May 18-25 2004

Trip Start May 11, 2004
Trip End Jul 28, 2004

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Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Yassas!!!!! (Hello) Well, I've been keeping busy here in Kalo Nero. We're still in the house until more volunteers arrive and some of us wil got to the campo at Vounaki (which means small hill) We;ve been busy cutting bamboo to use as not only markers but also when we find a nest we put a grid over it and hammer down bamboo sticks into the ground to keep dos from digging down and eating the eggs. The grids are big enough for the hatchlings to get out which are very small and by the time they reach adulthood they will have grown 8000 times their orignal size!! Unfortuntaley I won't see any hatchlings as they don't hatch until around August. Oh well, just means I'll have to come again!! The incubation perios is aroud 55 days, and we haven't had any nest syet.What's so neat about the incubation period, is that the sex is determined by the temperature of the sand. Hot temperatures produce females, so let's hope for hot weather!! We've only done morning surveys the last three days. Hopefully in the next few days they'll start coming in and then we'll begin the night surveys. During the night surveys if we come acros a turtle nesting we wait until she's finsished (takes about an hour) and then we measure her and tag her. This year at least one turtle will be radio tagged, so that we can findout where they go during internesting. THey nest every two to three years once they reach sexual maturity at hte age of 20 to 30. FOr our moring surveys we just walk one of the the beach sections and if we find a nest mark it, or if the egss need to be moved we'll move them. We only do this if they have no chance of survival(too close to the shore and will be washed away) Another interesting thing about the htachlings is that what attracts them to the sea is the light reflection from the moon and stars, they go to the brightest thing. unfortuntaly with lights on the beaches, they get confused and end up crawling all over the beach and get preyed on by animals and such. Anyhow, back to what I've been doing. Had a day off and went to Olympia. Onw of the ladies, JUdy, who's British, has a vehicle and drove us there. IT was quite incredible to picture yourself as a n athlete in teh Olympia sanctuary. Kylie, one iof the Kiwis and I ran across the length of the stadium. I can now say I've ran at the Olympics (well in some form)!!!! In the museum they had the east ans wesst pediments of The RTemple of Zeus. IEach one told a different story in the form of sculpted pictures. The East pediment told the story of the Chariot race between Pelop and Dinomaeo(why the Peloppnose is called the Pelopenese). THe west told the story of the battle between the Lapiths and Centaurs. After Olympia we decided to take the scenic route back to Kalo Nero through the mountains. And, yes, scenic route dose mean some treacherous roads. At one ppoint we even got out of the vehicle so it wouldn't bottom out, haha. Anyhow we stopped ofr lunch in this lovely mountain village called Andritsena. Sophie, from France, was beckoned into a restaurant (well teh bottom of a ladies house actually) and so we went in to be fed by Alexandra, a 76 year old woman full of stores that kept us busy for 2 hours as Alex translated her stories about the town, myths, and war stories(which almost brought her to tears) It took her an incredibky long time to prepare or meal of wild pig and potatoes, greek sald and some kind of dandeloin like plant from the hills, but it was great watching and listening to her. Her husband had dies 5 years earlier and before he left he told her to greet peopple at her door, bring them in , feed them, and send the, away to God with a full stomach. So, that's what she does. She told us how the town was empty of the young, who have all left except for a few that herd sheep. From there we took winding roads around teh mountains to the Temple of Apollo, which is under a hufge tent, was a bit dissapointing because of this fact, but understand it's for protection. Anyhow, we stopped in another fantastic village called Platania which was high in the mountains but one can see the ocean in the horizon. We stopped for coffees and some kind of orange rind dessert called Neratzaki. We ate on a terrace to a specatular view of the valley below, and the river meandering it's way to the vast ocean. Boys were playing soccer a in the street among the cars, and one girl too!!! Every where we went we met interesting people with stories to tell. One man at the cafe told us a myth of how Europe came to be, something to do with her being carried on the back of Zeus disguised as a buffalo, and carrying her to Greece where she married a greeek man, thus Europe is Greek! (sounds just like from the movie My big fat greek wedding, remeber, "every word is originated in Greece") And, then when we asked for directions we didn't leave for another ten minutes as they informer was a writer and he told us about his story and also a man from the Village who now lives in Montreal spoke to me for a while. Anyhow, we eventually made our way back home. We've been eating incredibly well here. A couple of nights ago we made Tzatziki with enough garlic to keep you up at night (and trust me it did) I've never ate so much feata cheese and olive poil as i have the last few weeksa. WE ussualy work in the morning and evening when it's not as hot. Then in the afternoon we swim and sun tan in the waters, shich I 've been told will get quite warm in a few weeks. I've been running a few days. RThe dirst two times I went in the mornig and saw a two seperat shepherds and their herd of sheep and goats. So, sureal running by olive trees and sheep by the ocean. The stars are amxing here. Alex is expecting some star maps in the mail soon, so during ou night surveys we can learn some constelations. On Saturday we went into Kiparisia (where I am right now) for the market. The square was full of people selling fruits, veggies, honey, and clothes. Then of course there was more bamboo cutting when we returned. Anyhow, I'm qquite excited to see my first turtle, so anyday now I hope they'll arrive. Anyhow, I better run. Love you all, until next time...
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