Day 15: Beach profiling and Family Day on the Beach of Isabela

This post describes the day of community-engaged beach profiling of Isabela and, earlier, a day at the beach with host siblings.

Last night we were unsuccessful in locating any nesting sea turtles. Today began at IOI at 8:30 as the class prepared its third and final day on the beach doing beach profiling. We sun-screened, filled up our water, grabbed our raincoats, and headed to the beach.

The group split in two and went down the beach in a leapfrog pattern to take the incline of transects from the top of the beach to the waterline. Each group had a metal frame and an inclinometer as well as a GPS in order to mark our exact location.

Kristen, Lindsay, and Jake work on beach profiling

Kristen, Lindsay, and Jake work on beach profiling.

The class finished the beach profile data collection before lunch and proceeded back to IOI to work up the data. The topography of the beach is important in order to make educated decisions about economic and environmental management of the area as topography affects both animal behaviors as well as where humans can build.

Before we started the beach profile work, the class had our first day free from class. We each spent some of it hanging out with our host families. My day started at our host family’s restaurant, which is called Oasis.

The restaurant Oasis on the island of Isabela, Galapagos

The restaurant Oasis on the island of Isabela, Galapagos.

After a great breakfast I headed off to the beach with my roommates, our host brother Giovanni and our host sister Innes as well as their puppy Tom. We found a magnificent swimming spot and quickly stored our backpacks and flip-flops in the higher branches of the mangroves.

I found this beautiful tunnel through the mangroves out into a protected area of the beach. Our host siblings climbed right up into the mangroves and jumped from them into the water like a diving board. Even the puppy Tom got a taste of the ocean, but as he was just learning to swim he did not enjoy it much.

A tunnel of mangroves on the Isabela, Galapagos municipal beach

A tunnel of mangroves on the Isabela, Galapagos municipal beach.

After our romp at the beach we cleaned off all the salt and sunscreen and quickly headed straight back to the beach to watch the sunset. The sunsets on Isabela are very beautiful and they are a favorite time of day for many. Shortly after dark we headed to church for mother’s day and had a giant dinner with the whole church community.

Mother’s Day is a big deal on Isabela and is celebrated both by large parties at night and by blessing all the mothers in church individually. Family day was one of my favorite days of the whole trip and I will definitely miss my host family when we leave in just two days.

An Isabela sunset

An Isabela sunset.