27 January 2006, Friday
Blog by Tasha Snow
Well, my project is finally coming to completion. It has been very time consuming and ranks up there with Wendy’s, AJ’s, and Ben’s in the time needed for it. My project has been to do size fractionation to determine the sizes of the phytoplankton in 6 sites around the Galapagos. I also have done some microscope analysis of each site to see exactly what species are at each site. Katy’s on zooplankton and Tamra’s projects on nutrients have closely followed mine and I think mine will greatly depend on their data. As of tonight, I and Katy added a 7th station so as we speak, I am finishing the analysis on it. I have very awesome data so far and I have found exactly what I was hoping to find. Now all I need to do is figure out why it’s like that.
The trip has been awesome so far, though I am pretty sleep deprived. Yesterday was our first day off the ship, at
, since we boarded on Friday (a week ago). The Galapagos is an amazing place in its beautiful landscape and naturalness. There were tons of sea lions, one type being the fur sea lions which we haven’t seen yet. Iguanas were all over the place and there as a pool where quite a few sea turtles were swimming around. What I would have given to go snorkeling there. Today was our second stop, at Punta Suarez, which had a much different beach line that
. There were tons of cliffs and the place had a ton more birds (especially Boobies) than yesterday. A 20m blowhole was another cool attraction here, where seawater shot up like a geyser every time a wave came in. Sea lions were all over the place also, and we seemed to find a lot more young all grouped together. Again, the water was so gorgeous that snorkeling would have been perfect.
Before we got here, I had several days on the mainland. I came in on Sunday and I, Katy, Tamra, and Joni were on the flight that was diverted to
because it was too foggy in
to land. It’s always fun, coming to a strange country and pulling into the wrong city. But, we made it back to
in the morning and Hilary and a Bellavista rep were there to pick me and Tamra up. We stopped at the “center of the Earth”, the equator line, and at the Pulahlahua Crater, which was fogged in so you couldn’t see more than 20 ft down. Bellavista was also amazing. The people there were very flexible, obviously since they went out of their way to pick us up from the airport, and accommodating. It is a cloud forest reserve where a man originally from
, and several others, have bought land to keep it from being cut down and taken over by oil and logging companies. We stayed in huts that looked like they came straight out of Swiss Family Robinson. They had really good food and we had guides that took us on different trails around the forest to learn about the plants and wildlife. The highlight of this side trip was the horseback riding through the primary growth forest, one of the few places in the forest where trees have never been cut down. Running on the horses was extremely fun, but needless to say we, especially Xyrone, were hurting from bruises and sore muscles when we were done. For 2 days and 1 night, food, transportation, and horses, it was only $136, which to me was very cheap for the quality of experience that we had.
After that we had a day in
, which was interesting considering everyone drives like maniacs and a good portion of the people don’t speak English. I, not knowing much Spanish, felt very awkward trying to communicate with them and not being able to. We had our flights to
(again) and then to the Galapagos. The highlight of our Puerto Ayora stay was definitely snorkeling with the sea lions in the bay. I also had a scuba diving trip with Wendy and AJ, but after the first dive, both me and AJ were sick and didn’t finish the second dive with Wendy. All and all, though, it was pretty cool.
So the itinerary from here out is to start packing up in the morning (4 hrs from now) while we are finishing Xyrone’s transect up the 89 W. Then we will disembark the day after on Saturday and begin our 3 day trip home. The weather here has been very humid and sticky, hanging things out to dry doesn’t really work very well, and the sun has been out every day. A lot of the mornings have been cloudy, but the sunny afternoons have successfully snuck up on every single one of us and we’ve burned. Joni, Ben, and Hilary have had it the worst. It will be nice to get back home in 4 days, but I am definitely not looking forward to going back to school half a day after we get back. It will all have been worth it, though.