The climbfish have now evolved to cover my life in the US - including very exiting life in downtown Baltimore (aka the wire) and ocean research expeditions with NOAA. I don't promise frequent updates but I will try and cover the most and least exiting times here. Enjoy!
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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Lost in Island Time and a lesson learned

Good place to sleep if you like sand flees and stars
14/07/13 little behind with my internet at the moment so blog is officially on island time, phone dead, internet cable cut

I needed some lone time this past Friday after a very intense first week of work here. That worked out better then I had planned. Looking back it might not have been a great idea to hike down the islands most isolated jungle trail one hour before sunset wearing flip flops, a pair of short and a very small pack with necessities (Ginger Ale, snorkle gear, camera). The idea of getting lost flickered past my mind as I navigated barefoot through the dense bush following a tiny overgrown and poorly marked trail down the steep mountain side. Once I got down to the lowlands it turned into a bushy maze but in daylight it was fine. I watched the beautiful sunset at the beach and started to head back in my usual fashion - at the latest time possible. Lesson one. It gets dark fast here. Lesson two. It is a lot darker in the woods. Lesson three. Bring a flashlight and a fully charged phone when you set out on poorly planned spontaneous adventures. Have I learned these lessons before? Yes, but I believe they are good to repeat once in a while. Also, I didn’t really get lost, I could hear the roaring ocean all the time. But that trail head was gone. I was wandering around in the darkening bushy lowlands looking for my tiny trail thinking about the native sand tarantulas the staff at Fish And Wildlife had shown me earlier that day. Realizing that I better try and find the beach again before it get pitch black I turned around (and almost got lost again). As I found the beach I looked at my phone to discover I had no cellphone coverage and almost no batteries. Great. From there it mostly got better. I managed to text my colleage Will that I was not dead or unfaithful to my wife - just stuck at a remote beach and back in the early morning. Then I found myself a soft rock to make my home and dosed off for some well needed sleep under a milkyway sky of twinkling stars.  

20 minutes later I suddenly woke up, two shadows was moving towards me. As my heart rate slowly slowed down I found myself observed on a very close distance, 2-3 meter or so, by two curious night herons. They did not want to move and I decided they where there for my protection and drifted back to sleep land again. Aaough!! !! 20 minutes later the first but not the last little sharp bite from an evil sand flee got me in the side and the mosquitoes were hovering above my poorly concealed body. (Luckily I had brought some m repellent which partly saved me). I woke up next at dawn next morning covered in little small bites. I may or may not have gone for a naked run and swim on the remote deserted beach, and may or may not have felt a tiny bit like a stranded pirate on a desolate Caribbean island. Then I got busy snorkeling as the sun snuck over the horizon - once there I might as well do some work- and some time later hiked back to now easy trail, filled with cute snakes heating in the morning sun. Culebra mean snake island for a good reason. Back out at 7.15 with a day of some pretty awesome work ahead of me.
The irresistible trail head
Island time. I thought we would get at least half the work we had set out to do done here. It turns out that is probably very optimistic. With only one week left to do our habitat mapping work around Culebra we are hopelessly behind schedule.  What I though was going to be at least 6 hour of fairly efficient ocean time each day have averaged around 2-3 hours per day for a million different reasons. I think they can all be cut down to this: Island time.

I got lots of stories to to tell about the work we do here and the awesome waters around this magic little jem of an Island, but now it is time to catch some sleep before another hectic week start (we still work in DC time!). I’ll get you some good stuff from the work we do here soon... Manjana!

Also, today I busted out my fly rod to try and relax my brain with some fishing at the dock where we live. I waded/swam out to a sea grass shallow in the mangrove and was soon transfixed by the sight of a large tarpon fin chasing bait fish in the shallow water. 10 minutes later something that felt like a smaller train in full speed took my fly and immediately broke my line in a whale of a splash. Covered in mosquito bites I waded back home to go searching for a stronger line. Next time.

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