Rancho la Azufrosa, Aldama, Tamaulipas, Mexico
Reporting from Zacaton Basecamp
Having successfully arrived intact at Rancho la Azufrosa (site of Cenote Zacaton) and greeting ranch owner Alejandro Davila, we began setting up basecamp in ernest today for Zacaton Mission 1. This was very much a “MacGyver” day, with Marcus Gary showing an extraordinary collection of eclectic skills (welding, burning, electrical contracting) that go well beyond the experience of the average hydrogeology PhD student.
Marcus, who is in charge of site logistics in addition to managing the environmental sensor array for DEPTHX, arranged for the transport of a 12 m seagoing shipping container to the ranch to serve as the field lab. First order of business, however, was the construction of a “bot garage” for DEPTHX to protect it and the tech crew during assembly—the bot was transported to the site in pieces to avoid shock loading of sensitive electronics.
The day was mainly spent welding framing poles in place for the garage, stretching aircraft cable for tarp suspension, and running electrical lines into the shipping container for the lab benches. By nightfall we had fluorescent lighting inboard and bench power. Tomorrow begins the formal process of painstakingly re-assembling the bot.