Monday 17 March 2014

Expedition Video

Today, Geomatics at Newcastle released their latest video which is promoting our expedition to Anegada. Although at the time we felt awkward and nervous in front of the camera, huge thanks goes to Chris and his team for making such a great video. It must have been a hard task editing the vast amount of footage we sent them.
I hope you enjoy!

Wednesday 14 August 2013

Thank You

Currently sat in the departure lounge in Antigua airport reflecting on the expedition and how much we have gone through to get here. Its been an unreal experience which we will never forget and wouldn't have been possible without help we received in the last 9 months.

We would like to thank Henny, Martin Ali, Nigel, Stuart and the rest of the staff at the school of Civil Engineering and Geoscience at Newcastle University for the help they have given us and believing in us from the very start. Their input in the development of the methods we were to use was invaluable. We would especially like to that Jon Mills for his generous contribution in funds towards the expedition.

From Tortola a huge thanks goes to Mike Adamson and his parents Ken and Xandra. Mike's knowledge of the local area and support from day 1 has been amazing, even though he had to put up with 4 clueless students. Ken and Xandra kindly let us stay at their house and fed us when we were there.Without them the trip wouldn't have gone as smoothly and we wouldn't have been able to see so much of the BVI.

On Anegada we would like to thank Doug, who owns Anegada beach club, for letting us stay there for the duration of our expedition and for resolving our transport problem. Thanks also goes to Jamie for booking us into the hotel and meeting us at the dock . A huge thanks goes to the other managers Vicki and Nigel, for taking us to Virgin Gorda and allowing us to experience some local happenings and Owen all be it a brief encounter you made our last few days very enjoyable. We would also like to acknowledge the bar and restaurant staff for everything they did for us during our stay.

Finally we'd like to thank the University Expedition committee and our sponsors: Plowmen Craven, Scopus, CICES, Loy Surveys, CECA and Leica . Without their contributions in funds and equipment the expedition wouldn't have gone ahead. 

One final thank you to everyone who has read our blog, unintentionally or otherwise we appreciate every view we have received.  We're going to try and spend the next 4 hours before our flight productively, and attempt to start some of the report. We'll keep the blog updated with our progress and hopefully share the final product in the not too distant future. 

Tuesday 13 August 2013

'You can't get much better than that' - Mike Adamson

Earlier this morning we had received a step by step guide in order to create the all important Puerto Rico datum provided by our contact at Leica, Dave Dawson. We quickly put this to good use by processing our 'whole area' LSS plot of Pomato Point.

Pomato Point LSS plot
After the LSS processing, and with the help of Mike, we checked our baseline data against the photogrammetric data from 2002.  We found that all our control points matched closely to the known points from the 2002 data and that our baseline "...doesn't get much better...". Thanks to Mike for the help, we hope that the rest of the post processing runs as smoothly as this. 

In the afternoon Mike managed to arrange a last minute meeting with Christopher Williams a Technical Planning Officer at the Department for Disaster Management (DDM) in Tortola. In the meeting Christopher was keen to know what was involved within the expedition and methods we used to gather the data. We have arranged for the DDM to receive a copy of all the results and a copy of the final report when completed. He was also interested with this being the start of a long term monitoring project of the island involving local community and for future expeditions to return.

Monday 12 August 2013

Belt and Braces

With the help of Mike Adamson we have been able to confirm 'what we always expected' that the data collected on Anegada fits roughly the outline of the known coastline before scaling and transformation. This should mean that once the Puerto Rico datum is applied, which will orientate the data, it will be accurate and allow us to combine all the detail from the topographic surveys into a single file. This marks the start of analysis of all the data we have gathered during the expedition. 

And in the famous words of Winston Churchill, 'Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.'

Sunday 11 August 2013

Final 4 days in Anegada

Thursday started off with the all important total station contest. Josh was up first and set a strong time of 3mins 18 sec. Larissa was up second and clocked a time of 3 mins 30 secs and I was up third and clocked a winning time of 1 min 29 sec. All the times were PBs since Glaramara... must be the better weather conditions out here. VIDEO PENDING..
In the afternoon we revisited two of the coastal areas of interest, Pomato Point and West End in order to gather further data on the coastal erosion, if any on such areas in the time of our visit.

Friday saw us complete all planned and additional survey aims after visiting the West End Cottages. The eerie ghost town esk cottages look like something out of a Hollywood apocalypse movie, with bowls on tables, magazines open on seats with the fridge doors wide open it seems like everyone had left in a hurry. In the past these cottages have experienced extreme coastal erosion and the effects of several hurricanes. We set up controls and detailed the position of the 5 of the original 7 cottages. Hopefully this link will demonstrate the position of these cottages. 

Saturday to our annoyance we had to revisit the cottages in the afternoon as our base station on the previous day had ran out of battery for the final station. This meant that we were not able to resolve the ambiguities for the final control station. Upon our return we were shocked to discover that one of the cottages we had detailed had been ripped down and was now just a hole in the ground. Despite this we enjoyed the sunset sat on the sand bags protecting the cottages enjoying a muffins and brownies courtesy of Pams bakery as the station was successfully positioned.  

Sunday was the day of rest. We managed to get hold of some kayaks and paddle board, thanks to the beach club, and had a relaxing cruise around some of the reefs and bays on the island. The night involved some last minute packing before we start the long journey home.

We are planning on staying in Tortola for 2 days before our flight on Wednesday. We have a 6 hour wait in Antigua so expect more blogging activity from Antigua! 

Tuesday 6 August 2013

Surveying the Reef

Today we took advantage of some of our time off in Tortola to explore the coral reef at the beautiful Brewers Bay. We even managed to capture a few short glimpses close up, here's a small preview, we hope to be able to share the rest with you upon our return. 

No rain on this parade

Yesterday we attended the annual BVI festival, celebrating the emancipation from slavery, in Road Town, Tortola. It can only be described as an eye opener.

The festival started bright and early at 5 am with the 'Tramps'( parade participants follow a truck blasting music from over the top speakers down the streets of the town i.e a pre parade party on wheels). The official parade didn't start until 3pm as locals caught some shut eye and recovered from a heavy morning of 'Tramping'.

 As we walked through the town towards the judging booth, we were in awe of the colours, sounds and the amount of effort that goes in to making such an event happen every year. If ever you get the chance we strongly recommend you take it, it's a sight you won't see anywhere else... except maybe Rio.

Acts included Miss BVI, stilt walkers, floats re-enacting the capture of slaves and of course dancers wearing every colour under the sun. The parade lasted for several hours as each group passed the booth performing their routines full of energy and enthusiasm despite the sweltering conditions, everyone young and old performed with an infectious smile.

Being towered over by the very skillful skydancers.

The parade ended in 'The Village', a car park annually converted into the hub of the festival. In the centre, a pole huge pole connects all the food and drink huts together with colourful bunting. At one of these huts we tried a local roti dish, which is essentially a curry in a wrap however it takes a great deal of effort and skill to eat. Everyone from the Island seemed to be standing in this car park, from babies to the elderly, everyone was in high spirits, dancing to the local music being performed on stage into the early hours.

It was an amazing experience and are very grateful that we had the opportunity to witness this part of the local culture. Tomorrow we head back to Anegada on the 6:45am ferry and plan to get back into the swing of things by having a total station set up race to finally settle the all important question... 

Who is the best at setting up a total station?