Baja Day 9

Saturday

With our last night of sleeping in a tent over, everyone headed to the main tent for a breakfast much fancier than any of the ones we had at the Espiritu Santo Island camp. Eggs, cereal, tortillas, beans, coffee and orange juice were available. After breakfast the head of the operation, Don Chuy, and one of the other fisherman returned to camp with the largest and last of the three turtles we would see.

It was fairly obvious to everyone that this turtle was bigger than the previous two, so a few tried to guess its weight. We knew this sea turtle was a female because her claws on the front flippers were less developed and her tail was thin. Surprisingly she had never been tagged before and she was unexpectedly calm during the process of measuring her. For this reason we were all allowed to help take measurements and touch her. When it came to naming her we suggested the name of our guide, Adriana, but unfortunately there was another female turtle tagged and named Adriana. Ultimately we decided on the name Chi Chi Moca (meaning chipmunk is Spanish) because it was a fun word and we all were amused by the name. She weighed in at a whopping 108 kilograms, which is over 200 pounds. Chi Chi Moca was then released, and although it took her a while to get to the water, once she began swimming she bolted away.

By the time Chi Chi Moca was gone lunch had been prepared for us. To start we had potato and cheese soup, and then sopes. The sopes were something we hadn’t seen yet but they were very similar to hard shell tacos. The night before we were assigned an area of sea turtle science to research and then present to the group so we finished those presentations after lunch. At this point we were running late and had to rush to clean our tents and pack up, but we boarded the boats on time and began the long journey back to La Paz.

After 5 hours of travel we finally reached the EPI campus in La Paz around 6:00. Matt and Adriana gave us until 7:00 to shower and change for dinner. Just like our other nights with EPI we walked to a local restaurant for dinner. A variety of food options were available. Most of us had either enchiladas, sopes, or enmoladas. Enmoladas are a traditional Mexican food, they reminded me somewhat of a French crepe but they’re basically a tortilla stuffed with a rich dark chocolate cream and chicken. Those who ordered them seemed to enjoy them a lot. After dinner we returned to the campus and reflected on the trip. Everyone provided some great compliments to each other and we shared some of our favorite moments. I think almost the whole group seemed to enjoy whale watching and diving with the sea lions the most, but every aspect of the trip was fantastic. By 10:30 we were back in our dorms packing for the last time and preparing for the long journey home tomorrow.

Cooper Peery

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