Earthwalker

NOVEMBER 18, 2008

Is it really only day 3?
The old coordinators and Alec leave today to let us fend for ourselves. Last night was our last patrol with them and I only had to go out once. We left at 8:00pm and went North. It was my first time going North and in complete darkness you really can't appreciate the terrain. We walk in blackness, only turning on our lights when the moon has not risen, has already set, or when there are large pieces of driftwood in our path. The driftwood I've seen isn't some small tree branch--these are nearly entire trees eroded and shaped by the ebb and flow of the tides. Apparently on strong current nights, they might disappear from the face of our beach entirely. Without lights you can still see shapes in the darkness, so once your eyes adjust it is fairly easy to maneuver. I swear, it makes me feel like an earthwalker... or a ninja. And like I said before, the reflection of the moonlight on the rastros make them much easier to see than with light.

Last night we had one nest, which I excavated and one false crawl. A false crawl is where a female comes up onto the beach to lay, but doesn't for a variety of different reasons. Maybe the sand was too dry and unstable and she couldn't find an ideal spot. Maybe the moon was too bright, or maybe something just spooked her. The shitty part about North is that it's 4k roundtrip (down 2, then back 2) v. South, which is 5k. But for some reason, North can be passed through very quickly; there seems to be less nesting. We can walk up North and back in an hour and half. We walk down 2k, sit at the end of North Caletas in the darkness for 15 minutes (the stars are amazing), and walk the 2k back to camp. Then we wait an additional 15 minutes at camp, and walk the 4k over again. It is very tiresome, but those 15 minutes we get to sit in silence on the beach under the most amazing stars is incredible.

I haven't had to do two patrols yet, but with dinner after the first patrol, and then back out on the second patrol there really is no time for sleep. Dinner every night seems to be around midnight. Breakfast is at about 9:30-10am, lunch seems to be around 2-3pm, and no dinner until 9 hours later. I guess it's been ok, though.

Today I want to walk North during the daylight so that I can see the terrain. If I go around 1:30pm I can enjoy the low tide and wade in the pools. The beach is very rocky to swim at high tide and the surf is far too rough.

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Comments

_erica said…
I constantly think about the stars in Lesotho and how amazing that night sky was. That's one visual I hope will stick with me forever. There's nothing like a pure, night sky.
Kimbrolynn said…
It's an incredible thing to suddenly become so reliant on nature for your daily routine. That sky was with me 24hrs/day. The intimacy that develops when you can watch the constellations and the moon rotate through the month, rise from the earth, and gauge the tide and the terrain as a result was so remarkable to me. A nature's lesson I will never forget.

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