June 7th, 2014 – Departing from Lalo Loor
Today we packed our luggage for our much needed days of fun in the sun at Punta Prieta beach resort. Of course we did witness the mangrove ecosystem first, but after the technical science behind the ecological beauty, we made camp on the western coast of Ecuador. Even though this is my third time on the beach on the duration of this program, it doesn’t seem to become even remotely tiresome. I definitely have never spent as much time as I will on the beach during this “vacation on my vacation”.
I enjoyed feeling the cool breeze of the air brush lightly over my skin on its path to the ocean as I scavenged the coastline for new seashore spectacles. Upon my preliminary inspection of the uncharted lands, I observed a small opening at the base of a rock cliff which I bravely explored. The secret cavern did not contain many other secrets within, but that was not the point. I had discovered one of the lesser unknowns of this place, something that no one would ever think to explore unless I showed them what I unearthed. I savored the mystery of the situation.
Halfway through this program, I think my wish has come true. I have come to realize that I need mystery, adventure, and discovery in my life. I think I was afraid to admit that earlier because it might interfere with the plans for the future and I might have to deviate from the standard, albeit safer, path. But as the cliché goes, “what’s life if you don’t get a little beaten up along the way”? I apologize for my adolescent immaturity and obvious teenage monologue you are reading now… 20 really is just a number.
June 8th, 2014
6:45am – Sitting at the Top of the World
This morning I woke up with the intention of seeing something inspirational, so I climbed to the highest vantage point in the reserve. The ascent along lighthouse ladder consists of maybe 20 ft (??? I never could measure distances…). The essence of Punta Prieta did not provide me what I was looking for that morning. In the distance, the hills served as a blockade over the horizon, ruining my chances of feasting my eyes upon an early dawn. But the scene was set perfectly for sundown. I guess I’ll have to wait to experience my cliché moment of viewing a radiant sunburst and gaining the necessary inspiration to write (Just a number, just a number)… At the moment I can just sit and enjoy infinity, absorbing the forever of the waves reaching out towards the land, trying to reach for what it can never have. I peer out into the endless expanse of the ocean. And I get lost in it.
Although I have done nothing physically intensive, I feel strangely fatigued from the events of today. Today was another “run through the waves” kind of day. I still find the salty smell of the sea to be enticing, but I’m ready to get back to work. I’ve extended the limits of my exploration – or at least as far as I could without the possibility of getting into more trouble – and can leave a little less than satisfied with my sleuthing. Two of the additions to my personal collection of hidden gems include the “off-limits” stripper bar – complete with stage and pole for maximum viewing pleasure, some parts sold separately – and the crow’s nest of the ship overhanging on the edge of the cliff.
June 9th, 2014
We are about to depart the beloved Punta Prieta for the wet dry forest reserve, Lalo Loor. As much as I think I would like to get back to work and learn all the field methods of ecology that I should know, I can’t help but long for more time here. I just keep imagining what it would be like to wake up in a tent on the beach every morning and falling asleep to the sounds of the very soul of the beach. The evening sea breeze would cast its refreshing chill upon me and the ocean would engulf me into its eternity. As I viewed sunrise and sunset (or as close as I could get) on what felt like the top of the world, I sat and reminisced about the past, forget about the present, and did not even acknowledge the future. I will miss the features of the beach. The warm sand beneath my feet and in every possible cranny of my body, the metronomic waves never missing a beat of its attack on the coast, and just all the picturesque beauty this environment has to offer. I have sunburns and seashells as souvenirs of my time here, but it is not enough. Do I really just leave this all behind? Would this be worth it all? Fortunate for me, the decision does not lie in my hands… I am leaving in the passing hours. Goodbye Punta Prieta. I will miss you.
I don’t watch sunsets often, but when I do it’s at Punta Prieta.
Even in the setting skies, I live to declare my pride. Badgers Abroad.