An Earth Day Spent with the Ocean, Stars and Desert

April 24, 2019

Orion and Canis Major over my tent Tuesday night. (Photo by Katie O’Donnell).

Yesterday, we returned to Kino Bay from our camping trip on the Northern side of Tiburon Island. This area is a part of the Comaác (or Seri) territory and we were able to learn much about the region from our new friends. On Monday, we had a much needed break from the wind and headed out on the panga for the morning (a type of boat commonly used by fishers in this region that originate from Japan). We visited two different locations in the channel where sea turtles normally emerge. They are normally more skittish in this region because they are hunted, but we did get to see several of them come up for quick breathes before diving back down. We also learned more about the cultural importance of sea turtles, especially leatherback turtles. These boat lessons built on what we had been learning during campfire stories at night.

After seeing several turtles surface (and failing repeatedly to get any good photos of this), we spent the rest of our Earth Day morning exploring one of the nine estuaries that is found along the channel between Punta Chueca and Tiburon Island. There we learned about mangroves and their many uses. This included a way to prepare for races or hunts that cleared any congestion someone might have. I was particularly interested in this since I’ve been sick with a cold the past week. However, once I was told that a pelican feather would be used to vomit up the mangrove tea, I decided that I’d find other methods to mend my illness.

Stars over our Tuesday night campfire. (Photo by Katie O’Donnell).

Luckily, I was quickly distracted from my congestion when we started collecting clams by digging them up from the shallows with our feet. These clams, along with a lentil and potato dish, became our dinner for that night. I think everyone enjoyed the experience of harvesting their own food (or collecting food for most of the group- since there is a lack of potatoes and legumes growing in the desert for us non-clam eaters to gather). Before completing our nightly campfires, the sun splashed fantastic colors on the sky as it settled in for the night and millions of stars came out. Stargazing during campfires has been unbelievable which gave Lily, Josh and I many great night photo opportunities. Tuesday was a whirlwind of packing up camp, doing some interviews, chatting with fishers on the return boat ride and playing tetris with all of our gear in a 15 passenger van. We only have one week left and apparently the next camping trip is supposed to be even better.


Moonrise on Sunday night during campfire. (Photo by Katie O’Donnell).

Sunset during Sunday night’s campfire. (Photo by Katie O’Donnell).