Cocos Island

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More pictures here!
2013-04-05_cocos_hammer-shark_foto-felipe.jpgisland of hammer sharks
2013-04-05_cocos_birds_foto-guiermo.jpgunique forests: 15% of plants are endemic and 60 animals you find only here
2013-04-04_cocos_submarine-1.JPGSubmarine on MV Argo
So the kids could run around a bit we were finally allowed on land. And so the adventure started…
After a long swim in the little river Steven, one of the park rangers, showed us around their camp. The first thing he showed us was a normal shed but filled to the roof with bags full of fishing lines. These are all the lines they found within the boundaries of the protected area of the island (until 12 miles around the island). Illegal fishing is one of the main threats to the island besides irresponsible diving and invasive exotic plant and animal species. In 2012 more than 200km of fishing lines and 5000 hooks were seized. The green turtle and the pelagic thresher are among the most caught species. Thanks to the park rangers around 80% of them can be released alive.
2013-04-05_cocos_illegal-fishing-traped-shark_foto-felipe1.jpg2013-04-05_cocos_illegal-fishing-traped-shark_foto-felipe2.jpgvictims of illegal fishing
Yet what can you do with so many fishing lines, hooks, buoys and ropes? The rangers found a really cool answer to that- make a hanging bridge. This bridge leads over the river to the hydroelectric plant which produces all the power needed on the island and more.
2013-04-04_cocos_bridge-4.JPGAlegra on the upcycled bridge
2013-04-06_cocos_submarine.JPGWe also had the unique opportunity to go aboard Argo and have a look at their yellow submarine.
As part of our on-going plastic investigation we decided to make a trip to Chatham bay to see how much plastic we could find. Plastic that is washed ashore here is quite a problem because there aren’t many possibilities to get it off the island to mainland Costa Rica.
In Chatham Bay it was high tide so we couldn’t find any rubbish however Eduardo, the ranger that stays there showed us the plastic he had found in the last couple of days- a plastic bottle and a plastic bag. He also told us most of the plastic comes from Peru and Ecuador which he can tell due to the labels on the bottles. The currents at the moment touch the island more in the South so probably more plastic could be found in the Bahia Iglesias. The most plastic comes to Chatham Bay between February and March and in September.
When we asked Eduardo about the most unpleasant he has seen on the island, he answered „the human bodies without heads swimming in the sea”… Explanation: Cocos Island was already one of the favorite places at the early time of piracy. Today, the surrounding waters is the place where the Mexican and Columbian drug mafia meets to do their deals. It looks like that they are sometimes quite bloody.
2013-04-05_cocos_tempered-forest_foto-guiermo1.jpgcloud forest as a perfect indicator of climate change
The cloud forest is unique on the planet. It starts already at 400 m at Cocos which is absolutely rare and the reason why it is of so much importance for climatologists. This forest is one of the best indicators of climate change. Even their data base only goes back 6 years, they see a trend of less precipitation which effects the fauna on the island. Park rangers like Eduardo and Guillermo who are already on the island for more than a decade, can confirm this trend.
Thank you to the crew of Argo that showed us their around boat and submarine and brought us to Chatham Bay and back.
2013-04-06_cocos_clean-up-7.JPGWe would like to sincerely thank all the rangers for sharing all their knowledge with us and being so helpful and accommodating.
Many thanks to park ranger Steven. He assisted Dario scuba diving to hammer the lower rudder bearing back in place and glue it with Sikaflex. Sabine and Dario also fixed the fridge thanks to the new PAPST ventilators. Now we are ready to sail the approx. 4200 nm to Hawaii. We hope that we have good wind and get there begin of May.
Note: One of the park rangers told me about an interesting site. Check it out:RESERVA ECOLOGICA YAGUARUNDI

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