Pagan: 12 July 2010
I was up at 0600 this morning. I set up the Hiker Biker II, a little one-man tent I picked up at Sports Authority before the trip, yesterday evening with the hope that it would get a little more ventilation than my current tent. With the fly removed, the Hiker Biker was basically just an all mesh tube, so it served me well. My plan was that if it rained during the night, I would just hop out and climb into the tent. Fortunately, it didn’t rain, and I finally was able to get a decent night’s rest. The only thing that worried me was being stepped on by a large ungulate. On previous nights it sounded like cattle and pigs were coming down into our camp site, so I was concerned that I might get stepped on accidentally. While it is definitely cooler, the Hiker Biker offers no protection from a misplaced hoof. Fortunately, I had no such encounters. I did a little sorting before breakfast, which consisted of hot dog bun french toast and jam. Continued to sort after breakfast and then prepared for the day’s hike.
Today we went back to the patches of native forest on transect #3 to do a little more collecting and set up the malaise trap, pitfall traps, and pan traps. We had an extra member on our crew. His name was Phil and he is a volunteer who is filming all of the surveys on Pagan and the other islands. The camp guys have nicknamed him “CNN.” He has been out here on various islands since the beginning of the surveys – almost a couple of months up to this point. We set up the traps in roughly the same area we had collected in the day before. A big centipede crawled out of the netting of the malaise trap as Justing was setting it up and gave him quite a fright – it turns out Justin has a mild phobia of centipedes, so he really jumped. Stephan and Mike were explaining the malaise trap on film with Phil while I was setting up the pitfall and pan traps. I guess the stuff I was doing wasn’t as interesting because I didn’t get any film time. After setting up the traps and doing a little more collecting, we continued up transect #3. Not far past our site there were some very impressive groves of erythrina. Eventually the transect took us up to the thin saddle separating the North and South portions of the island. It was a pretty neat area. As we ascended to the top of the saddle I felt like we were in one of the Lord of the Rings movies. Mike must have had the same feeling because he called this area “The Shire.” I think that was a pretty good name for it since it was basically a big savannah/grassland. The wind was very strong, and while we took a break I was kind of getting a Sound of Music/Alice in Wonderland vibe. During our break on the saddle, I collected a roach I hadn’t seen before and a few beetles that looked like tenebrionids. Mike felt like it would be cooler if on our return hike to camp we stayed on the top side of the cliff and then dropped down at the end. I was once again reluctant, but Stephan and Phil were OK with it, so I decided to go with them. Justin and Christa returned to camp the same way we came. It was much windier on top of the cliff, but it was also in direct sun the entire way so I think it ended up being much hotter. We stopped in a little grove of Acacia confusa and did some collecting. I found some interesting larvae packed away inside inside a dead limb – they almost looked like some kind of Hymenoptera. Mike collected some ants, but otherwise there wasn’t much of anything interesting. Mike and Phil hit it off since Phil was also into climbing, so they talked about climbing for almost the whole way back. At one point I felt like I was being stung by something, and then I noticed that it was heat rash. I was feeling slightly bothered that we were up in the sun in the hottest part of the day, and wished that I gone back with Christa and Justin.