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My Time So Far…

Hi guys, Sam here to let you know how im enjoying my time in Trinidad up until now. After only three weeks, I can safely say that I am having the best time of my life. I think possibly I have been to more different sites than any of my fellow expeditioners so far.

Robbie has already mentioned the swim up Marianne River and other things the group enjoyed in the first week, so ill talk about other stuff we’ve done. Perhaps the best experience I have had so far was my first visit to Arima Valley, this area is the most diverse area of the island, with hundreds of species found within a small area. Sadly, many quarries have popped up in the region which is slowly creating a large scar on the landscape. Along with Mark, John Murphy and his assistant Gabriel, we visited the William Beebe Research Station at Simla which up to this point was the most beautiful sight I had ever seen. This station is set to be a major survey site for the lizard surveys and the frog surveys.

After this, we decided to stop for lunch at the Asa Wright Nature Centre, one of Trinidad’s top tourist destinations. As I walked through the lobby of the ornately designed visitor centre, I wasn’t warned about what exactly I was about to witness. Stepping out onto the deck my breath was taken away as I was greeted by a view straight down the middle of several valleys, with so many species of hummingbird flying around, agouti (imagine a big guinea pig with short hair) running about, and countless other bird species. WHAT A PLACE TO SPEND YOUR 21ST BIRTHDAY !!!

After enjoying a hearty lunch John took us on a snake hunt, driving around the roads of the Arima Valley looking for any snakes on the roads. After a while this began to get a little tiring, but we were quickly bolted awake as John spotted a small Fer-de-lance lying on the road. This snake is one of the most poisonous snakes on the planet, and is not to be messed with! Exciting stuff!

As Roisin has mentioned, we are doing a lot of work with turtles, and my experience at Fishing Pond is extremely memorable. But I won’t dwell on that for too long. Instead ill talk about the visit to the William Beebe Tropical Research Station at Simla where myself and the team doing the frog surveying stayed for the night. We travelled there in the afternoon and had a look around Morne Bleu and then stayed the night at the research centre. The caretaker Ronnie Hernandez is a lovely man who has been working at the station for 22 years, and has many stories about the previous expeditions, some of whom spent extended periods of time at the centre. We also saw several species of lizard, after dark the geckos came out, beautiful looking lizards which walked up and down the walls of the station. There was also one individual who had taken up residence in our bathroom, so I named him Gerald.

The next morning we met up with a man named Nigel, who runs the Hamjel Research Station, where the expedition hopes to spend some time. He filmed some of the work we were doing that day in order to make a short film for the local people. He feels that many of the locals aren’t aware of what work we do when he visit Trinidad, and so thinks a short film outlining this would help. We all think so too !

Whilst I have the chance ill quickly talk about my project, the lizard surveying project. It is fully up and running, with many sites having been visited throughout the northern range of Trinidad. Using the McKinnon’s List method of surveying, we have been surveying different habitats in order to get a an idea of the possible distribution of different species. So far this project is going extremely well, and I’ll be back in a few weeks to tell you more about this.

One of the sites we have visited is Maracas Waterfall, the largest waterfall on Trinidad. I don’t think I can really sum up the beauty of this place in words, so ill let the pictures do the talking.

So, yeah so far this has been just a small fraction of the things I have been doing on Trinidad thus far, and im sure you’ll agree that it sounds amazing ! Somebody new will be up next to tell you about their time so far and the other things the group gets up to. TTFN ! Tata for now !

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