We landed on the lowest part of the main landmass we could manage. From there, we have been sending out instruments and probes.
The sea has a smell to it, almost like a cocktail at the wrong sort of party. But it is lovely, crystal and blue.
What arable land there is is crowded with plant life – meadows and little forests running in stripes from the mountains almost to the sea, small animals skittering everywhere. Nothing touches the sea, not even the amphibian-like creatures.
We’ve set up camp beyond the high water mark, just in case.
Planetary Day 16
The seawater is potable, for a certain definition, but it does strange things to one’s mind – drunk or used as washwater. Rainwater, so far, had proven safe, as has a small river an hour’s walk from our camp. The animals all drink from the river or from puddles of rainwater in hollowed stones.
We lost Lei for 3 days; he drank the sea water & wandered off. When we found him, he was on the beach, petting an equally-confused large predator beast (whose fur striped like the landscape). The thing follows him everywhere now, and, while not tame, it is gentle enough.
We’re talking of moving camp further up the mountain.
Planetary Day 119
After the third time we lost Lei, we moved our camp a mile up the mountain, next to the river but outside of its flood plain. At this point, nobody thinks Lei is “accidentally” drinking the water, but there are other concerns.
Animals will sometimes drink from the river too close to the ocean, where backsplash seems to affect them; or sometimes they seem to go a little strange and go diving into the ocean. With a small bird or a scavenger, this can be cute. With a predator as tall as I am at the shoulder, this becomes an issue.
Luckily, Lei seems to have developed a rapport with these swimming beasts.
Planetary Day 219
As we come closer to the first child being born on this planet – Cori likes to pretend that it was the effects of the water, and we all indulge her – we find more and more problems.
The first, of course, is the ocean, and the problems that the water causes – the drunk animals, the two of our team who appear addicted to it. The second is more complicated, and appears to be a missing mineral in the soil.
We can synthesize what we need to survive, but I fear that the problems stacking up here make settlement unlikely.
Planetary Day 239
We move further and further from the water – as much as that’s possible, with ocean so much of this planet – searching for safe places to raise children and to live.
In a place you cannot see until you are nearly on it, we found a small valley where almost everything is different.
It’s easy to see why; the valley is almost impossible to get into or out of unless you fly. The water here does not touch the ocean directly.
We may have found our settlement-home.
Planetary Day 269
Having found a solution to the water issue, we suddenly have more pressing issues.
The first, of course, is the wildlife. While we’ve left behind those that were drunk on the ocean and thus were erratic, in this valley are three species that have been proving quite annoying.
The first is a tricky little animal that comes up to my knee and has figured out how to let itself into the habitats unless we lock them.
And nobody wants to spend all their time locking and unlocking their house.
But if we don’t, the thing gets into our food, into our beds – Lei found one sleeping with him last night!
And it likes to chew wires.