The following was submitted to The Watch for publication by Norwood resident Karen LaQuey, grandmother of the letter’s author, Chris Anderson. A Norwood High School graduate and past Pinhead Institute intern, Anderson currently attends Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. The letter, dated June 26, details some of his summer travels in Southeast Asia.
Gaya Island and Mt. Kinabalu were amazing… .I really enjoyed snorkeling for the first time ever in the reefs off of Gaya. It was another one of those moments where something that I had only ever seen in nature documentaries took a real shape when I saw things like parrot fish and clown fish in anemone.
We did another project on Gaya. This time I worked with two other girls on a project measuring the strength of snail feet from various shore habitats. Perhaps unsurprisingly, we found that the snails from high energy shores were stronger when they were larger. This suggests that the snails are strengthened by constant exposure to rough waves. Not a very revolutionary study, I know, but this whole trip is about learning how to do research, and we had a lot of fun.
After about a week in Gaya, we went to Mt. Kinabalu, the tallest mountain in Borneo at 13,000 feet. It was amazing to climb and it actually reminded me a lot of home – Kinabalu is a legit mountain. It took us two days to climb the mountain, and on the second day (the day we summited) we got up at 3 in the morning in order to be at the summit when the sun rose. It was absolutely phenomenal to climb up this majestic mountain with a dome of stars stretching out forever in all directions – the Southern Cross and Scorpio were our guides. And then, when the sun rose we could see the almost sheer granite rock face that we had climbed up and see the cloud rainforest thousands of feet below.
This trip is seriously one of the best things to have ever happened to me and it starts again tomorrow when we travel to Maliau Basin, one of the few bastions of primary forest. This is the one place that we might be able to see orangutans and Bornean elephants, so fingers crossed!
– Chris Anderson