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The Beaches of Phuket

Sa-wa-dii! That means “hello” in Thai. One of my roommates is from Thailand, and she has been teaching me some basic Thai words and phrases.To be more proper, I really should say, Sa-wa-dii-ka (to a female) or Sa-wa-dii-krap (to a male). That should be easy to remember. “Ka” is sort of like “cool” because girls are cool and “krap”… well, that describes boys accurately.

I will be traveling to Phuket, Thailand this summer to board the R/V Revelle, a research vessel owned by Scripps Institute of Oceanography. After spending a week or so in Phuket, I will be at sea on this ship for about fifty days, starting in Phuket and ending up either in Sri Lanka (if the civil war calms down) or possibly the Maldives. I am going on this cruise to study the petrology and volcanology of the Ninetyeast Ridge, a 5000 km long chain of underwater seamounts that is a hotspot track analagous to Hawaii. This project constitutes a large part of my Ph.D work and, beautiful beaches aside, I am very excited about this expedition.

I have had a busy week planning this research cruise. I have spent hours on the phone with shipping agents, ordering supplies online, doing detective work in the stock room at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, looking at wire baskets, figuring out how to label the rocks, et cetera. Honestly, I like the work. I find preparing everything for this research cruise sort of like a series of interesting puzzles. How does one ship 10,000 lbs. of rocks from the Maldives? How cheaply can one air freight binocular microscopes to Australia? What sort of lumber yards are there on Thailand? How many saws will we break while at sea? What sort of rubber boots does one wear on a boat? Will my advisor kick me out of graduate school if I order a pair of these in his size? What about a pair of these for myself? And so on.

I am tired, though. Grad school is hard work, and it’s Friday afternoon. To make myself happy now, I am looking at pictures of the beaches in Phuket, which is supposed to have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Mmm… Phuket… I’ll be working on the ship, but I should also have some time to hit the beach. Now, let’s just hope there are no tsunamis!


Evelyn is a geologist, writer, traveler, and skeptic residing in Cape Town, South Africa with frequent trips back to the US for work. She has two adorable cats; enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and kayaking; and has a very large rock collection. You can follow her on twitter @GeoEvelyn. She also writes a geology blog called Georneys.

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  1. Now what on earth could your advisor have against a lovely pink floral pattern like that? And the frog/salamander boots that caught your own interest are so cute… :)

    Glad you're having fun prepping for this expedition. Civil war or not, even aboard ship in that part of the world you're bound to see some amazing sights.

  2. Bad Astronomer: You're welcome! I hope the sandstones didn't crumble. If they did, we'll retrieve more next year and you can bring them safely home on the airplane.

    Wright: Alas, I am not in the 2007 calendar. Though I was in the 2006 calendar (showing very little skin, by the way). I may or may not be in the 2008 calendar. Regardless, you all should buy the 2007 calendar!

  3. Ariel, there actually is crime at sea. Especially in that area of the world, pirates are a thing to keep in mind (which is why Evelyn is sending all the expensive equipment to Australia rather than to Thailand).

    Anyway, Evelyn, I can't help but support N.R. Miller about the opportunity for some Phucken awesome calendar pics ;)

    I envision something involving rocks and a bikini, or possibly underwater rocks. Do you scubadive?


  4. Sean: Thanks! Good to know. I will have to continue my lessons, clearly.

    I find that speaking foreign languages usually leads to embarrassment. The only way to learn is to be willing to sound like and idiot and then be corrected.

  5. So, Evelyn …

    I can play the drums … and I know some other cats …

    Do you think you and your crew will need any live entertainment on this cruise of yours?

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