We're drawing near the end of the trip and we'll all be very sad to leave. The students have been dissecting Lionfish (an invasive species that escaped from the pet trade in Florida. It lives between 1 and 1000m, knocks out 2 million eggs a year, has no known predators in mexican waters and eats anything up to half it's own body mass!!). They been on night turtle walks and everybody has seen turtles lay eggs and one group saw all the little turtles hatching. The referral divers (students that did some of the diving in the UK and finished off the qualification here) saw a 5ft nurse shark today. I'm very, very jealous. We celebrated Miss Marsdens birthday today with a very welcome selection of cakes. We're organising our final nights meal today it really has gone very fast. A couple of students decided diving wasn't for them and have been snorkling each day with the Green Turtles and Science teams. All the other students qualified today as Open Water Divers. Yesterday afternoon we went snorkling with the juvenile fish in a Mangal (Mangrove swamp), which is in danger of removal for a proposed hotel complex expansion.
I'm writing this from Turtle Bay Cafe & Bakery which does outstanding homemade ice-cream. The food has been by far and away the best of the three Operation Wallacea trips I've been on.
Well we have now been in Akumal, on the Caribbean coast for two days now and all is going really well. After arriving and being split into dormitories , the students were split into their diving groups dependent on experience: qualified, referral, open water course and snorkelling. Whilst there have been a couple of little changes progress has been swift, with all groups taking quickly to the clear blue tropical water, which even at 10m down is 25oC! The abundance of wildlife is something else with plenty to see including vast arrays of fish, turtles and coral. The dives and snorkelling are interspersed with a lecture series all about the ecology and conservation management of the Akumal area.
Sorry it's been so long since I updated this page. We suggested no news would be good news and indeed it is. We've left the jungle now and have arrived in Akumal, which is frankly amazing with beautiful warm blue water and white sands. It's still sad to have left the jungle. All the students have seen bats and birds caught inside the mist nets. We camped for half the week next to a semi-permanent lake called an aguada. It contained three crocodiles and we watched one of them chew his way through a few turtles. Most of the students have seen Spider and Howler monkeys, turtles, snakes and frogs while wandering around the transects.We've been taught Jungle skills including how to track animals and a very lucky few have seen a rare cat called a Margay. We've shared our drinking and showering water with Red Eyed tree frogs and immersed in the noise of a jungle at dusk and morning. The organisation of the camps has been the best I've experienced and both camps we've stayed at, and we have been told that the students have been the best of the summer.
During our time in the jungle we went to the Mayan ruins at Calakmul and having been to the pyramids at Giza and Halong Bay in Vietnam for me this is up there with the most impressive places in the world. Look forward to seeing the photos.
I've been swimming off the beach for 30 minutes and seen 6 adult turtles already. I think we're going to like it here! With meat in the meals, showers, flushing toilets and of course Wi-Fi, it feels much more comfortable. The students start their dive courses in the morning.
A little dehydration aside everyone has been in good health and should be able to take part in all the activities here.
We're just leaving the hotel to head into the jungle. It's a hot, humid and tired looking group at 5.30am this morning and we're just chasing the last few students out of the rooms and onto the coaches. The ki ds were brilliant on the trip here and it's been pretty easy going so far, with good organisation and lots of lovely air conditioning . Unfortunately it's around 8 hours walking and coaching to the camp sites. We split into two groups here with Mr Arnold taking one group and me taking the other to two separate base camps within the forest.
The hotel here had a pool and the restaurant last night came with Michael Jackson dancers, comedy routines and ludicrously massive moustaches. Impressively they coped with 70 people ordering food pretty well. Luxuries I don't think we'll see at our next meal but the kids enjoyed getting up and dancing.
I'll try to get online as soon as I can during or after the jungle.
Welcome to the webpage for Mexico 2013.
Hopefully acclimatising will be a lot easier this year with the weather being so amazing back here in blighty. I'll try to update this page when I can but it's likely to be infrequent (you don't get a lot of wi-fi in jungles). See you all at Brookfield this evening/tomorrow morning.