Friday, October 7, 2011

Tadaki Falls Sept 5, 2011

There is a neat set of falls that we hiked to on the 5th of September.  We really had a great time, and I think we picked the perfect time of year to go.  Not too hot outside and the water is not too cold. 

To get to the falls, you trek up the creek.  There is pretty much no way to stay dry.  It is a really good time though.  We didn't see any banana spiders or habu snakes. 

Some of us went up to the top of the falls, but it is STEEP!  So much so that the locals put in ropes to make it possible. 

Katie and Seth seem to be enjoying themselves here on this rock.

Semper Fi,

Saturday, February 19, 2011

High Speed Vessel (HSV)

The HSV is how we got over to Korea this last time and how we got back. 

It is a really neat vessel... basically a HUGE catamaran on jet-ski's. 

The ride over there, the seas were pretty rough and I would say a majority of the Marines got sea-sick. 

It is not really that bad of a ride.

The inside has seating, similar to that of an airline; the seats some-what recline and are set up in rows with aisles in-between.  There are no stewardesses, but there is a mess-deck we man ourselves and can use if we think ahead to bring food. 

As for the ride back, it seemed to be a much better trip as far as the sea states were concerned.  We experienced far less sea-sickness and I must say, morale was MUCH higher! 

Semper Fi,

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

110126 Status Update

Korea is a wintry wonderland still. Snow is all over the trees, roads, tents, and it stopped snowing about 2 days ago. To top that all off, it only snowed a few inches.

Now if I were in Jacksonville or most places I have lived in Virginia, the snow would be nearly gone by now, just due to the warm temperatures and efforts of locals to get it out of the roads. Here though, it was 2 degrees Centigrade IN the tent and easily 15 degrees colder outside. People where I am just toss sand down and salt every now and again, but don't seem to plow.

I can't count the number of Marines who have fallen on the ice, most just get a jostling, but some really fall hard.

We didn't do any cold weather training before we left, and really should have. I am not sure why we didn't, but there didn't seem to be much time. Some of these Marines just don't know how to dress in this weather or use the gear (sleeping system, socks, poly-pro, etc) that they have.

When I was a young Lance Corporal, I was trained that there are 3 layers you are supposed to wear out in the elements: a wicking layer, an insulation layer and a protection layer.

The wicking layer is something that takes sweat and moisture away from the body. It needs to be relatively tight/close to the skin and thin. Silk makes a good sock wicking layer.

Insulation layer(s) go between the wicking layer and the protection layer and is designed to be thick and trap lots of air. This layer is important in both cold and hot weather. In hot weather, cooler air can get trapped in this layer, keeping the body cool. Inhabitants of African and Arabic deserts wear several light layers in their extremely hot environments for this reason.

The protection layer is designed to protect the insulation layer and person wearing it from the outside elements. It also allows the insulation to trap the air.

Wearing 2 wicking layers doesn't help and sometimes causes moisture to stay next to the skin. Two protective layers can also keep moisture in. Multiple insulation layers on the other hand are good, as they simply trap air. You have to wear these layers in order or they just don't work.

So in the cold weather, on you feet, you should wear silk or dress socks, under thick socks, under good boots. The sleeping system is designed to have each of the three layers as well, but if you don't put it together right, you have the wrong layers in the wrong order or wear extra layers you defeat the way it was designed.

OK, so there you have it.  Those of you planning on going out into the elements, get your layers right first.  Those Marines of mine that are out here with me, think about how you are doing what you are doing and do it right!

Semper Fi,

Sunday, January 9, 2011

South Korea

... is much more developed than what I was expecting. I came over here expecting it to be much more sprawled out. We pulled in to a port area where there were very high apartment high-rises.

It is very urban in several locations and very built up.

Driving through South Korea really reminds me of driving through West Virginia with the mountains, roads carved into the jagged slopes and "Charleston-like" cities in very developled pockets. It is silly cold over here in the winter, much like West Virginia and the people have a long history of strong beliefs (much like the Hatfields and McCoys).

As we drove here, we stopped at a little rest area along the highway. One of the Marines with me asked what I thought the stairs were for in this picture. I just chuckled and said, "well, they are to go up." Well, what else are they for right? Maybe to go down?

Speaking Japanese is very frowned upon and can get you into social trouble. Koreans have a good memory and tend to remember what the Japanese people did to their forefathers back in the days of WWII and before. It seems more Koreans speak English better than we speak Korean or than Japanese speak English.

Internet access is not nearly as prevalent as it was in Japan for me and harder to get to, to stay in touch with family, atleast right now.

COLD.... it is extremely cold over here. From what the forcasters are saying, it is not supposed to get above freezing during our entire stay here. In my book that is cold. Even the highs are below freezing. Contrast that to Japan and we are, well, chillin!

Semper Fi,