Fire in the south

NOVEMBER 24, 2008

I actually got some consistent sleep last night. Well, it was only 2 hours, but they were straight through. I feel so much better this morning.

Last night's patrol was from 2-5am. There was a fire far down at the end of South Caletas that had spread over several hundred meters. Natalia helped me put the flames out in two sections, but the embers were still bright red-orange and we both knew that there was nothing we could do. The sand was so hot from the heat of the fire that the bottoms of my shoes started to melt. I just couldn't let it burn like that--out of control. There is lots of dried, dead driftwood close to the vegetation east of the beach. My fear was that, even though the fire was still about 3000m away from our camp, that it was going to catch the field ablaze and burn all the way down to us. The wind seemed to be blowing west, though, so for now, this is good.

This morning, the fire still appears to be burning. Gray smoke is billowing upward. It's a mystery how the fire began in the first place, who started it, and why it was left unattended. I would like to think that the fire originated from a lazy fisherman not properly putting out his camp fire, but there have been many poachers on the beach these past few nights and the thought of it intentionally being set is unnerving. Camp fires aren't even allowed on the beach because it deters the female turtles from coming up to nest, but it has not been too often that we have told the fisherman that they need to do anything considering they pretty much keep to them self past marker 50 and they were here first.

I think some of us may walk into town today to use the internet. I am still reluctant, but an email from home would help lift my spirits. Everyone here is so different. We all have our own different sense of humor. Conversations amongst the group have mainly consisted of chores we must attend to around camp, bird species, cooking the hermit crabs, and crocodiles down by the Bongo. I tried talking video games with Alan the other day, but he had no idea what I was talking about. I love all of our conversations. These aren't philosophers; this is a different kind of intelligent. These are biologists, through and through. I appreciate the things that we all talk about in a group and separately. I'm sure there are still many things to learn from and about each other.

Sarah brought her mac here and it's allowed us small forms of entertainment, like pictures from her travels over the world, and music. Hallelujah! Music. But a certain album has been playing on repeat here. As much as I love Rusted Root, I could really go for something else right now, but I am blessed.
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