offline 2.5RS

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Re: Hello from Madagascar - Now with Afar Region, Ethiopia content
« Reply #58 on: October 19, 2010, 05:43:38 PM »
for sure not what you think of when you think of africa at all

but thanks for sharing the stories and the pictures
since I bought my Subaru guys keep waving at me, should have bought one YEARS ago haha.

Offline mudferret

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Re: Hello from Madagascar - Now with Afar Region, Ethiopia content
« Reply #59 on: October 20, 2010, 12:30:48 AM »
Going mighty far for potash when 70% of the worlds potash is currently in Canada's backyard. Our friendly neighbors to the east (Sask) are sitting on quite a gold mine!

The Afar Region is a hotbed, exploration is ramping up again since there isn't a war right now.  It may cost a lot to get here, but what makes Africa such a commodity power house is the associated costs, a small fraction of what it costs to explore, develop, build, and operate a mine in Canada.  Not to mention that a country like Ethiopia is the perfect geographical location for building a supply network.

BHP, among others, is heavily exploring the area. 

Offline mudferret

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Re: Hello from Madagascar - Now with Afar Region, Ethiopia content
« Reply #60 on: October 20, 2010, 02:38:35 AM »
Slept on a lava flow about 100m from the edge of a bubbling lava filled caldera last night.  Should have brought my good camera, but I should know by now to bring it, and my POS camera when I travel.  There aren't many volcanoes in the world that you can get this close to, has a lot to do with it's type, and composition.  Tourists pay HUGE money to get here, we just took our "sky taxi" and were there in half an hour.

Being close to the Eritrean border the occasional batch of tourists is taken hostage; for this reason there's a small militia village near the summit.  With the road being washed out right now we were the solitary inhabitants of the mountain last night and didn't see another living creature except for the mice that decided to use me as part of their mouse super highway during the night.  As I lay drifting off to sleep listening to the sounds of the lava sloshing and hissing I thought that for mice to survive there must be insects, which then led to me thinking if there's insects to eat, there must be scorpions, which of course brought me out of my sleepy state.  I finally fell asleep around midnight, and we woke to the sunrise at about 6am.

Bell 206 Longranger


Basalt flows; very recent, 20, 50, 100 years at most


A steep cinder cone adjacent to the caldera


The perfect spot to sleep until the wind changed direction


The caldera; it's in a massive flow.  The active pool is roughly 75m in diameter, and it's within a larger caldera that's ~300m in diameter, with 20m walls.  We were on the edge of the larger caldera, likely 100m back from the leading edge of the pool.






The morning

Offline GrantC

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Re: Hello from Madagascar - Now with Afar Region, Ethiopia content
« Reply #61 on: October 20, 2010, 09:05:18 AM »
That might just be the most "kick assay" camping spot I've ever seen.  :D

Offline mudferret

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Re: Hello from Madagascar - Now with Afar Region, Ethiopia content
« Reply #62 on: October 20, 2010, 09:30:48 AM »
That might just be the most "kick assay" camping spot I've ever seen.  :D

It was only the second time I've slept under the stars, and the 1st time since ~1990 when my brother locked me out of the house after me and a friend snuck out.


Offline Wronks

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Re: Hello from Madagascar - Now with Afar Region, Ethiopia content
« Reply #63 on: October 20, 2010, 11:31:16 AM »
That might just be the most "kick assay" camping spot I've ever seen.  :D

I'm going to have to agree with Grant. Incredible.

Quote
It was only the second time I've slept under the stars, and the 1st time since ~1990 when my brother locked me out of the house after me and a friend snuck out.
I've always wanted to get to see an active volcano.
I'm trying to remember when the last time was that I slept outside, and I think it must have been when I was very young as well. It's quite the experience though, and one that not a whole lot of people experience these days.

Wronks - Have fun out there.

Offline mudferret

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Re: Hello from Madagascar - Now with Afar Region, Ethiopia content
« Reply #64 on: October 20, 2010, 11:05:30 PM »
Almost daily now I've been seeing camel trains travel from/to the salt flats to transport loads of salt that is mined locally to towns and cities to the south of us.  They can stretch as far as the eye can see.  Somehow the camels manage to look stupidly content, they must be dumb enough to be happy doing their jobs, or just have awesome attitudes.


Offline MRS.Bignerd

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Re: Hello from Madagascar - Now with Afar Region, Ethiopia content
« Reply #65 on: October 21, 2010, 10:50:56 PM »
They do look happy.... but I thought they are actually really crotchety? Isn't that why they spit at you and try to bite?? Are they all one humpers?

Offline pistachoo

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Re: Hello from Madagascar - Now with Afar Region, Ethiopia content
« Reply #66 on: October 23, 2010, 11:07:03 AM »
2 humps = camel, 1 hump = dromedary I think... (at least, that is the distinction in French)

"stupidly content or a great attitude" is the perfect description! I never noticed before, but the pic sure proves it!
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Offline mudferret

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Re: Hello from Madagascar - Now with Afar Region, Ethiopia content
« Reply #67 on: October 24, 2010, 08:51:18 AM »
I hate what I do.  I've been away for 1/2 my daughter's life, my gf works her assay off when I'm away, and has bad MS on top of that.  I feel so guilty for being away.  I'm sure it's easy to look at this thread and think what an adventure it all is, truth is 95% of the time it's not, that's why this volcano visit was so special.

I want to punch whomever told me geology was cool in the nuts and/or front butt.

Offline MRS.Bignerd

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Not sure how old your daughter is but if it helps any, my dad worked on offshore rigs when I was small, I dont' really remember him being away for long periods of time untill I was about 4. He use to go away for 2-3 months on, home for 1 month.

Offline mudferret

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Amazing how used you get to being around people with Kalashnikovs.  Went to take a isspay last night and there's 4 guys in fatigues with guns.  Wasn't concerned since they were on their shoulders.  Regardless there's absolutely no reason to allow the military into our camp since they're always asking for something.  Looks like our gate man fell asleep at the wheel, or was more than likely intimidated into letting them pass.

Offline mudferret

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Don't think volcanoes have hair?!  You're crazy.

The closer we got to the lava pool, the more of this mystery fibrous mineral we found, looks just like hair.  My boss said he'd heard of it, and it was called lava hair, although he couldn't remember the composition and formation of it.  We ended up observing the occasional tuft of this hair falling out of the gases that were coming from the caldera.  In the end it's silica that precipitates out of the gas as it cools.


Offline mudferret

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Re: Hello from Madagascar - Errr...Ethiopia
« Reply #71 on: October 30, 2010, 08:38:01 AM »
Well I think I can start my countdown now; slated to fly out of Addis Ababa on the 5th, which means I'd leave camp on the 4th via chopper to Makale, and then fly to Addis, spend the night, and fly out at close to midnight the next day.  However, I'll likely have to be in Addis 2 or 3 days earlier by the looks of it, my x-ray gun was a loaner from the company until the one we ordered was ready.  It's now ready, which means they want this one back, so I'll have to export this one, after going through the hassle of importing it.  Paying duty...again... Why we can't just keep this one and trade the one we ordered for it I'm not sure.  But at the end of the day, not my problem since I have zero control over it, just an extra piece of luggage for me.

If you've never been to Africa, it's very, very common for men to hold hands, you see more dudes holding hands than women.  One of the local Afari's who idolizes me hadn't seen me in a few days and wanted to walk hand in hand with me.  I let him.  At least for a bit, it would have been an insult to pull my hand away, and I should accept it as an honour.

I'll stick by what I said earlier however, this is 10 months in Africa over the past 17 or so months, and I'm nearly burnt out.  I'll fight every urge I have to get bored with the office. 

Offline mudferret

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Wow, just remembered I'll have to take pics of the new Unimog beside the old Unimog.  So much bloody ground clearance under the new one you could drive a wrx under it.

Offline mudferret

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We've gone nuclear:


Minimum daily high is 43, the max I've seen in the past two or so weeks is 47, I'm eagerly awaiting 50, but it's fall so I'm not sure that'll happen.  It's well above 50 on the salt flats, but I've only left camp twice since I've been here.

Offline mudferret

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Re: Hello from Madagascar - Errr...Ethiopia...Canada on Nov 6th
« Reply #74 on: November 03, 2010, 08:12:00 AM »
My sentence will be repealed tomorrow, at some point in the early afternoon.  A quick chopper flight from -250' to 7500', then a flight to Addis, spend the night, and depart close to midnight the next day.  The return flight isn't that bad Addis > Frankfurt > Calgary, with a 5 hour layover in Frankfurt.  The marathon of flying always seems to take a week, rather than the day'ish it actually takes.  All sense of time, and sequence of events is thrown out the window and I become drunk with exhaustion and the happy sense of euphoria that comes with knowing I'll soon be at home. 

I'll have to sit down and do some figuring, but in the past year I've done 3 return trips to Madagascar (18,000 km one way give or take), a return trip to here (15,000 km one way), a return trip from Calgary to Toronto, a return trip from Calgary to Montreal, a flight to Edmonton, 4000 km of flying within Madagascar, and 2000 km of flying within Ethiopia.

All in all I'd say this has been my toughest stint yet, not nearly enough for me to do.  Essentially a month of averaging 5 minutes of work/day.  I'd much prefer a solid 10-12 hour day when I'm in the field.

The highlight was obviously the volcano, with the chopper ride to/from Makale to camp being a distant second.