Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Excavation today 18:00

Another loggerhead nest to excavate on bay 1 tonight. We will not be doing one tomorrow night as we are all invited to the High Commissioners residence for a cocktail party. WOOOo Hoooo!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

New time for excavations: 18:00 tonight

Excavations will now be starting at 18:00 rather than 18:30 as we are loosing the light fast.

Disappointingly but quite predictably no-one turned out for the litter pick on Tuesday but we managed to clear the car park and it's now looking and smelling a lot better down here. We will clear the Alagadi 2 area soon and hopefully, the busy summer period over with, it might stay nice for a while.

We've been enjoying the cooler weather and making the most of relaxation time now that the work is less busy. Only a few weeks left for most of us and many leaving this week, we will drop to 7 people.

We still have not found a home for Gunter (below) and the beagle puppy that was hanging around us has now dissapeared after our efforts to re-home that one also failed.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Litter pick this evening at Alagadi 18:00


We have no nests to excavate tonight but instead will be focusing efforts on the car park at Alagadi and on the beach itself, tackling the litter that has built up during the busy hatching period, during which we were unable to do litter clears. This is a big job but many hands make light work so if you have the late afternoon free and feel like doing somthing for the community and the environment, come down to the Goat Shed at 18:00. We have latex gloves and bin liners but feel free to bring more as we will use them later in the season or next year if they are not used.



Hoping to see a good turn out.

Robin

Monday, September 7, 2009

Excavation tonight at Alagadi. 18:30

We will be excavating a logerhead nest at Alagadi tonight so meet at the goatshed if you are interested. This is a loggerhead nest that has been hatching since yesterday. 40 live have already emerged but there may be more to come plus we have green hatchlings to release from this mornings patrol.

Any takers for adopting our pooch below please contact me on 05338879115.

Robin

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Celebrate and lets excavate!

Hey guys and gals!

I am really excited to tell you we have another excavation today! Two in a row, you are a lucky bunch of people! So the order of proceedings are as any other night. Turn up at our base, the 'Goatshed' in Alagadi Village just before 6.30pm and we will walk down to the beach together at just after the half hour. The whole thing should not last much more than an hour to an hour 30mins, bring a bottle of water as it can still be quiet hot at this time.

As always feel free to ask any questions to any of the volunteers at the turtle project, and come visit our info room and small shop at our base to find out more infomation or just have a chat as to how we got involved!

The beach is open before hand (8am-8pm) if you should come early, and there is a lovely beach bar in the middle of Alagadi beach should you want a drink whilst you wait for 6.30pm to role on round.

Hopefully see you all later,

Samuel x

Friday, September 4, 2009

Loving Family Needed!





Slightly off topic blog message for today, mainly addressing those wonderful ex pats and the Cypriots that live out here in sunny, sunny Northern Cyprus. We have a member of our team who needs a new home by the beginning of October. He has been with us since around the end of June but needs a loving family when we all disappear off back to our hometowns. He is called Gunter and is the friendliest dog you will have ever met. He just decided to visit us down at the beach one night, frightening a couple of members to death at first, but they both quickly realised he just wanted a bit of company. Now he never leaves us, we are his surrogate family.

Ideally as I have said we would love someone to take him in as their own pet, as although a couple of members have looked at taking him back to England, it unfortunately costs far too much to keep him in quarantine for the needed length of time.

He enjoys complete free reign around the Goatshed and the surrounding area of Alagadi, so is very much his own man. However with little effort he has learned the commands sit and stay and also does not mind being on a lead, which we often have to do so he doesn’t come down to the beach at night.

If he is not adopted by someone by the end of the season (beginning of October) he will unfortunately have to be abandoned as there is no room for him at the dog sanctuary. Even if you cannot adopt him yourself please spread the word to everyone you know and hopefully we will be able to find him a warm and loving home.

To get in touch leave a message on the blog, or come down to our base, the ‘Goatshed’, in Alagadi Village.

Thank you,

Samuel and the rest of us at the Turtle Project.

Work innundation/excavation today.

The past few weeks have been crazy. The peak period of hatching with over 10 nests hatching at the same time for some days. We have four experiments currently underway at University of Exeter looking into population genetics and turtle behaviour. These all require a lot of man power on the beach at Alagadi night and day.

All of our nests (183 now as we had a very late loggerhead nest on Aug 30th...record year by 20 nests)are circled with a ring cage which forms a barrier around the nest on 40 days post lay. The ring cages have a gate which is closed just before dark. After dark each ring caged nest is checked every half an hour so the beaches are walked at these intervals through the night. On finding hatchlings in a ring cage they are put into a bucket and taken to our lab facility on Alagadi 1 beach where a biopsy sample is taken for genetic analysis. Some hatchlings are then used in time trial experiments to assess whether our work with them is having a detrimental effect on the energy levels of the hatchlings prior to release. Further, some hatchlings may be used in orientation experiments where individuals are released in a circular arena on the beach with artificial lights at the opposite side of the arena to the sea. We are experimenting to find which wavelengths (colours) of light attract hatchlings away from the sea most and which are turtle friendly. We may be able to find alternative lights that are visible to humans but not to hatchlings so getting around the problem of development on beaches where artificial lights cause hatchlings to travel away from the sea on hatching.

After nests have hatched and once a certain number of babies have emerged or if the nest has been hatching for a certain number of days, or if it has failed to hatch by 60 days, we then dig it up. If we think that some hatchlings may remain in the nest alive then we will call a public excavation as we have today. We usually have babies left from the previous night that we were unable to release before dawn, we can release these at sun set after the excavation with any live from the excavated nest. If the excavated nest is one of our study nests then the contents of the nest have to be taken back to the lab for biopsy. This is often a nasty job as many of the unhatched eggs can be very rotten and we need to take samples from any failed embryos. This PhD project is looking into the paternity of hatchlings....the contribution of males to the population. All of our studies have in the past focussed on females as these are the only individuals that come out of the water, but we are now using modern DNA technology to find out more about the population as a whole.

And all this is just at Alagadi, we still have 20 beaches around the rest of the island to survey every day carrying out excavations when we find hatched nests, averaging around 10 a day. Already short on numbers we had two volunteers that left a month early. At this point we had to close our base on the west coast and a group of two have been surveying the North and West coasts every other day. Hard work and a lot of driving and petrol.

Finally it looks like the storm has passed and things are beginning to calm down. We only have about 45 nests remaining on Alagadi (though in 2005 we had this many nests all season). It's a relief to walk down to the beach and not be confronted with a dense forest of white cages!

A few more volunteers on their way out though we are saying goodbye to more. Evren who has been volunteering arrives on Sunday and I'm looking forward to putting him to work. Mostly looking forward to the last few weeks of September when things really quieten down and hopefully there will be some time for a bit of recreation and maybe some tandem paragliding if the wind is right.

Meet at Alagadi tonight at 18:30 to see a public nest excavation and we also have about 50 hatchlings to release.

Robin

Monday, August 31, 2009

Excavation tonight at Alagadi.

Dear Turtle Followers

After a long silence on the blog long due a really hectic few days, Collsy has remembered to update the blog through me, Josh. We have a public excavation tonight! All you have to do is turn up at our base at The Goat Shed, in Alagadi, at 6.30pm or just before. It should take about an hour to an hour and half, everyone is welcome and we welcome cameras and camcorders but the flash must be turned off, so as to not damage the hatchlings sensitive vision.

Hopefully see you tonight
Josh x

Friday, August 21, 2009

Celebrate and lets excavate!

Hello turtle lovers!

Sorry about the slight delay in this latest blog entry, but we DO have an excavation this evening at 18.30. As usual meet at our base, the Goat Shed, in Alagadi village and we will all walk down to the excavation site together.

There will be lots to see tonight, as we have plenty of hatchlings to release from a couple of morning excavations and as well as some stragglers from the tail end of the night work we carry out.

Please bring water as it can be quite hot and the whole excavation can last for up to 1 hour 30 minutes. I would also like to remind people not to use flash photography as it will be the hatchings first time at seeing light, and we don’t want to damage the little beasties eyes!

Catch you later,

Samuel

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Excavation tonight at Alagadi

Good morning turtle followers,

We do have a public excavation on this evening, so if you would like come a visit the poroject and watch the excavation, please meet at the Goat shed in Alagadi village and we will take you down to the nest.

Please may I remind you that we ask no flash photography as it can damage the hatchlings sight, as it is the first light they have seen

Thank you
Collsyxxx

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Celebrate and lets excavate!

Good morning one and all,

I am glad to announce to all the world that we do have another excavation on this evening, and after all the loggerhead excavations, we have another green nest to excavate...how exciting!

If you would like to see a volunteer dig to the ends of the earth, (the green nest egg chambers can be up to a meter deep) then you are welcome to come and watch.

As always (you know the form by now) we get everyone to meet at the Goat shed for 6:30pm where volunteers will take you down to the nest after this time.

If you have been trying to call me ts morning, I apologise for not answering, I had the morning of for a chance of a lie in..bliss, but the lines are all up and running now if you would like to call - 05338678188

Hope to see many people there
Collsyxxx

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sorry Turtle Followers there is an excavation on!

Good morning turtle followers,

after a prompt update with the blog yesterday morning, I have let myself down today. We do however have an excavation on this evening, and I therefore invite everyone and anyone to come and join the volunteers in excavating the nest. The nest we are excavating today is a Green, and is our first Green pubic excavation so it is well worth a watch - although we can not guarantee there will be many hatchlings remaining in the nest as it has been hatching over the last 4 days, we do have hatchlings from Alagadi to release from this morning.

We do however ask that during the excavation , no flash photography, as not only does it show how dirty the volunteers really are, but it is also the first time these hatchlings have seen light, and the intensity could impair their sight.

We hope to see many of you there tonight, just as before, turn up at the Goat shed for 6:30pm and we will take you down to the nest from there.

Hope to see you there
Collsyxxx

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Excavation for the Nation to Night!!!

Good morning turtle followers,
After a quick morning on the beach, I have managed to remember the blog, and have posted a nice early blog stating that yes we do have an excavation on this morning. The nest is on bay three, and is Loggerhead nest.

All those are welcome to come view the volunteers expert digging skills to hunt out the nest, and release any babies that are found that night.

We do ask though, no flash photography when the first hatchlings emerge, as the light is the first light the babies have seen, and it can damage their eyes. Sorry for the nag but it it is important. We will have volunteers walking around the nest with hatchlings for close up pictures.

We hope you can all make it, if not and you still wish to see an excavation, please call me on 05338678188 after 9:30, and i will be able to tell you whether there is going to be an excavation.

Hope to see you this evening
Collsyxxx

Friday, August 14, 2009

SORRY!!!- Excavtion this evening

Hello turtle followers,

I am sorry to say that writing the blog this morning completely slipped my mind, and I know I will be luck to catch those who want to come down to the excavation this evening, but we do have one on. If any followers are reading this and would like to come down this evening to observe the volunteers dig up the nests and see babies scurry to the sea, you are more than welcome to come down. Whereas those who are currently sat in England wishing they where here can only dream of the hatchlings scurrying to the sea (Sorry Mum-didn’t mean to rub it in :D)

Once again sorry for the delay in writing the blog, but please do come along if you can!

Collsyxxx

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Excavation Tonight on Alagadi

Good morning turtle followers,

I am happy to announce that we do have an excavation on this evening, after a day of no excavations yesterday.

This nest is a black nest, so any hatchlings will be weighted measured and released on the day.

All are welcome to come and view the excavation, just meet at the Goat shed at 6:30pm where we will take everyone down to the nest.

Hope to see you there
Collsyxxx

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

EXCAVATION-Tonight at Alagadi

Good morning all,

A lack of power means a late blog entry, but I come online with good news, that there is going to be an excavation on this evening. The nest that we will be digging up , is a transplanted nest from the North coast, where if it was left, the eggs would have been washed over and the nest would most likely be destroyed. Therefore to increase the chance of the nest surviving, volunteers carefully dug up the nest, and relocated the eggs to a sit on Alagadi.

This nest has been hatching over the last couple of days, however, because this nest if from the north coast, we treat it within the same conditions; there are flat cages, and a dome cage over the nest for warning and to prevent predation, however unlike the nests on Alagadi, there is no ring cage to collect the hatchlings. This means that many have already made it to the sea, so any hatchlings found from this nest will be released straight away along with some babies that where excavated this morning.

Hope to see lot of you followers there
All the best
Collsyxxx

Monday, August 10, 2009

Logger Excavation tonight

Good morning once again fom Aligadi,

We do have another public excavation on this evening, and all who wish to come along can do. This nest is a Loggerhead nest, and it is one of the nests that we are taking genetic samples to see how many possible males there are in the Med. Therefore we will not be realesing any of the hatchlings out of the nest tonight, but we do have lots of babies that my team of Morning hatchers have just excavated this morning.

Therefore we hope many of you will turn up to view the excavation. Just meet at the Goat shed for 6:30pm where we can then take you down to the nest to start the excavation.

Hope to see you there,
Collsyxx

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Excavation on Aligadi

good morning turtle followers, having just got off the beach i have some good news for those who have not yet been down to view an excavation, as we have one this afternoon. All are welcome to come along. Just meet at the Goat Shed at 6:30am, and we will take you down to the nest that we are going to excavate.

Hope to see you all there
Collsyxxx

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Wind down

Things are really winding down now with the adults although last night we unexpectedly had a green nest taking the total on Alagadi to 181. If you check out www.seaturtle.org/tracking you'll see that all of the females that we are tracking have left and some of them have hit the coasts of Syria, Lebanon and Egypt already. Hatching however is picking up and we expect this to peak towards the end of this month.

We have been enjoying the cooler weather these last few days and with a later start on the beach at night time an extra hour in the day here and there goes a long way. Today Tom and I took a trip to the south side crossing the border at Lefkosia where we endulged in some western food and drank coffee on the top floor of Debenhams over the city. Our visa's were due to run out so this jolly was a strict necessity.

Eight of the volunteers have been invited to help out with the national celebrations at Erenkoy today. But despite the lack of manpower we are going ahead with an excavation this evening.

Hope to get into town soon to catch up with you Angela....Monday perhaps. And thanks to Pat and John for dropping off the cash that you raised on the stall.

Robin x

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Excavation Tonight on Alagadi

Morning turtle followers,

Sorry I have not updated the blog earlier, we have had one of those mornings down the beach, where nests started hatching at 8:20am. Then we have to wait 30 min after the last hatching hatches before we can leave the nest..this morning the last one to hatch came up at 8:50 so busy busy morning.

So the news that you have been waiting for, we do have an excavation o this evening, and as this nest is a black nest, we will be releasing the babies found in the nest this evening, along with some of the greens that hatch on Alagadi this morning.

So all are welcome, just meet at the goat shed (base) at 6:30pm, where we will take you down to the nest. We do recommend that you bring some water down, as the nest can take up to an hour to excavate, and we don't want anyone becoming dehydrated!!!

Hope to see you all there
Collsyxx

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Excavation....Celebration!!!


Good morning Turtle followers,

I have some good news, after a free day from excavations yesterday, we are pleased to announce that we are having an excavation on tonight. This nest is a Loggerhead, and was not original laid on this beach. It is a transplanted nest from one of the North coast beaches, as it was in danger of being washed away.

All are once again welcome, and we hope to see you there.

Collsyxx

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

the truth about turtle poo

This week has seen the loss of more of our long time volunteers. Sam, Kate and Alex left for England after a raucous night of singing, dancing and twister at the goatshed and Adrian (aka ze German) left for Germany this morning. We’re going to miss them loads so I have compiled a little list of Cyprus memories for them.

1) Kate pit tagging herself in the thumb
2) Sam wondering if you could become pregnant with turtle babies if you were in the wrong place and the wrong time
3) Adrian sleeping in the hammock
4) Alex attempting to play volleyball and leapfrog other volunteers in the pool#
5) Adrian sitting in the shower fully clothed bathing a cut foot and a cut chin
6) Sam and Kate failing to balance standing on an upside down kayak in a prohibited pool.
7) Alex drunkenly wondering bay 1 and 2
8) Sam’s many many food fights
9) Adrian’s roof time

So bye to all of you and we miss you loads.

So this week has been really busy. We still have adult turtles coming up to lay on Alagadi, which is very late in the season. Plus we’re really in the swing of the hatchling season now so we’re having public excavations on most days. If you would like to come and watch an excavation please phone 05338678188 after 9:30am and we will let you know if we have an excavation that afternoon.

Last Sunday we were invited to a pool party at Penny’s house, which was brilliant. The party entailed an entire day of fantastic food, quad bike racing, pool volleyball (with some dubious rules), a treasure hunt and everyone, with out exception, being thrown in pool fully clothed. It was a bedraggled but happy group of volunteers that trudged down to the beach for night work that evening.

A few of us managed to go on a small adventure the other night to go and see Harry Potter in Nicosia. After an extortionate taxi ride, during which we feared for our lives, we finally turned up 10 minutes late to sit in a cinema so long and narrow we could only just make out the screen from our seat. Even with that and the picture looking distinctly like a 70’s horror film in a strange mixture of sepia and flashing lights, we still managed to sleep through almost the entire film. (apart from Collsy, who obviously doesn’t work hard enough). Oh well, this is what nights off are all about.

Another dead turtle washed up on Lara beach this week. So obviously it was necessary to stink out the goatshed by doing an autopsy and using the excrement as a green fertilizer. Turtle poo usually consists of small green fragments of runny liquid. If you would like to observe some, please come to the goatshed, where a turtle has been previously squeezed and emptied on our garden. Please excuse the smell, it’s only partially the volunteers.


Well I better go as I can hear the entire goatshed clamouring for tea, which apparently they can’t make themselves.

Toodaloo. Celli

Monday, August 3, 2009

Another Excavation for the Nation to Night!!!


Good morning once again to all you turtle followers.

I am sorry this message is a bit late, us morning hatchers have only just got off the nest after a busy morning consisting of 4 excavations. So now down to the important news, I am glade to say that we have another excavation on today, and all are welcome to come and view.

This nest is a logger nest, and started hatching on the 1st of this month. We have already had 30 babies out of the nest, and a further 2 out of it this morning so hopefully there will still be some babies hatching in it for you all to view tonight.

I hope everyone hoping to come see an excavation can make it tonight (a 6:30pm meet at the Goat Shed), and those who are unable to make it can ring me in the mornings to see whether there is an excavation on that day, or keep an eye on the blog.

See you soon
Collsyxxx

My number is 05338678188

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Excavation tonight!

Good morning once again to dedicated turtle followers,

We have got an excavation today, with a 6:30 meet at the Goat shed. This nest is a Logger again, and was laid on the 14th June.

This year has been a record year for the turtles especially in Aligadi. This year we have had 173 nests, and around 600 activities (attempts and U-turns). This hopefully means that we are starting to see a possible result of our work on this project, as the hatchling released in 1992 when the project started, are reaching maturity, and may have come to nest for the very first time this year.

So I hope you can all make to day’s excavation, remember if you cannot make it tonight, you can either call me on my mobile in the mornings, or keep a close watched eye on this blog.

Hope to see you then
Collsyxx

Friday, July 31, 2009

EXCAVATION!!!

Good morning turtle followers,

I have some good news, after a few days of no excavations, I am happy to say that we have got a Public Excavation this evening, with a 6:30 meet at the Goatshed before we walk you down to the nest.

The nest that we are excavating is situated in the middle of bay 3, and is another Loggerhead nest, and was laid on the 5th of June.

All are welcome to come join the excavation this evening, so we hope many can make it.

If you are unable to make it this evening, make sure you keep one eye on this blog, as I am sure there will be more hatching soon!!

Hope to see you this evening
Collsyxx

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Another Excavation Tonight!! - All are welcome

Good morning once again from the Turtle Project,

I have good news for those people who where unable to make the excavation that we had yesterday afternoon, as we have got another excavation on tonight. Again the nest that we will be excavating will be a Loggerhead nest, but laid by a different female. We will be asking once again for visitors to arrive at the Goat shed at 6:30pm, but we advise those who have a car to drive down to the project, as the nest we are excavating is on the second beach that we patrol at night, and we will be leading a convoy of cars over to the beach.

Hope to see you there
Collsyxx

Monday, July 27, 2009

Excavation for the Nation to Night!!!


Good morning Turtle followers,

We have a nest, which we are going to excavate this evening, and all are welcome to come down to Aligadi and watch. The nest is a Loggerhead nest, and has been hatching over the last couple of days. The nest was laid on the 6th of June, and was the Loggerhead’s first clutch. She has so far come back to lay a further 3 clutches, which will possibly be her finished for this year.

If you would like to come down and watch the excavation, we ask all visitors to meet at the 'Goat Shed' at 6:30pm where we will then take you down to the nest.

If you are unable to make it to this excavation, we now have a telephone number you can ring, (sometime after 9:30am) to see whether there is an excavation that day. The number is: - 05338678188. From here you shall reach me (Lucy) and I will hopefully be able to say whether there is an excavation on that day.

Hope to see you at the excavation.
Collsy (Lucy)xx

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Excavation tonight!

We had hatchlings emerge this morning so there WILL be a nest excavation tonight. If you would like to attend please be at the project at 6.30 this evening!

Hay fights, hatchlings and backgammon

Good morning and welcome to another episode of the turtle blog.

I spent last week out West in a town called Guzelyurt. This was my first week of day-work in 8 weeks of night-work and I was desperate to get some sun. Every morning we’d wake up at 5 and go off-road to the West beaches where we would poke for nests, measure tracks and try on some of the random clothes we found washed up on the beach. Although it is supposed to be coming to the end of the season for nesting turtles, we still found a high number of nests on all of the 5 west beaches.

Out in Guzelyurt, the afternoons are your own so we wondered around town and made friends with some of the locals. We were taken on a tour of a nearby supermarket car park whilst Turkish drum and base blast out from the car sterio, invited for Turkish Coffee and challenged to a game of backgammon on the street. Eventually Heather and I managed to win 2 games to 1 (mum i hope you're proud), which didn’t seem to go down too well with our friendly Turkish man. Apparently losing Backgammon to British girls is humiliating! We also visited some ruins from over 300 BC and watched the sun set whilst eating home made (by Ainslie) banana pancakes over Monster (a particularly hideous beach). It was a very relaxing week and it was nice to see some more of Northern Cyprus, but its great to be back at the goatshed!

Last Monday we had our first public excavation of a hatched loggerhead nest. We all traipsed down to Alagadi 1 armed with weighing scales, tape measures and clip-boards ready to dig down for forgotten hatchlings. After a fair amount of digging by those enthusiastic to get sweaty, we found a number of hatchlings at the bottom of the nest, which were unlikely to surface on their own.

These hatchlings were weighed and measured and the number of hatched and un-hatched eggshells counted. We also opened any failed eggs to note the stage of development, this information is used in analyses later. Once all the visitors had seen the little loggers and the sun had become cooler, we released the hatchlings back into the water. Creating a line in the sand as a starting platform and using the sea as the finish line, the hatchlings didn’t know how much was riding on their being the first to the water! To everyone that was there, we hoped you enjoyed seeing the hatchlings return to the water as much as we did.

On waking after 9 tiring hours at the beach on Wednesday, we were greeted with ‘Move Hay Bales’ on the job list. At first this doesn’t sound too bad but on going round the back of the cow shed we were met with a pile of bales that seemed to reach to the sun. Three gallons of sweat, two hay fights and one hay rash later the job was done.

This week we also said goodbye to some of our favourite volunteers. Gill and Libby left on Tuesday morning and Emma left after a night of debauchery at 3 o clock Wednesday morning. We miss them loads and wish they’d come back. We do however have many new volunteers who seem to be getting stuck into Cyprus life. Josh and Henry came last week and just a few days ago Sean, Tom, Iona and Samuel turned up and finally Jim Bob has returned after just a few weeks. He obviously couldn’t keep himself away! Everyone seems to have settled in well, although we are starting to wonder if Henry suffers from narcolepsy or whether he’s just having problems adjusting to our nocturnal lifestyle.

Sam (now known as Other One Sam) would also like me to mention that it is his last week because apparently everything is about him.

Celli and Kim

Friday, July 24, 2009

Nest Excavation today!

At the begining of June we were called to the Acapulco beach resort to look at 2 loggerhead activities that staff had reported that night. With sunloungers across the beach and bright lights shining from the hotel complex we decided to relocate the two nests that we found that morning to Alagadi and last night one of them hatched. So today we are inviting everybody to come along to Alagadi at 18:30 to see the excavation of this nest and babies.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Pennys pool fun!!!

video

Hatchlings!!!!!!






Firstly we need to say a great big thank you to the expats for attending night watches in the past couple of weeks, making donations and organizing and attending fundraising events. The next one coming up is ‘The Weakest Link’ to be held on Saturday 25th July at the Mountain View Hotel in Karaoglanoglu. The event includes local celebrities having a go as well as the opportunity to play yourself or nominate a friend, there is also a buffet! It promises to be a great evening out! Tickets are only 20TL and can be reserved at the Hotel itself, as well as from the SPOT stall at Lambousa Market and from Tricia on 05338469563. This events are such a vital and greatly appreciated side of our fund raising as I am sure you are all well aware that the project runs predominantly thanks to the donations from fundraisers and the general public.

So this week has been another eventful one at Alagadi, although those at the Goatshed working night shifts are still keenly awaiting their first hatchlings. On North we have been treated to not only one hatched nest but three and have already seen Green and Loggerhead hatchlings! Yesterday, Friday north get pretty exciting! It was Becca’s last day and she decided that coming off night work she would head straight north with myself and Tom, Sam also decided to tag along being worried about missing out on any fun! The morning went as normally as usual until all the excitement began at Tatlisu where we spotted the first hatchling tracks of the year! Even after three seasons Becca was as excited as ever. According to protocol we excavated the nest to retrieve any stragglers that may be too close to the surface and would get too hot during the day. We take these back to Alagadi to weigh and measure and release the following night under the cover of darkness. We also count the egg fragments to see how many hatchlings have hopefully made it to the sea and open any unhatched eggs to see what the problem may have been. With the hatchlings in a pile of damp sand in a bucket we headed onwards…only for disaster to strike! Myself and Becca were left at Esentepe to walk the beaches whilst the boys went for fuel, only an hour later when they hadn’t returned from a ten minute journey we were beginning to worry, how could they possibly have gotten lost. With a right puss on we began to walk towards Esentepe village, 20 minutes down the road we came across Tom walking towards us…problem, Tofas was finished for the time being anyway. Sam was hitching back to wake Robbo and we were left with a broken car and a bucket of hatchlings….interesting hitching attire! Fortunately a kind man in a very smart clean Mercedes picked us up and we rushed back to Alagadi at top speed!

The following day with a fixed Tofas we headed north again only to experience every single activity possible, we had FCU’s, FCA’s, both logger and green nests, a relocation and both species of hatchlings! Busy busy!

This week a few volunteers managed to get some chill out time to climb Besparmak…not so much relaxing as we’d imagined! Two and half hours after leaving Alagadi we reached the restaurant the other side, it was a great walk. But I think I speak for everyone when I say we got the biggest sweats on in the world!! Was a great achievement though!


Satellite attachment video by Eros Gentillini

video

To track this turtle to it's foraging grounds visit:

www.seaturtle.org/tracking and look for green turtle number 95098.....soon to be named.

You can also sponsor the 7 turtles equipped with transmitters this season at Alagadi from this site or at the goat shed in Alagadi.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Pictures from Pil









Last week out west



An update from out west!

With daytime temperatures so high we are hitting the beaches by 0600. There has been a sudden drop in the number of activities this week, particularly green activity. There is a total of 88 nests, 57 of which are Logger and 31 Green. We are also eagerly awaiting the hatching of our first nest early next week. A week of high winds and large seas has seen message beach gouged out well past the high water mark washing out one nest and soaking several others. Dogs have also been a big problem in the last couple of weeks, determinedly digging round the edges of the wire netting or beating us to the nests in the morning. Its heartbreaking to find piles of empty egg shells scattered round a dug out nest.

While poking for an egg chamber in a green nest on Lost, Ainslie, Kate and Becca unearthed three unfound nests from last season, all under the one new cover up. What are the chances of that! The majority of eggs had hatched from each nest and investigation of the ones that hadn’t revealed very smelly mush.

Last week seemed to be a week of dramas involving either 4 wheels or water! The Rav is still on holiday in the Lapta garage with parts now ordered from Japan. Its replacement, thanks to Keco, has been luxury, a ‘real’ 4x4, with high and low range and a large deck for carrying cages, shovels and buckets and making travelling on the rocky and sandy tracks much more pleasant. However it too had a minor hiccup with the chasis splitting and the whole back end of the truck sitting on the back wheels! So it was back to the garage for some serious super gluing and welding. This gave Ainslie, Tom and Gill an unexpected 3 days off back at the Goat Shed. When it was apparent that this 4x4 wasn’t going to be ready until ‘yarin’, it was decided to take the new ute back out west and to do the best we could with 2WD. Hmmm, bad idea. First day; stuck in 3 inches of sand with no way of making progress without churning great holes. So with darkness fast approaching and all Tom and Ainslie’s ingenuity proving fruitless and Gill worrying about the possibility of a night at the beach, we called in the Tepebashi rescue service ie Tony Hutchinson who came and collected us, taking us home to Guzelyurt and then the next day returning to pull the truck out. Thank you Tony! So with a serious lesson in 2WD capabilities, Lost now had to be covered by walking from West 1. Ainslie volunteered for this task and with the walk and 4 green nests to uncover, Gill and Tom had 4 hours to sunbathe, read and in Tom’s case hunt lizards. I’m glad to say that that only had to happen once and we now have Keco’s car back, all nicely welded back together again.
On top of all this the water works in the house presented a few challenges… kitchen sink blocked up completely, water leaked through the kitchen ceiling, toilet cistern and pipes in bathroom wall also leaking and at any given time scalding hot or cold water can come out of either tap! The plumber came, poked and prodded and climbed on the roof and shook his head in despair and proclaimed ‘chok problem’ (many problems) before leaving us to it!
Knowing what it is like to be bogged in dry sand in a 2WD, Ainslie went to the rescue of Ibrahim and Erdogan, a couple of fisherman who were in the same predicament. Ever so grateful and relieved, they insisted on cooking us lunch. What a wonderful experience. Out came the bbq, the table and chairs, the lamb chops and chicken, the fresh fruit and veges from their garden and most importantly an entire bottle of whiskey! A realy nice way to spend an afternoon out west – just one of the reasons that west is best!



Ainslie x

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Goodbye, Hello and a Reservoir

The last week of the project has been an emotional one. We have gotten to the point in the project where the seasons changeover is beginning. Every year it seems that there are two batches of volunteers, ones that come for the first half and ones that come for the second half and then the few hard-core, slightly insane ones that stay for the entire season, a little over 3 months! Because of this the last few days and the next week or so has seen the end of some volunteers time here. We have so far had to say goodbye to Anna, Ella, Boner and Kristine with another six leaving too soon for comfort, myself included! Saying goodbye is always hard, it is impossible not to form close friendships with people that you are living in such close quarters with. But we try not to dwell on it as the annual reunion in England should keep us all in touch!

However saying goodbye does also mean saying hello and with every departing volunteer there is a new one to throw into the mix and get to know. In the same amount of time we have welcomed returning Heather and new girl Kim, who is completing a PhD so will be a familiar face on the project for the next three years, as well as returning Dave who is completing an undergrad project here and new boy Josh, both of whom are from Falmouth. Despite being a returnee Dave didn’t manage to see an adult laying last season as he arrived in August and was too late so was pretty happy when after arriving and going straight to the beach last night he was only waiting for a short while before a female obliged and began to lay!

The week as always has been full of work with little time for play for the volunteers but when offered an afternoon off as always we jumped at the chance! Our friendly project leader talked about this ‘oasis’ of a reservoir in the hills before Five Finger Mountain. So with ideas of a haven from the sun and excitement of swimming in fresh water a group of volunteers headed off down the road for an afternoon of adventure. I guess we should have known something was a cropper when Robbo encouraged us all to go and take a break. I had vague recollections of a similar trip last year where after hiking for the best part of an afternoon a group of volunteers came across a dried river bed, but after Robbo’s insistence that there had been far more rain this winter off we went. With the hand drawn map with only one path on it and mountains either side and instructions clearly stating to ‘not take the left’ we walked in high spirits….for the first ten minutes! After more than one junction and votes at each one over whether or not we should in fact take the left we found ourselves hiking in flip-flops up a mountain path, surely not the way to a reservoir…a brief phone call and instructions to just carry on encouraged us to continue we were almost there, we had almost reached the oasis. Water and spirits were beginning to dwindle, we needed to see the reservoir soon! At the top of the hill we saw a dam wall, surely the reservoir was beside the dam, spirits heightened and the sense of excitement gathered once more. The first volunteers reached the top of the hill, the edge of the reservoir and the rest of us were informed by the wails that the reservoir was in fact once again dry as a bone! The bottom was a dried cracked cake of mud and the 6ft elephant grass growing all over it suggested the reservoir had not been full for a while! What a wild goose chase! Our oasis dreams were shattered had it not of been for morale and team spirit I’m not sure we would have made it back to the Goatshed to thank Robbo for his encouragement to visit this wonderful place! Not being the type of people to dwell on it we headed back dripping with sweat; who needs a swim anyway! Our excursion had been a team bonding exercise and offered some prime photo opportunities for Sam and his tripod!

Anyone wishing to visit the reservoir can get a hand drawn map themselves courtesy of Mr Robbo, who I’m still certain just wanted peace at last at the Goatshed!

Thanks also to Pat and John for their lovely Chicken casserole, its always exciting to get some food with real ingredients!

Emma.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Fun in the Sun

As things start hotting up in Cyprus (physically and metaphorically) the ‘to do’ list is getting longer and our patience with the heat, shorter, thus the delay between blog entries.

Firstly we’d all like to give a big thanks to the lovely ladies at mermaid fabrics who have donated us soft, plump cushions that make the goat shed’s ‘comfy’ chairs actually comfy. The volunteers and our visitors are extremely grateful.

So this week…. Well I’ve been taking a holiday from the turtle project to go sailing with some friends around the Greek Islands. After stunning them by having 3 hot showers a day, my propensity to eat enormous amounts of meat and a near nervous breakdown when offered a courgette for dinner, I settled back into the luxuries that come with non-turtle project life quite easily. It was a truly fantastic holiday, but as I was walking up the drive to the goat shed on my return, past the stink of the donkeys in the midday sun, it felt like I was coming home.


me with a Greek God

On the Sunday we were thrown a barbeque by Collsey’s family, which was fantastic. A never ending supply of fabulous food, including what could only be gallons of refried beans, was set out on the table and we all eagerly dug in. (Is it just me or is this blog more about food than turtles sometimes!). After much merriment and excitement caused by locating a ‘Hello’ magazine only 1 week out of date, we had desert of ice-cream and éclairs. Thank you so much for a fantastic afternoon and thank you to the ice-cream man from ………. For discounting such a scrumptious treat.

Ok, so back to some turtle information. We have now satellited 4 turtles (including Randel the male). The process of putting on the satellite transmitters is to surround the turtle with the satellite box (made by Sam), use sandpaper on the middle of the shell, apply acetone to remove any grease, then add the satellite by building Epoxy Resin over the top and leaving to dry for 30 minutes. Despite sounding like Blue Peter instructions, this is usually completed with fewer problems. If you would like to see this being done please book in for the night watch, we still have 3 to apply and it may be your lucky night! To follow our satellite turtles please go to www.seaturtle.org/tracking.

A journalist, Brook Anderson, joined us from the Wall Street Journal this week to observe and write about what we do at the turtle project, our aims and obstacles. We obviously bored her rigid about litter issues, kept her up all night with one very committed turtle and treated her to a project courgette special. Despite being reluctant to join in our (extremely tacky but fun) 4th of July celebrations (Kate made hats and everything!), we hope she had a good time with us during her stay on the project.


Eros at 7am with the green nest


Gill posing with the Dawny

Last night we had very little happen on Alagadi 1 but there was pandemonium on Iki, with 6 turtles and one green laying at 5:30am, ensuring volunteers were still on the beach at 7:00am. This now brings up our total nests to 111 on Alagadi, with many turtles not yet having laid their 3rd clutch. We therefore hope to have a good number of nests this year. Hatchlings should be starting within the next week sometime, so keep an eye on this blog for any events you would like to attend.

Celli

Friday, July 3, 2009

Satellite of love and a daring rescue

Nesting is still in full swing down at Alagadi and the return of the first greens for their 2nd or 3rd clutches means satellite transmitter time! This year 7 transmitters will be deployed and i'm sure you all know that the first one was used on the infamous randall, the male green who appeared on the beach earlier in the season. The next was deployed two nights ago on a small loggerhead measuring 64cms in length. This will allow us to compare her movements with those of the loggerheads satellite tagged in previous seasons to see whether size has any bearing on their migrations. The rest will be designated for greens of over 80cms who have a previous nesting history and have returned to lay their 3rd clutch this season. Last night a suitable cadidate appeared on bay 3 around 1am and the volunteers and visitors waited excitedly to see if she would lay. Luckily she did and with the shout of "Satelliiiittttttttte!" we all mobilised to begin, bringing the heavy satellite equipment over to the turtle, along with tables from the beach bar (thanks to the strong visitors who helped the girls lug them halfway along the beach!). We performed the usual nesting duties while Robin got the glue and sandpaper ready. We waited for her to begin covering her body pit before we prepared her shell by cleaning and sanding to remover algae and barnacles. She was, in the words of our leader, "freaking massive" so there was definately space for the transmitter on her back! She was very calm during the application of the glue and transmitter, carrying on covering her body pit as if we weren't even there. When she was ready to move off the tables came in handy to form a box around her as the glue must be given at least 30 minutes to harden before coming into contact with water. She didn't seem to mind being out of water for a little longer to catch her breath before we removed the tables and watched her make her way to the sea. The visitors named her Marilyn, as in Monroe because she was obviously a hottie in the turtle world.
A little more info for you aspiring turtle watchers: this female nested this season on 08/06 and 21/06 and is 93cm long, 87cm wide. She was first spotted at Alagadi in 1993 and has been returning ever since. From this data we can imagine that she is pretty old and hopefully we will be able to track her for at least the next year. If you would like to follow her on www.seaturtle.org the transmitter number is: 95097.
The excitement hasn't just been at basecamp this week, the Westies have been battling with some car issues which isn't unususual for this part of the project. The constant off-roading to the West beaches plays havoc with the cars and it wouldn't be West without some kind of vehicular problem! Luckily they were able to get back out there after a couple of days with the truck... although the lack of 4x4 caused a bit of a sand stickage problem and the truck was going nowhere very very slowly indeed. Step in Tony Hutchinson, our hero, and all was saved! So thank you very much to Tony and Maureen Hutchinson for keeping a watchful eye over the Westies.
It's not all work and no play down here though, most of the volunteers enjoyed a boat trip yesterday and welcomed the relaxation but not the excessive sunburn!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Dawn green from 2 nights ago

A couple of nights ago we had a green turtle lay unusually late in the night, beginning at 05.10. Although annoying it lets us take some good pictures!
Becca x

Monday, June 29, 2009

More pics from Sam!!!




Penny's cheesecake rocks our world!




So after a tough week with all the turtles in the Med seemingly visiting Alagadi on yesterday’s changeover we were rewarded with a pool party at Penny’s, everyone’s favourite event! Enough food to feed a small army was presented and as usual we tucked in with full force gorging until we could no longer move! Thank you so much Penny, I’m sure you know how much we love your food by now, such a good change from courgettes!

Penny treated the volunteers, all except me, who was stuck on tourist duty all alone in the Goatshed, to games! The turtle egg hunt was a great success and everyone was gloating with their prizes, Sam was especially proud of his wine, packet of milky ways and a packet of biscuits, which he kindly gave away to the Germans who failed….

Becca, Sam and myself were first on Iki so headed over very slowly as the size of our stomachs was preventing us from going any quicker. It started out as a quiet night and all was well with us walking slowly and quietly backwards and forwards trying to digest, when we were rudely interrupted by bright lights in Iki car park. We stumbled back to sleepy rock avoiding Turk holes on the way and sent Sam over the rocks to investigate. We had seen a torch heading out around the rocks so expected maybe a late night fisherman or two….unfortunately what Sam met was far, far worse! Becca and myself hung back in anticipation hoping not to see the three flashes warning of imminent death from Sam. After what felt like an eternity he returned triumphant from over the rocks with a half naked Turkish man and English women in tow they had clearly decided that the rocks were an appropriate place for those kinds of shenanigans! Becca tried to hold it together but laughed almost hysterically at the Turkish man with a rather round paunch and tight pants and shoes on! Fortunately we were quickly rid of them and back to turtle patrol.

Today has been a day of progress, cage making took the fore and we now have plenty on white domes to protect our nests. The Monday beach clean is currently in progress and hopefully the volunteers are not suffering too much!

That’s all for now, other than to say that the turtles are still coming ashore thick and fast and we are now up to 85 nests on Alagadi alone, there’s potential for this number to almost double as we are only roughly half way through nesting and our first hatchlings could potentially break through the sand a couple of weeks from now!

Emma xx

Friday, June 26, 2009

An update on the arrabada!

Numbers from last night's craziness just in - on Alagadi 1 alone there were 8 nests (3 loggers, 5 greens), 5 u-turns and 5 false attempts. On Alagadi 2 (iki) there was one nest, 5 u-turns and 2 attempts. Nice one to those on the beach (except the people who need to learn the 24 hour clock!) and to those who typed up the data for an hour today (after too many jamjar mojitos last night)! Seemingly all the turtles in the world were on Alagadi last night as the daywork ladies had only one u-turn and one attempt to contend with this morning. On the volunteer side we say goodbye to Celli for a week and hello to Michele, our resident german from last year, and Mehmet, our resident Turk also from last year. Hosgeldiniz guys. Turk, Turk, Turk it up! Tonight is our much loved boss man Mr Robbo Robbo's night off so it's left to the rest of us to man the beach and hope that nothing goes shockingly, horrifically wrong during this time. Not on my watch people.

Thanks to people at home for keeping us up to date with current affairs, the sad news about MJ came through last night and in tribute we will all be moonwalking the beach tonight and having a one minute radio silence in between turtles. Heee heee, shamone big man.

Becca x

Mini-arabada / Litter progress with Belediyisi

8 nests on Alagadi now taking us up to 73! This was the busiest night I have seen in 5 seasons of night work here. The team pulled together working hard through the night, communicating well so that nothing got missed and we were off the beach by 5.30. Very pleased. Though, our guests were bit of a dissapointment as the majority only stayed to see the two loggerheads that nested within the first hour of darkness. Even with 5 green turtles on the beach at the same time digging, they could not be tempted to stay to see one lay, they don't know what they missed! Very generous in leaving us donations though that will keep us in oats and a roof over our heads. Our faithful companions Penny and Sally stuck it out until dawn and at one point were even left with a clipboard to monitor a turtle. I stuggle to count the number of turtle encounters I had but at the end of the night at the midpoint we found the tell tail track of a logerhead that had emerged, headed directly towards the group unseen and u-turned back into the see. We concluded that Sally's snoring had put her off, although I don't think Sally had chance for any shut eye in all the commotion.

A huge thanks to Penny and Sally for your help, cake, and beach banter. Also to Alagadi residents Pat and John for your help in securing our turtle merchandise.

It looks like the belediyesi (council) have finally come round after all our best efforts and are emptying the bins from the beach car park, yay! Hopefully now we can focus our efforts more on the turtles and less on clearing the rubbish from the carpark.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

More pics from Sabine!




Green on Alagadi 2 (iki) at dawn.

Jimbob's night wear.

Three Iki amigos: Gill, Boner, Jimbob.

West is best




First day out west, Sam and I were met by the smelliest dead cow which had somehow made its way onto the beach, causing the walk of West 2 to become somewhat of an obstacle course, avoiding breathing for a while and cautiously testing the air after passing. Sam and I had at least one nest for the first few days, with Ainslie’s walks being somewhat less successful she was starting to lose faith. However a hot morning on Monster lead to a tired and thirsty Sam and I waiting at the beach bar (on a beach there are rarely people?!?!) trying to amuse ourselves while waiting for ages while Ainslie measured up her many turtle activities on her own. This led to Sam and I sunbathing, exploring the beach bar, complaining about their poor tiling and using their showers to cool off. Several days our journey back home intercepted the Turkish army playing their war games, this consists of sitting in their many tanks behind small bushes. As none of us spoke particularly good Turkish, and weren’t sure how they would feel about our intrusion, we drove quietly trying not to do anything wrong. As Sam doesn’t actually let his camera leave his hand and photos of army personnel and land is forbidden, he obviously thought it would be a good idea to take photos.


A trip to the supermarket was filled with much hilarity as Sam found sweet corn with decidedly moustache-looking growths from the ends of them. Persuading Ainslie we needed some, the Chuckle Brothers later made an appearance in the Guzelyurt household.

Trying to fill our afternoons, and as the house was ridiculously hot, we decided to go off on a drive to see what we could find. We found a ‘Wooden faces of Cyprus’ exhibition, the army border to the South side and the most amazing views we were ‘forbidden’ to take photos of.

Turtle activity remained relatively busy, with several nests each day, ending in a disappointing find of two predated nests on Message. Large metal pegs are now being used to hold the wire cages down for forcefully than sticks, which will hopefully lessen the threat of predation by stray dogs.

Finding out my degree results, a celebration was planned, camping on the beach. Great, or so we thought. Dampness and a chilling wind meant our high spirits were flattened and a sleepless night followed.

After our morning on the beach on change over day, we ‘treated’ ourselves to a visit to St Hiliarion castle. Walking up the millions of stairs in the searing mid-day heat, oh what a treat. Amazing views and a good laugh at Sam taking so many photos of himself meant it was an end to a great week out West. West is Best.

Ella

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Dead loggerhead




I awoke this lunch time to find a number of missed calls on my phone and a lot of banter in the goat shed about a dead turtle and the press. Apparently a deceased loggerhead had been found on Alagadi this morning and caused some commotion with the local press and the volunteers after their mornings work on the North Coast. The team had decided to bury the large adult female at the back of the beach. With no pressing engagements this afternoon we decided to unearth the girl to conduct an autopsy. We loaded her into the back of the truck and carried her highly pressurised carcass into the goat-shed garden. Obviously dead for some days, her bloated body was hissing with gasses of decomposition, particularly notable was a break in the carapace towards the tail where gasses and innards were oozing, possibly a hit from a jet ski, as we are seeing these increasingly at Alagadi. With the turtle on her back we removed the plastron (ventral shell) and volunteers gathered around, close to vomiting from the smell. We removed the lungs and analysed the gastro-intestinal tract. The turtle certainly did not starve as the stomach and intestine were full with over 2kg of decomposing food. We analysed this and found the majority of the diet to consist of sponge, with many shells from various species of crabs. We also found tell tail remnants of whelks, the operculum doors that close these shells off to predators, these were from large whelks the hard opercula around the size of a thumb nail but the rest of the shell digested. We found a small piece of polythene in the intestine; clear evidence that litter on the beaches and in the sea is affecting the turtles, though this was not the probable cause of death, more likely the rupture form an impact to the posterior of the carapace.



At weekends we see jet skis travelling at great speed up and down Alagadi where turtles are aggregating to breed. Although no tags were found on this adult female and she was not carrying eggs at the time of death, if she had survived to breed at Alagadi she would have been one of 16 loggerhead females recorded this season, so 6.25% of the 2009 Alagadi breeding population. We can not afford to loose breeding adults like this and more needs to be done to prevent jet skis and motor boats from illegally using waters off prime nesting beaches such as Alagadi. After all Alagadi is the 5th most important nesting beach for the green turtle in the Mediterranean and is a hugely important conservation area for both species. An exlusion zone around the designated "Specially Protected Area" has been ignored for some years now.

We are conducting beach cleans on Alagadi every Monday and locals have been getting involved. We also hand out bin bags out on Sundays and speak to local bathers, encouraging them to take their litter off the beach on departure. If people would like to help us on Monday beach cleans we meet at the goat shed at 5pm.

Robin,

Chief Officer Kaplumbaga

Ana, Jimbob and Libby’s Cyprus extravaganza!





After much persuasion, a night on the beach and conversations like this:
Robin -IF you go
Ana- we ARE going
Robin- but IF you go you will only see a goat. And it’s boring.



We finally set off on our little trip round Cyprus
Keco, our amazing and friendly neighbour arrived at the goat shed early and gave us a lift to Girne. (awwwwww) After arriving in Girne we took a very breezy Dolmus (bus) to Nicosia. Lovely views of the Venetian Walls, the ancient Sofia Cathedral and the courtyard of the old Inn. Briefly lost in a seemingly endless succession of carpenter stalls and staring men. Much ice-cream enjoyed. We crossed the border into the Greek side of Cyprus. Poor Ana “suffered much” with her Capeverdean passport as the security officers struggled yet again to discover whether this country actually exists. We immediately went to the top of Debenhams. This sounds an odd thing to do, but it was advised to us that the top floor had amazing views of both sides of the border, and there indeed was! Only tourist destination seemed to be the motorcycle museum though. We passed.
Following this was an epic, roasting walk in the sun to a bus stop in the middle of nowhere. Only to find that the very unhelpful tourist information lady had directed us to an obscure suburb of Nicosia. Thirsty, desperate and slightly crazed by the sun, a local woman rescued us when we asked for directions saying simply “get in the car” and then proceeded to drive us to the bus stop for Famagusta!! To use Jimbob’s words, the bus was “ all kinds of sweaty” and took a good hour. When we finally reached the city there were absolutely no signs to the centre of town, but by some incredible fluke, we managed to walk there by accident. On arrival we drank about a gallon of water and orange juice sold to us by a man who insisted “ go left, Nicosia, left at roundabout. Nicosia. Left”… and so on. There we saw many Ancient ruins and another mosque where we unluckily ran into the ticket man on the way out. We spent about 10 minutes laughing at the green peace cyclist dude (who’d cycled all the way through Africa, and was going on to Iran) who was struggling to understand why the same ticket man kept saying “one person two tickets”. We bought a Fez as a peace offering for Robin, and in the faint hope that he would give us the night off, after our pathetic 3 hours sleep the night before. This failed.
Night on the beach was a struggle. There were a couple of nests, but we found it difficult to keep our eyes open. However, as Ana says “After Happiness death is nothing!!”