Lately I've been spending a lot of free time free diving and snorkeling at a little coral patch reef near to work. Last week I found out that I'm not the only one that enjoys hanging around there.
It cant all be about work. Sometimes you need to take a break and climb a tree. In this case, a coconut tree.
On a recent job i was subjected to spending several months on a tropical island in the Caribbean. The Horror! And it wasnt the tropical island that I live on most of the time, which is Key West
Recently I found some video and sort of threw together a couple of bits. I promise that everyday wasnt like this one... the rest of the time it was al science and exploration under the sea.
hope you like it.
Robotics and undersea exploration are great aspects of my current gig here in Key West, but some times I need a break to get back to nature and the simple things in life, like sailing the little dinghy that my father built for me years ago. I hope you enjoy this video of Sailing a small boat in the Florida Keys.
Reviews Are pouring in after the Grand Opening of the exhibit of our finds at the British Museum. I've clipped out some headlines and posted them below. Can't wait to get back to Egypt for continued excavation this fall, and hope to drop by the exhibit on the way home.
The Wall street Journal:
Treasures From The Deep at the British Museum
The Underwater Archaeologist Who Surfaced With Not One, But Two Sunken Cities
The Secrets of a Lost Egyptian City Were Underwater
Drowned Worlds; Egypt's Los Cities
When young people ask me how to prepare themselves for a life as an explorer, I usually start with asking them to exercise their Explorers Mindset, ( cuz its a muscle, and benefits from a regular work-out), and then I follow up with these two things: 1, Join a Club. and 2, get a Mentor
By a club, I mean a community of like minded people that might help you focus on your goals and move ahead in little ways that you may not know how to or have the incentive to on your own as a young person. Examples I can think o, off the top of my head that are fairly common, include scuba or mountaineering clubs. Ask if there are any members that are scientists. Hang out with them, read what they read, ask questions and offer to help them out.
For the super ambitious, The Explorers Club offers a Student Membership. They have grants and support for students, and bulletin boards that list expeditions seeking members, The Club is located in NYC, but there are a few local chapters around that might make such a connection worth while. I've been a member for 13 years and its really a lot of fun, and a great way to meet other explorers, and just one place that a young person could look for a potential Mentor.
There are so many people in every field of study that have the capability to change a young persons future just by giving a little advice and making a few introductions for them. But the problem is, that young person doesn't know that potentially influential mentor. Not yet, anyway. But its important to be prepared so that if you get a chance to ask for some mentoring, you don't come off like a goofball.
Its really important to have a clear vision of where you think want to go, to be able to communicate it effectively, and to make sure that the people that you know that are in a position to help you progress know what you are interested in, so they can make a recommendation.
I've seen a few applications for internships on exciting field expeditions that were rejected because the applicant was only thinking about how it helped themselves. What skills or abilities do you have that would make you good to have around? How can you help that person achieve their goals? You might find a way to be invaluable to just the person preparing for the expedition you always dreamed of joining.
All the best,
.A young college student named Parker just asked some questions in the comments section of my post "How I Got a Job in Scientific Exploration". How he should plan for an adventurous career, full of travel and adventure and scientific exploration, while studying finance? He also admires National Geographic Magazine and would like to work there.
Parkers concerned that a non-science major will keep him from being able to live a life he dreamed of, or worse, get him stuck in a life he wished to avoid.
I get it. As a young teen I was afraid that my own complacency might lead me settle into a suffocating mediocre existence. My response was to sabotaged my own future, making everything harder, figuring that if I was barred from the normal and never invited to the average, there would be little risk of me settling there. When my dad observed that I was burning my bridges in front of me, I responded " Ill cross those bridges when I'm too old to swim."
Clearly this is not career advice that I'd offer to any young person today, as it caused me a lot of extra work later on, but fortunately young ambitious people like Parker don't need to fear an average life if they bulk up their intangible skills and try to look at things with The Explorers Mindset.
Despite not having the right education or background, I've managed to make a career out of scientific exploration. Here's some bits of advice for young people that want to do the same:
Every scientific expedition I've been on has been multi-disciplinary, with a little bit of overlapping skills, between participants. Many times important members of the team had no background in the specific area of study of the expedition, and yet were indispensable.
Some of the capabilities that seem to be most important for scientific field work are not ones that you learn in Classrooms. Example; being easy to get along with and happy about helping others out. Team players are way more important in the field than geniuses, especially when you are stuck together in a remote environment and need to rely on each other to get the mission accomplished. The hard to get along with are often left behind by the Expedition Leaders. Back at the lab at least people can escape selfish and unsupportive co-worker on nights and weekends.
Communication skills are paramount. "Exploration Means Publication", and the ability to contribute to scientific or academic papers is clear. But also the ability to communicate with the public in non scientific terms. Education and Public Outreach efforts are vey important to many expeditions, and that means blog posts, photography, and video story telling. Speaking foreign languages are great, but the ability to listen and understand.
What about general ability to fix things. Robot servo's aren't the only thing that break down and need fixing in the field. Fabricating out of equipment on hand
I watched Cristian Tambley build an underwater camera vehicle out of an old cot, and then successfully deploy it at 300 m depth.
The ability to do research is the ability to learn. and it applies to planning for a mission and trouble shooting as well as the science part.
The National Geographic institution has been around for a long time and the idea of seeking a job with them by sending an application to human resources seems very old school to me. But someone who has already let their passion for exploration take them out into the world is likely to have experiences and contacts that can make all kinds of goals come true. Asher Jay recently got named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer based on her passion and action for wildlife conservation, despite the fact that her background is in, of all things, fashion design.
I hope that this advice is useful, and if any readers want to expand the subject, please leave a comment below.
All the best,
"Killing Fields" Premiers Tonight Jan 5 at 10/9c. Washington Post and New York Times give Advanced Praise of New Discovery Channel Series
Last fall when Aqua Survey Inc. sent a Geophysical Survey Team to Louisiana to help local detectives try to solve a Murder Case gone cold, the Discovery Channel was filming.
The resulting True Crime Documentary airs tonight for the first time, and even thought I was part of ASI's Team doing the survey, I have no idea what to expect. But I'm definitely going to watch, and probably be trading notes on social media with the team if our technical input proves to be helpful. Both Scott and I appeared in the Teaser, ( me not looking too bright as usual) so hopefully the rest of the team will also show up on the show, as we were all committed to helping put a killer behind bars.
The Washington Post , and LA Times reviewed the show well, and the NEW York Times called it central to Discovery's new direction.
Here's a link to the teaser
For a long time I've been trying to figure out what this blog is about. What's my theme? What take-away message would would I like to share? Until recently its been a mash-up. Like after a mellon-cart collision in an Egyptian street market, there were seeds strewn all over the place.
But during my recent weeks at sea, while looking for ancient shipwrecks in the shadow of the space program, something jelled. All my liquid-y catch phrases and effervescent talking points reduced an off-gassed down to one single sentence au jus. Here is my gravy Statement:
Exploration isn't Out There...( points to world outside the window of comfortable place) "Its in Here. ( points to head where brain is)
You can go to the wildest parts of the planet, but if your eyes aren't open, if you aren't sniffing at the air and listening acutely with equal parts curiosity, amazement, and fear, then you could easily miss out on the discovery that lays right in front of you.
And at the same time you could be right at home, surrounded by your community and peers who are stepping over another discovery and not seeing it because of complacency, and with your explorers mind switched on..., you know... Bingo!
Its not out there...., its in here ( points to Your head)
After French President Francois Holland inaugurated the Grand Opening of opening of "Osiris, Egypts Sunken Mysteries" and met Egypt's Foreign Minister there, several English news agencies have covered the exhibition.
US News and World Report says "Gienat Statue's go on Display in Paris
CNN states "Relics of lost Egyptian Cites to go on Display for First Time"
Reuters Covered the story as well..
I'm posting while preparing to drop lines and steam out to sea in the Atlantic with a different group to continue .a n underwater search program. (and yes, we'll be within the "Bermuda Triangle" , but so are all the Discotheques on Nassau ) Its seems doubtful that we'll find another sunken city, but who knows...?
While pinned down in Cape Canaveral by the approach of tropical storm Ericka, it seems like a good time to post a few updates on the other projects I've been involved in over the last year.
Just a few months ago I was in Laos as part of Aqua Survey's UXO team to see if our new technology might be able to find dangerous bombs faster than the current methods, which haven't changed much since WW2. I turns out we scored pretty well according to the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining. In fact, ASI's equipment did better than any of the other demonstrators from around the world.
Now the only question is when will we have the opportunity to go to work using this gear and our desire to help the Lao People get out of this night mare that has haunted the countryside for 40 years.
Meanwhile, work continues on the project to build a new school for the children of one small Lao Town. The Jason School project is moving forward, but while awaiting completion the children of Vieng Xay Na Laung got to enjoy some new school supplies, courtesy of Crayola and ASI Presedent Ken Hayes. This image illustrates a real motivator to solve the problem of legacy UXO in the feilds and farms of rural Laos.
My Name is Eric and My Job is Scientific Exploration.
That means I'm lucky enough to get hired on expeditions to excavate sunken cities, climb volcanoes, find missing bombs, and Sail old research vessels, while searching for the mysteries of the natural world.