The last days of turtle work

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

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Saturday, July 3, 2004

Thursday, June 24: Today morning survey was very busy with 6 nests in the sectoer Emma and I were surveying. The Marikas from Finland left monday morning and Hannah and Jenny form Britain arrived Sunday night. Last thursday was my first night survey!! Tom and I walked the dark beah until 3:45 am when we finally found a turtle. She was just building her egg chamber when we arrived. You could hear and see the sand beinf licked away as she dg the hole. IT all went very smoothly, and Tom was all experience as this was his fifth year volunteering with Archelon. FGot back around 5:15am,. Alex's(a greek vlonteer)parents came Friday night and brought greek food for supper which we ate back at he house in Kalo Nero. Melita, a Greek employee of Archelon, made teh traditional halva for dessert. It's made out of tahini. Went for an incredible run through a coastal forest near the camp Saturday and then Sunday I was at eh info kisosk at Agianakkes, an old train station. When Jusy and I were coming back from the kiosk, the watermelon farmer stopped us and offered us watermelon. But, he kept handing over more, after 4 sitting on my lap, we kept saying ohee efaristo (no thankyou) until they stopped. Everyone is so generous here. We re always getting fresh veggies from the neighbours. From there went to Kyp to wprk at that kisok, had some greek pizza and just enjoyed the square come to life in the evening. Sunday, sdurimg morning survey, while I bent down to pick up some more bamboo we had stored along the beach for when we ran out, a scorpion almost ran up my ankle. IT was about 2 inches. Was really neat to see!!
Sunday June 27- Thursday night two american girls, from Philidelphia (Kate) amd California (Nika) , arrived. THey've been going to schol fo rthe last year in the UK and heard about the project from Jenny who they went to school with and came the year before. having fun at the beach. Went on night survey with kathy and tagged two unaccomodating turtles who were in quite a rush. Thursday afternoon, Emma and I hitch hiked into Kypo to use the internet and pick up a few things. Then returned to kalo bnero where we choppe dsome more bamboo, as the supply is getting low. Every couple of nights we cut bamboo. It's like being in Vietnam, we are all in the bamboo patch with saws now( used to be table knives that took forever) and we work up quite a sweat. Hppwever with the beach right there, we go swim after to cool off.After my night survey I got the morning off and woke up to find a chocolate bar and note from Kylie in my tent!! They had gonew into Kyp to watch the quarter finlas in teh Euro cup while Kathy and I did night survey, so she bought a chocolate bar, how thoughtful! Spent some time on the beach in the afternoon and then read some Greek books in the kitchen (it's under a big tree)to plan my trip to Keffalonia. In the evening a few of us went to the bamboo patch to pick up some bamboo we left behind the night before. AS we did this, the rest went to AS sector and burried some beer in a fake nest. The idea was to pretend that the nest had been missed earlier in the day and we needed TOm's expertise to find it (as he always does). IT was funny because as it was a fake nest, they had to make tracks that looked like they were trampled as it is too hard to make authentic looking turtle tracks and a camaflouge. So, for Tom, it was frustrating as he sdwa a half dozen people digging half heartedly for a nest that had had it's evidence wiped out. However he uickly found the beer and had a good laugh. After we all watched the sunset at the fake nest location and had a beer we walked into town to have supper at one of the tavernas. Today, Sunday, I worled my last shift at the Kypirrisia kiosk. The local girls kept picking lowers and decorating our kisok with them. The kiosk seem sto be the girlslocal hangout.
June 30- Monday mornin I had my last morning survey with Alex and Kate. Around lunch time, I went to lunch with kathy and Jenny to the taverna down the road from the camop called Adamapoulis'. Had a greek salda like i have everyday, haha. In the afternoon took down my tent and organized my bag, cut soem more bamboo. After bamboo, i finished packing everything and I went down tothe beach to watch the sunset with everyone who was at camp (Kathy and Marina had to go to Koroni camp; Jenny, Kate, and Emma were at the Kypirissia kiosk, but came back at ten) THe group had organized a send off for me!! Kylie brought out the stereo on to the beach and we played pass the parcel which ended up being muy fave greek chocolate bar. We shared it and the n went for one last skinny dip. After the swim we had an awesome greek supper which Alex had cooked, followed by a great summer dessert Kylie Made ( biscuit crumble bottom, condensed milk and lemon juice middle, with a jello top) I thought it was all finished, but then Brian, Kylie and Alex stood up and Brian gave a little speecha nd they handed me this giant card made out of the sports page of the Athens paper. They had glued on messages from everyone along with the names of the tortoises that roam the kithen grounds, greek words, and lyrics from the sound of music that Kathy always sings! Jusy had gl;ued sand to the bottom of the card and made a littel gris to represent the turtle nest grids on the beach, It was so lovely. Then as I was reading it, Alex put a necklace witha sea shell he had made on my neck. I was so surrised by it all. Gave everyone a hug, said the goodbyes, and Kylie, Jenny, and I headed out on to the beach(witha full moon) to walk the night survey. On teh first stretch we saw two turtles re-entering the sea. With the full moon, weverything was very vbisible and it's so magical to watch the turtles slip into a wave and disapear to only return to pop up their head for a breath a few seconds later. WE found a turtle digging an egg chamber and then when she finally started laying, we crawled up behind her. With the calipers under your arm (used to measure her carapace)and crawling up slowly in the dark, you feel like some kind of spy. She had a plastic tag on her back flipper, so Kylie only had to put a metla tag in her front left flipper. The turtle was so relaxed and took her time making a good camaflouge allowing us to measure her a few times for accuracy. Then we watched in the moonlight as she crawled back down the beach, slipped into a wave and popped up fpr a breath and was off. Watched a nother turtle for a while which ended up abandoning her egg chamber. Jenny left a bit early as she had morning survey. When Kylie and I were finished we walked into Kalo Nero to the house where our bags had been dropped off in order for us to leave in the morning with the bus.
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