Day 12: It’s Sunday at 8am. Do you know where your professors are?
Yesterday we all had the day off from academic work.
The students spent most of the day with their host families, and Greg and I pushed off bright and early to Tortuga. We visited the island as a class on day 10, but we both wanted to go back to do more snorkeling. Fernando, the local coordinator for IOI, put together the trip on the same boat we have been chartering for the class — that of the Golden Ray.
We left around 8am and motored through some rough water out to the island. We chartered the boat through lunch, so we were in no rush today. The captain and Fernando put out fishing lines and attempted, with no luck, to catch fish on the way out.
We toured around the entire island and were able to observe the true beauty of the collapsed volcano.
Once on the other side of the island from where we first approached, we spotted our first manta ray and rushed to put on our snorkel gear. The group got in, but Greg and I did not see the ray.
Disappointed, we climbed back on the boat and went to another area of the island. Here, we again jumped in the water and were hopeful for some megafauna sightings. Within 10 minutes, we spotted a manta ray; it came up from the depths and rose beneath me and glided along through the water.
It was traveling slowly enough that we were able to follow it for about 5 minutes and get both still photos and video.
We snorkeled for another half-hour or so and then climbed up on the boat. We started motoring for home, fishing the whole way. This time we were successful in catching two fish, both of which we would consume for lunch.
Once we were closer to Isabela, we pulled into Loberia Grande, a protected snorkel site. There were many penguins swimming; I jumped in the water and was able to watch and photograph many of them.
After an hour in the water we all climbed back on board and consumed freshly prepared ceviche from our recent catch.
Following a nice lunch, we headed home, reveling in our morning adventures. Greg had really wanted to see a manta ray, so today was really special for him. We both enjoyed a quiet afternoon and ate an early dinner of salad and fried plantains at the restaurant around the corner.
This morning the students will start their community engaged projects involving a combination of beach geomorphology followed by nighttime turtle nesting research. These projects have been made possible, in part, by a Bates College Harward Center faculty discretionary grant. The grant provided funds to purchase two GPS units (to map the locations of the turtle nests) as well as a Pitch-Angle meter, which will allow us to study the beach. Upon our departure on Friday, we will be donating the equipment to IOI to help support and further these important long term studies.