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Isla de Plata

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So thought i would give an account of last week basically. we went to this place called Isla de Plata, meaning the island of silver. this was so called because it was rumored that drake buried his treasure there. it is basically like the Galapagos islands but it is smaller, less to see and cheaper. we set off on a tourist boat, getting a free lift to the island, a hour long boat ride into the pacific. arriving mid day we set up in the rangers house. pretty basic accommodation, no electricity. only solar powered generators for a few hours. also only sea water coming out the taps. after dinner we set out on our first nights patrol, and on the beach on the island this was difficult.

compared to other beaches it is very thin, rocky, and high tides so it wasnt too fun. having seen a turtle at around 11 30 we saw it begin to lay in a bad position so i was holding a bag under it while it popped out its eggs, the plan being to find the bag then move it to the hatchery further up the beach. that was the plan. unfortunately it started raining during the laying so we were soaking wet, covered in sand and had to get to the tagging. john did the tagging of the back flippers while i held her in place. quite a fun sport as it turns out, turtle wrestling. they are so strong. at one point i was sitting on top of her, holding her back and digging my heels in, and she was still wriggling further down the beach. anyway that done we had to find the bag but this took over an hour. shocking work trying to dig up a bag on a wet beach riddled with sharp rocks. eventually with the bag found, we then relayed the eggs one by one in the hatchery, a more suitable place for a nest. the long night ended at around 4 30 after we washed off in the sea, lets hope a nigh5t like that was a one off.

During the following days we had to do all the cooking, and then washing up in the sea. around 3 tourist boats come every day and we are meant to keep a low profile while they are around., but after that we did some snorkeling, swimming, and lots of reading. later on in the week we went on the trails in the island to help out a student in Quito doing a survey on the blue footed boobies nesting on the island. this involved 2 days of trekking along a path trying to locate nest which were tagged and counting chicks and eggs etc. not too bad but it did get so hot at some points, we ended up running all the way back so not to get too badly burnt. one day we got to do some snorkeling off a boat with \a group of students that came to the island, and their teacher, our boss Andreas, came up with a turtle so we saw that as it swam back into the sea. amazing how much more graceful they are underwater than on the boat or on the beach.

after 5 days on the island we were definitely ready to come home, unfortunately for Nicola, a German volunteer with us, there was only space for 2 of us. so me and john came back that day with her going back the next day as she came out a day later. unfortunately for her this didn't happen and she had to stay there 2 more days. and trust me, that is a lot. private island sounds good but it gets less cool very quickly, as more and more sleep is missed.

On the way back we were lucky enough to do some great snorkeling with the tourists, off an old reef. saw countless fish, loads of weird and wonderful ones. so just the boat ride back, and that was it. a long week, 5 turtles seen. did tagging for the first time, relocated a nest for the first time. but glad to be back on the mainland in Puerto Lopez and nearly 2 days off. anyway more will follow, hasta lluego!


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