From the field in Madang, Papua New Guinea...

Expeditions are far from being all fun and games.  One of the more frustrating aspects for me is traveling with so much BAGGAGE.   I love traveling, but when I travel for personal vacation, I generally like to only take a backpack and carry-on.   The trouble with an expedition, and particularly one that involves SCUBA diving, is that you have to take a lot of gear with you.  This is especially challenging if you have to mind all of your gear by yourself.

While the issue of carrying all that baggage and keeping an eye on it is trouble enough, these days there is another major issue involved: excess baggage fees.   You may have experienced this yourself during your own travels and know how frustrating it can be.  So far, I’ve been slammed with excess baggage fees for nearly each leg of my trip! Hopefully, I’ll use up enough of the sunscreen I brought with me to save a few bucks on the way back. ; )

expedition essentials

Okay, enough with the venting about excess baggage fees! What kind items are so essential that I’m getting slammed with fees?  It’s certainly not clothes.  I looked up the temperature before I left and the weather in Madang is supposed to be about 86°F, both night and day, so I’m not toting around heavy outerwear or anything like that.  Other than the sunscreen I already mentioned, the main culprit is SCUBA gear and safety equipment.  I have fins, a buoyancy compensator, regulator, wetsuit, and everything I need to dive except for a tank and weights (good thing I don’t have to lug that around with me!).  I’m even carrying an Automated Electronic Defibrillator  (AED) in case of an emergency in the field.  That thing and its case weigh more than a bowling ball, but hey, I guess better safe than sorry.

Stay tuned for more of my adventures…

Vanessa Knutson

Project Lab Coordinator

Graduate Student

Invertebrate Zoology and Geology

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