Walking in the rain

It was my second night with Abelardo. When we left the sky was pretty clear but dark. After walking for quite some time, I could see dark clouds far across the horizon. We both knew a heavy downpour was waiting ahead of us. We did not see any turtle tracks at all. It felt like a very long walk on the beach. Not long past Laguna Lodge, we saw at least two torch lights flashing around the beach,  making the beach looked like a disco. We approached the tourists and they were from Switzerland. One of them could speak in Spanish and it was really good to be able to speak in German again. Ich habe gesagt, dass Sie ab 6 Uhr am Abend nicht am Strand bleiben dürfen.

We saw the first turtle not long after, with a lot of tourists. The spotter told us it was camouflaging but when we got up, it was ready to leave. Abelardo said we should leave so we continued walking until we found the second turtle  together with another spotter. It was digging an egg chamber. We decided to walk further and come back later. It started to be very windy when we walked back to that turtle. I could feel a thunderstorm was coming. I put on my raincoat, obviously with no intention of getting wet. When we came back, there were so many tourists around the turtle. They probably had disturbed it as it had begun to dig another bodypit so we left again. It started raining not long after. The wind was blowing against my back so from my ass down, I was all wet. We walked until entrance 0, found no turtle track and turned back. This time I was walking against the wind. The raindrops were dropping on my face and started dripping down my neck. Good thing I had a bandana on as it kinda absorbed all the water. We didn’t see many tracks on our way back and all of them were up- and downtracks, even the one with the tourists had left.

The rain only got worse. Occasionally we saw lightning and heard the thunder way after. We came across one spotter, exchanged a few words and left, to be precise – nada! Not long before Laguna, we came across another two spotters, one with a bike, sitting on the beach. After saying the same word, we left. A few seconds after, Abelardo told me they were behind us. I just acknowledged it and continued walking. Due to the hood, I didn’t really see him beside me. I just walked and maybe 10 or 15 minutes later, I looked to my right and realised it wasn’t Abelardo beside me. I had been walking with a spotter since I don’t-know-when. Aberlardo was with another spotter way behind us. The spotter beside me kept repeating that your friend was at the back.

We reached STC station at about 11pm. We still had one hour patrol so we started walking towards 0 again. The rain seemed to subside a bit. Then it started to rain heavily. I was hesitating whether or not to go back. Abelardo said we should but it didn’t feel right so I suggested to walk until 11.30pm and then return to the station. As I was walking, a bat flew directly into my face!!! I could still feel its wing flapping against my face. I really had no idea how it happened. I thought bats emit sound and they listen for the echo that bounces back when it hit an object. Maybe it was interfered by the rain. I was screaming when I tried to take it off my face. Abelardo asked if I was alright and I could not even tell him what had happened as I did not know how to say that in Spanish. I do know now – Un Murcielago se choco en mi cara!

We did not walk far from Mawamba when all of suddenly, the lightning and thunder struck all at the same time and very near to us. I was already freaking out. Worse, I was the one holding the caliber!!! In my mind, I was picturing a lightning strike on the caliber and me being fried up! Abelardo said we should go back. We walked or half-running back to STC. It felt so long. We came across the spotters again. While we were talking to him, the lightning struck again and even when I closed my eyes, I could picture his face in the dark!

I was all wet when we finally reached STC. It was only 11.15pm but I did not care. Ani and Bernardo did not come back and I assumed they were just too far away to rush back. This was the first patrol with no turtle!!! NADA! That was also the word that I heard at least three times from the spotters! I kept telling Abelardo, no tortuga y lluvia esta muy mal! As I said, every night patrol is adventurous. The beach starts to look familiar (thanks to the frequent walk) but each night something different would happen! Let’s see if anything happens tonight! =)

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