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News from Fernando Part I

15:20 14th April 2009 by Oceangybe
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Aqua-blue waves greeted us on arrival. Plenty of close-outs, but no complaints.

Thought we’d give a quick update of what we’ve been up to since dropping the anchor in Porto Santo Antonio 7 days ago. Usual Khulula goes conspicuously dark once we’ve reach a port, especially when there are waves near by. Well, you’ll be happy to know that we’ve found some of said trans-ocean energy transfer features located on the beaches of Noronha. For the surfers out there, the waves here err on the side of as ‘straight hander close-outs’, but heck, after a month at sea, who’s complaining? Not us.

More importantly though we’ve met with a few of the local marine biologists and researchers on the island and learned a whole bunch about the different projects going on here. Firstly the TAMAR project, Brazil’s turtle conservation group, has an active station here. Last night we attended a presentation given by Luciana Brondizio on the 5 species of turtles that are native to Brazil. We learned that they have tracked turtle’s migration routes from the coast of Brazil to Africa, the Caribbean, Europe all the way to Australia. This explains our encounter with the turtle on the passage here from St. Helena!

Turtle tagging moment with crew from TAMAR, who track them all around the world.

Today we went along with a masters student from the mainland to collect water samples from the mangrove here on Noronha. Amazingly this is the only island mangrove in the South Atlantic. We had a great time wading chest-deep through the brackish water learning about the trees, crabs, frogs and other life that inhabits the ‘swamp’… until we had a run-in with tiny red biting ants. I’m a tough guy and all, but wow, that was painful. I had to make a mad dash for the ocean for relief. It was little comfort when Carol, our guide, assured me that the pain only lasted a few hours. She hikes through the mangrove everyday doing research. Now we know why she put long pants on just before we started.

Mangrove mission … before the ants …

Tomorrow we’re off on a “4 hour” beach hike to one of the remotes beaches on the island. The plan is to do a study of the plastic pollution on this beach as it faces the prevailing winds and currents. Incidentally, the environmental director of the park area told us that a refrigerator washed up on this stretch of coast not long ago!

Combine that with a few more waves and some good old chilling out, and our schedule is packed!