Una lapiz and seconds, please?

NOVEMBER 22, 2008

Feels like I didn't get any sleep. I really am anticipating, hoping that things will begin to get easier soon. I went to bed around 3am from my second patrol that started at 12:30am. We got all of the way down to sector 38 before realizing that the first patrol removed the pencil from the South pack we carry with gear for collecting data and sea turtle eggs for relocation at the hatchery. South is broken up 20-50 sectors. Each marker represent 100m, so South Caletas is 3000m long, or 3k. The last half kilometer is tougher sand with lots of little rocks and very large pieces of driftwood that meets the Bongo. I am always leery of running into crocodiles here at night. If we get to the end early, it's equally amazing to sit at the South end of Caletas to appreciate the stars, but sometimes there are drunk fisherman down here and we try to remain quiet as not to start trouble. Anyway, back to the pencil ordeal...

Margarita had to store all of our data in her wrist watch, which I think was a brilliant. Seems like we have had lots of "SFs" (false crawls) and the sand has seemed especially loose. On my first patrol last night, we had a female move three separate occasions before nesting. Even still, she had buried herself too deep into the vegetation for us to dig out behind her as she laid.

It has been insanely windy here during the night time. We keep waiting for part of the camp to break loose. That must have been what woke me up every two hours last night. That, or the fact that I had to keep getting up to walk to the bathroom, which is a km away. Too much coffee, or jet lag is keeping me whacked out. I feel like I have no energy.

I conditioned my hair for the first time here. Isn't life so exciting? My hair felt unlively and straw-like for the past few days, but it feels great now. The salty air takes it's toll on everything here--from kitchen utensils to electronics. I put some clothes away in my dry bag yesterday for my trip home to keep them dry and film-free. I realize now just how dirty we get and how hard it is to hand-wash clothing. I brought some things that I'd hate to see ruined, like me jeans, green pants, certain tanks, TWLOHA and AI tee. I have plenty of shorts and other tank-tops to wear. I can probably stick to 3 shirts per week, and I re-wear undergarments too since I only wear them at night and am in my bathing suit most of the day. I bathe in my suit, hoping that it keeps it semi-clean.

I need to go do dishes. Nothing else to report on.

I just made my first meal for everyone. I sauteed onions, garlic, red pepper. Added tomato and, one packet of tomato paste, and two packets of tomato sauce. A dash of hot sauce and some oregano and basil. The spaghetti was a little too salty for me, but food is food and I had seconds. My walking distance here is equivalent to what I would typically run in a week and I hope it is keeping me in shape. We haul buckets of water, sand and turtles, walking in sloped sand with different weights is difficult. Like I said, I am exhausted, but I am also sleep deprived and jet lagged. Today I had an oatmeal orange bar when I got home at 3am. No, it was 7'ish when I awoke, not 3. 10am was oatmeal with honey, raisins and dulce for breakfast. Then later I had a PB&J sandwich, and two more servings of spaghetti! "Lay off!"

[Book: Ahab's Wife - captain in Moby Dick]

The sunset is all orange now. I saw it rise this morning at 5am, too. I hate it when it gets dark here. Means nothing to do because we have no electricity and try and conserve the battery life in out headlamps for patrol. We do have one solar cell that produces maybe 30watts of electricity to charge batteries or cook dinners under dim lighting. Bugs become a big problem at night with the faint glow. I patrol at 1-4am. Maybe I should get some rest. If I stay up after patrol, I can see the sunrise again. Not sure what to take pictures of anymore. Just remembered I have two more hours of hatchery watch...

Man, the sky is gorgeous.

Man, I am really full.

[Book: Shadow of the Wind]

I just got back from my 1-4am patrol. We found 2 nests that had, for sure been poached. Alan and Chris went out earlier and said they saw quite a few people on the beach. No one should be out that late here besides us. We do what we can to deter poaching. Chris said that they startled someone so badly that they ran off and forgot their shoes.

I am up at least 6am on hatchery duty this morning. There is no fresh water (delivered by Alec once a week), so no coffee. Just me and the clink-clank of the hermit crabs all over the sandy floor rummaging for food around the plastic bins; the chirp of the geckos in the rafters as they play, and the song of crickets and crashing ocean. And, of course, mosquitos in my ear and bugs attacking my headlamp. The bugs are crazy here. I am so thankful that I have a mosquito net for when I sleep. I am currently watching a grasshopper with a shorter body and long, skinny legs drink coffee from a mug on the counter. He's about to not feel so good. Actually, I think I am going to lay down and close my eyes for a short bit. Set my alarm for 35 minutes, and then an hour after that. Enjoy the sunrise and then pass out until breakfast.
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