In the name of science we have invaded cottage country. The quiet cabins along Pavilion Lake have every bed filled, and there’s a tractor-trailer in the parking lot with NASA painted on it. Instead of fishing boats we have floating science platforms, torpedo-shaped robots, and 1-person submarines.
While digging into the world’s geological history we’re making an unusual racket in a peaceful place, and this is what I hear:
- My roommate’s alarm clock is set to Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees. It seems a brutal sentiment at 06:45.
- My bunkbed mattress creaks so loudly that I only roll over when I really have to.
- Breakfast is a hubbub of voices, 50 scientists and researchers from all over, discussing Cheerio flavours and side-scanning sonar.
- Many small fans cooling too many laptops creates a steady low hum in every room.
- The technician’s voice is calm and steady as he reads me the submarine pre-launch checklist.
- The thrusters on my submarine whir and whine, like a sputtering dentist’s drill.
- Radio voices are too loud and urgent to be natural at the bottom of the lake. My own voice sounds alien down there.
The loons calling on the lake are haunting and perfect, and will reclaim the mountain silence as soon as we are gone.
Colonel, Astronaut, submarine pilot