Field Surgery

Snorkling  IMG_0294  IMG_0288

IMG_0275  IMG_0278  Feeling nervous....


On May 17th, Friday, we went snorkeling. However, I ended up making one of my many mistakes during our adventures in the water.

In an attempt to dive deeper and see all of the awesome creatures the guide was trying to show me, I would grab coral formations with all kinds of sea-life growing on them to pull myself down. While at the time spotting sharks and pufferfish were worth it, the afterwards was not so fun.

After ignoring my throbbing hands until we had successfully run around town and eaten a large dinner, I finally thought that we should take a look at my hands. Sure enough, when Karsten busted out his flashlight and first aid kit, we found piece after piece of coral, sea urchine, and whatever else had found its way into my fingers. Hesitantly, Karsten readied sanitizer packets, a dismembered razor head for making the incisions, tweezers, and a fresh stack of bandaids. Some of the shards could be picked out with tweezers, but some had moved a ways away from their original cut. It was obvious that no one in the room enjoyed making new cuts to get the shards out.

After everything was said and done, I could not have been more happy to endure the pain of cutting the pieces out as those types of wounds can become infected extremely easily. This is because the open cuts are exposed to all bacteria floating in the sea, the fact that they deposit foreign proteins into your skin, and in some cases they can let out a sharp sting.

By then end of the night I wore quite a few bandages but felt incredible relieved to have them removed. I definitely owe Karsten one!

-Sarah G.



Toilets and Eggs at the Center of the World

Today at the Museo Inti-Nan, we were given a wonderful presentation of the Coriolis Effect!

Theorized by Gaspard-Gustave Coriolis in 1835, the Coriolis Effect is the curving of objects on a rotating frame. This means that when the frame moves clockwise, the object curves to the left as it moves. When the frame moves counterclockwise, the object curves to the right as it moves.

An example of this effect is widely known from the rotation of the earth. As the earth rotates, currents of the oceans and the wind move clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and counterclockwise in the Southern Hemisphere. This is why there are only hurricanes and tornadoes in the Northern Hemisphere and only cyclones and typhoons in the Southern Hemisphere. However, these movements reflect away from the equator, which decreases the force of the Coriolis effect on the equator line.

This is why, as you can see in the first demonstration of the video above, the water draining from the tub does not form a spiral as it drains. But as you can see in the next two demonstrations, if the tub is moved away from the equator line, it will produce a spiral as the water drains. Unfortunately, this isn’t a true representation of the Coriolis Effect because the rotation of the spirals is highly influenced by the way the tub is filled. Depending on which side the presenter of the experiment is standing when the water is poured into the tub, the water will bounce along the sides of the tub creating a slow rotation before the water is drained. Toilets are also influenced by a similar effect except it is determined by the direction the water shoots out from the rim of the toilet. So, the Coriolis Effect does in fact have a slight influence on draining water, but other influences, such as the way the tub of water was filled, have a much greater effect creating the possibility of the predictions made by the Coriolis Effect to be wrong.

There are many other great experiments that can be done on the equator line as well. Due to the decrease of gravity and the Coriolis Effect at the equator, it is possible to balance an egg on a nail. This decrease in gravity also makes it very difficult to resist someone pushing down on your arms when they are completely stretched out. The forces reflecting off from each side of the equator also makes it very difficult to walk along the equator line with your eyes closed. Although these experiments are not perfect demonstrations of the Coriolis Effect due to how weak of an influence it really is, but they are still great for teaching and simplifying how the Coriolis Effect works. To observe a true Coriolis Effect, a great example are the movements of hurricanes, tornadoes, typhoons, and cyclones.


-Jacob G.

To the Valley of the Sun

In Ecuador, there are churches all over. These colonial churches of the Spanish were built on top of pre-existing Incan temples for the sun gods. The temples of the sun gods were all along the equator, making a line through Quito. The Incans were the first invaders of Ecuador and were later defeated by the Spanish and natives.


-Holly F.


What to pack for the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador!

What to wear...

It can be difficult knowing what to bring on an adventure to somewhere you’ve never been.

But, you’ve got to start somewhere.


First, you will need a wetsuit. The Galapagos are notorious for the swimming, surfing, snorkeling, and scuba diving. In order to stay in the water for longer, this is a great idea.


In Ecuador, it has been raining a lot in the evening. A rain jacket will allow you to enjoy the all the amazon has to offer while keeping dry. Plus, they are light-weight so you can bring them anywhere.



One tip Scott Taylor gave us was to bring protein bars. Already I am extremely grateful that I followed his advice. You just never know when you’ll need an inconvenient bite!



Long pants are a must for Quito. The city is very conservative so walking around in shorts will call a lot of attention. I brought linen pants because they are still very light and comfortable.



Hiking boots for scaling basaltic lava.



Lots of great notebooks because you will need to take note of everything happening around you.


-Sarah G. out