Well I said in my last post did I not? That I did not think we would get to number 100 before I left. Well ladies and gentlemen, I was WRONG!! On my final night out in the field with an entourage of 6 Operation Wallacea students/staff I was able to find 3 more new captures. "But wait, surely that only brings you to 97 Dan?" Yes, dear reader you are correct! However on the way home I heard a very large male calling in a brand new area, so I knew this one would be number 100, so off I went to find him! There he was sat in a Dasheen plantation ready to be scooped up! As I was very close to the Operation Wallacea base of operations on Dominica I thought I would do a little additional outreach/education while I was there. So I introduced them to number 100. Got to say, I was in such a good mood on my final days in Dominica due to this fantastic final night of fieldwork! There were plenty of ups and plenty of downs while I was out in Dominica but it was a great experience! Thanks to all who contributed to the project, joined me in the field etc etc! I don't to the over emotional teary goodbyes you see far to often in blogs these days, but thanks everyone!
I fly home in two days to begin my next adventure, up the academic ivory tower with my PhD!
Took a field trip with my friend the Volcanologist to the Soufriere Sulphur Springs a huge deposit of sulphur deposits from the the many volcanoes on the island. Not really much more to say on the matter, I did have my sling on so make sure not to tell my doctor I was hiking.. Pictures will say it all.
We also conducted a frog survey that evening which was a great night! Managed to find two brand new frogs! A HUGE female filled with eggs (#95 now called Maria after one of our volunteers) and a male right next to her (#96 AKA Dre) so they were looking for some romance.... until we broke them up. It was only temporary he was calling within 5 minutes of letting him go so he didn't give a toss it seems. Getting very close to 100 recorded individuals, not bad to say we were at 64 when I arrived. Am I the cause of this explosion of recorded frogs, well yes. Yes I am. Dominica, you are welcome. With only 2.5 weeks left its looking unlikely I will see the 100th frog but what the hell I did my part!
Bit of a sweet and sour entry this one. So its turtle hatching/laying season so when I heard the German film crew were back on island and staying right next to a turtle beach I decided to bum a lift over there. So when I arrived it was fairly late into the night but I managed to get my hammock set up with the help of the turtle guide (my arm was in a sling at this point). He then showed me a box of baby leatherback turtles he had excavated a few hours before my arrival that he was keeping over night so the other tourists (PeaceCorp Volunteers) could see them leave in the morning...
Are you thinking what I am thinking? Why the hell keep them over night for the benefit of a few people who will get a slightly better view in the morning. All the while the baby turtles are burning through their energy reserves and getting more stressed than they need to be. So yeah, as cool as it was to see baby leatherbacks it was a bit of a hollow victory. I know the eggs are protected from poachers etc and the "message" is spread but still.
Chilling on the beach around a fire and seeing the milky way was pretty cool as we waited for an adult female to come in and lay some eggs. Unfortunately the adults were a no show (I saw one from the boat the month before so I was not too gutted) but it would have been great to see one up close. One of the other things that pisses me off about the turtle programme here is the number of people who take selfies with the turtles or touch them while they are laying... NOO! Leave them alone you idiots.
Anyway after a few hours sleep in my hammock I was up at the crack of dawn to catch the sun rise. It was glorious!! And I did get to see the baby turtles go into the ocean. They are very adorable trundling across the beach to the sea. So not all bad but the naive approach of the "Ecotourism" at Rosalie Bay was a sore spot for me.