Saturday, March 28, 2015

Ile a Vache Trip 2 – Port Morgan

Leaving Ile a Vache
For my birthday I chose to visit Ile a Vache and have lunch at Port Morgan.  See this past blog about the first trip and lunch at Abaka Bay.  We negotiated a boat for 4000 gds (about $80) round trip to take us to the island – it left from the same little wharf area as the previous trip, east of the main big wharf.  Some men carried us on their backs to a little wooden boat that took us out to the larger motorized boat.  We left shore around 9am and the ride took about 45 – 60 minutes.  They dropped us off at Abaka Bay resort despite asking for Port Morgan.  The Abaka staff descended on us hopeful for business, then chided us for using their port when we were going to Port Morgan.  We said we’d come back for drinks before we left.

To get to Port Morgan, a 30 minute easy walk, we cut through the field where the two helicopter pads are located (behind the tall white tower along the beach).  Keep to the main path which has solar street lights on it and it goes up and down a small hill, then you have to cross on some logs to get through a muddy area that is flooded during high tide.  The path winds through a colorful little village.  We had to double check the direction at an intersection in the village – head to the left toward the coast, and the path comes out along the bay for Port Morgan.  Follow the coast and main path through some mangroves and you’ll pop out at a concrete path that leads to the resort.

We ordered lunch then swam in the hotel pool for about an hour while waiting.  The pool and restaurant overlook the port, and the view is beautiful.  The food menu doesn’t have many choices, and if you want lobster or shrimp you have to order that morning so they can catch and prepare it.  We placed one order for lambi complete – a $36US meal that comes with rice and a very good bean sauce (saus pwa made with pwa kongo, pigeon pea), a salad of sliced tomatoes, onion, and cucumber in a vinaigrette, fried breadfruit and plantain, and fresh warm bread.  We ordered two $10US simple meals of just lambi.  I am a vegetarian so ordered French fries and sliced papaya and ate the sides of the complete meal.  Note that lambi is the mollusk conch and is endangered!  They are now catching the small lambi that are not yet of reproductive age.  We also had fresh orange juice.

We returned to Abaka Bay to swim at the beach, have some drinks and check out the new restaurant over the water.  Our boat which we arranged to pick us up at 4pm was still there, so we loaded up and headed back to Cayes.  At Cayes the little boat was gone, and no one wanted to get in the water to carry us to shore, so the captain got as close as he could and we got out in the water next to a trash pile and a pig wallowing in the surf.

Port Morgan menu

Pool at Port Morgan

Lambi complete meal

New restaurant at Abaka Bay

Monday, March 23, 2015

Biodiversity of Riviere Glace

Riviere Glace is a beautiful river than runs near the village of Duchity, a town about an hour's drive north of Les Cayes Haiti.  Along the river the highway is being widened and paved, and right before Duchity there is a new bridge.  Stop at this bridge and hike upstream along and through the river about 100 m and at a bend in the river you will come to a series of clear cool pools perfect for swimming on a hot day.  Unfortunately the road construction along this stretch threatens this pristine river.  Here are some photos of what the area looked like on 22 March 2015.

Epilobocera haytensis Rathbun, 1893

Deep pool at the bend (note the gabion) and riffles upstream (no gabion).

Gabion at the bridge.

Mayfly larvae on a rock in the river.

The deep pool at the bend in the river.

Two tadpoles and a damselfly larvae.

The view upstream from the pool.  Road-side bank is on the left and has no gabion.

View walking upstream from the bridge.  Note the calf (and cow) by the river!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Watershed study in southern Haiti

The past 2 weeks my colleague Dr. Don Huggins and I have been evaluating the watersheds of 3 lakes in southern Haiti, to provide recommendations to the government group CIAT and the NGO ORE for watershed improvement and protection.  Some former students from the American University of the Caribbean and from the technical school, IPFTA, both in Les Cayes, joined us.  They really enjoyed learning about water quality, macroinvertebrates, and fish of the lakes, and helped us immensely with the terrestrial plants names and in understanding the agricultural practices of the area.  And of course they will all receive certificates for assisting in the study.  Here are some photos.  Technical information about the lakes is posted over at the Audubon Center of Les Cayes blog.

Testing a spring at Etang Douat with IPFTA students.

Don Huggins with AUC students who helped at the lakes.

On Etang Lachaux with AUC student Frankel and local 14 year old rower Francele.

IPFTA students next to a galet (latrine area) at Etang Laborde.

IPFTA students helping Don get a thorn out of his finger.

IPFTA students under a mango at Etang Laborde.

AUC students, a Notre Dame student, and translator Ralph at Etang Lachaux.

AUC and Notre Dame students looking for macroinvertebrates at Etang Laborde.