Much of the time on our last camping trip was spent on the Prescott College boat, The Albatross. We took day trips from our base camp with our boat captain, Cosme, and our friends from the Seri community who consisted of elders, guides, and students. The Albatross became our daily home away from our tents. We spent hours riding around, visiting other islands, listening to stories, eating lunch, and snorkeling from the boat. Some of my favorite moments came from these experiences.
The Albatross parked near our camp site on Isla Tiburon.
Our class has been fortunate enough to spend the last few days of our trip camping on Isla Tiburon, a place filled with both cultural and natural history. Each day we took a boat ride to surrounding islands where the only evidence of humans were leftover walls built long ago by guano collectors. We were lucky and had beautiful blue skies and glassy water almost everyday. We set out early in the morning, and were occasionally greeted by curious dolphin coming up to our boat and riding the waves of the bow. Looking down at them, our excited exclamations mixed with their clicks and whistles. These small moments in our very full days, flying across the water and sharing the space with the dolphin, was one of my favorite activities on the Albatross.
Watching the dolphin from the boat. PC: Joshua Chin
During the trip I had the chance to fulfill a childhood dream of touching a sea turtle. Our boat captain, Cosme, is the founder and leader of the Kino chapter of the sea turtle conservation group called Grupo Tortuguero. This group has a monitoring program where they tag and take measurements of turtles and send their information to a collective source. Due to a lack of funding, this group isn’t always able to make exclusive turtle tagging trips, but class trips provide a great opportunity to collect data and give students the opportunity to help tag turtles. While we were on our boat trip we helped tag three turtles. We took various measurements of the carapace and plastron, recorded data, tagged the rear flippers, weighed, and released the turtles.
After catching the turtles, we tagged, measured, weighed, and released them.
Long stretches of boat travel often resulted in periods of content silence from everyone aboard the Albatross. The only sounds were the wind, waves, and motor. Our eyes were busy scanning the horizon for signs of wildlife or simply enjoying the various shades of blue. These moments provided time for our minds to wander and our resulting thoughts were deemed “boat thoughts” by Xavier. I often spent this time enjoying the ride and reflecting on our day. It gave me the chance to, make connections between the various stories and lessons that we learned, and to think about how our lectures and readings related to what we were seeing. At the end of the day, my boat thoughts always returned to how grateful I am to be here and how much I have learned through this experience.
The class taking a ride on the Albatross.