Day 13: Community-engaged learning…at the beach!
Today we woke up for an early 8am class after enjoying our day off, which was difficult because of the long day my roommate, Bryant, and I had the day before!
We were treated to a Mother’s Day celebration with the entire extended family. The family piled into a pickup truck, with Bryant and I riding in the bed, and we drove into the highlands on Sierra Negra.
Our host father’s brother and father live in the highlands and he showed us their houses. The fathers house was full of agricultural processing equipment like juicers and a coffee bean roaster and grinder. We learned that he picks coffee beans and prepares them so that he can sell his fresh coffee grinds in the port.
The houses were in the middle of the most rich and green landscape I have ever experienced. While walking through the vegetation our host father picked fresh guava and sapote off the trees and we ate them as we walked. The land was extremely rich with papaya, lime, coffee, guava and sapote trees scattered everywhere.
The family celebrated Mother’s Day here with a large dinner of chicken soup and a plate of rice and rooster. They also had cake and exchanged gifts, similar to how I celebrate Mother’s Day.
When we finally shuffled into IOI in the morning we were instructed by an IOI staff member, Marc, about how we would be helping them with their beach profiling project.
We then then made it onto to beach and began taking data. We measured the profile slope of the beach by using a clinometer with a 1.5 meter metal frame that was placed from the start of the vegetation away from shore and brought towards the ocean in 1.5 meter increments.
The locations of the profiles were found using our GPS systems, that we will donate to IOI, and the known coordinates Marc gave us.
This profile data will be useful to the Isabela Municipal Government and the Galapagos National State Park service. As the Isabela coast becomes more populated it is becoming more difficult to manage and protect the beaches. This profile data along with mapping the Sea Turtle nesting site, which we will start later tonight, will prove useful during future management decisions for the beach.
At the end of our beach profiling session for the day we had one of the most remarkable experiences yet. Flying above the water was a flock of at least two hundred Blue Footed Boobies flying in complete synchrony. They soared about 50 feet above the water weaving left and right across the water, and then suddenly dove into ocean.
They seemed so organized, almost like the Blue Angels, weaving in and out amongst each other in a chaotic black swirl above the ocean. When they dove into the water, they did it with such speed that the black swirl would disappear into the ocean in the blink of an eye. It’s sights like this and memories like those with our host parents that will make it difficult to leave these islands.