Today, we experienced the highs and lows of field work—-well, mostly just the lows.
After an uneventful night on the beach, we slept in and then headed out to catch some green sea turtles in Mosquito Bay. We patrolled the net for an hour and came up empty handed. The weather had been uncooperative with high winds and scattered showers which probably contributed to our lack of turtles. Once we all showered, we headed down to El Batey for a relaxed dinner and a few games of pool. Double A Team – Andy and Angie – took the home the gold!
Beach patrol at Zoni Beach continued after dinner and the winds were mighty as ever. We started our patrol in the middle of the beach but quickly realized that sand in our faces and bugs on our legs were unacceptable. So, we hunkered down on the corner of the beach beside a cliff and kept ourselves occupied with naps and card games. As the night progressed, our hopes of spotting a turtle slowly diminished. Just before sunrise, we packed up and headed back to the house to our dry, comfy beds. Some of us got stuck behind the talkative locals who discussed “when to put the milk in their coffee”. Sorry, we were just a tad bit slap-happy at 5:30am.
Due to the weather, plans to take the boats to Culebrita were canceled. In an attempt to redeem ourselves, we ventured back out to Mosquito Bay to search for more green turtles. Once again, we came up empty handed. However, other wildlife found their way into our nets. A large spotted eagle ray was entangled and another was seen jumping out of the water nearby. Before disentangling the eagle ray, we got to see its barb up close after our crew removed it as a safety precaution. We also saw sea stars, sea cucumbers, remoras, a honeycombed cowfish, and even a barracuda.
Despite all of our lows, we learned to expect the unexpected with field work. The group definitely learned how to be patient and flexible with our schedules. Hopefully we see some turtles before we leave!