Friday, July 11, 2003
I arrived in New Zealand yesterday after a 12-hour flight from Los Angeles to Auckland. It was 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 8 when we left L.A. and 5 a.m. Thursday, July 10 when we reached New Zealand. What happened to Wednesday?! New Zealand time is 16 hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Savings Time. So when it's noon Monday in Rhode Island, it's 4 a.m. Tuesday in New Zealand. What's even weirder is that when I leave Auckland it will be 4 p.m. August 10, but when the flight lands, about 12 hours later, in L.A., it will be only 9 a.m. August 10! You "lose a day" on the way there, but "gain a day" on the way back.
Another thing that is a little hard to get used to is that in July, it's winter here! We could see snow-covered mountains from the plane when landing in Christchurch. There is rarely snow on the coast in the winter and the temperature so far has been in the 40s-not too cold. But the sun doesn't rise until about 8 a.m. and it sets about 5 p.m. Even at noon, it looks like it's about 3 p.m. The sun is very low. At home, at noon in the summer we don't cast a shadow. Here, at noon, a person's shadow is already longer than their height.
Another thing that's different is the night sky. I like to go look at stars in the evening at home-I look for the Big Dipper and the North Star, Orion, Andromeda, Perseus, the Pleiades (Seven Sisters), Taurus the Bull, Gemini, Sagittarius. But when I first looked at the night sky in New Zealand, what could I recognize? The moon! That was it! Now I know the Southern Cross, but that's all so far. I hope to know many more by the end of my trip.
Even the moon is strange here, and the sun too. In Rhode Island (and the rest of the northern hemisphere), they appear to "travel" from left to right (east to west), passing through the south. So at noon, the sun is in the southern sky. But in the southern hemisphere, the sun appears in the northern sky at noon. While it still "travels" from the eastern to the western sky, there it moves from right to left. And the quarter moon, which was illuminated on the right and dark on the left in L.A., is the opposite here!
Prior to the trip and on the plane, I've been reading some articles about dusky dolphins to prepare for my field experience. Here are some interesting things I've learned so far:
Here are a few that questions I have