Saturday, October 01, 2005

Back from Surigao

I just got back from Surigao Del Sur from Hinatuan Bay for the video documentary of the Philippine segment of the LMMA network Lessons Learned video.

It was a good 6 very full work days on the field. It is always good to be back on the field. But I do not miss the 5 hours dusty road trip because the nearest airport to Surigao del Sur is Butuan airport. As always when we arrive I felt like an antique and my butt screaming from the long hours of the bumpy bus ride--not airconditioned. But all these vanish in my memory once we are on the waters of the Bay on a pump boat.

A great highlight of the trip is that one fisherman turned over a male hawksbill turtle, a juvenile one--actually it was a handicapped turtle it has only one fore leg. It was brought to the CERD office and we were able to film the tagging we brought the turtle to Mahaba Island and participated in its release. I was transported back to my old days in the Turtle Islands. Back then i was able to tag mature turtles when they lay their eggs on the shore at night. I remember the mornings when we participated in releasing turtle hatchlings.

Interacting with the fisherfolks and living with them just for a while is a humbling experience. Ka Gems, she lives on Mahaba Island. She always cooks for us when we are there--crabs, shrimps and gastropods for lunch fresh from the back yard mangrove area.

This trip is also the first time that I was able to dive in Hinatuan Bay before it was always snorkeling. We saw tomato clown fish, good sized sweet lips and groupers. The dive at San Juan we found huge braching acroporas.

While I was on the boat, I felt at peace and kept thinking how relaxing it is to work out on the sea. The salt water spraying, the waves relaxing. Even if sometimes the skies were overcast it felt really good to be out there in the open water.

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