The Beacon

Sandy's Journal: Day 2 at Cocos


[editor's note, by Jason] This journal was written by Sandy on Saturday, Feb. 19.


More filming today. At nine in the morning we are on a MarViva boat, speeding out of the bay and around to the other side of the island. This boat is smaller and more mobile than the Ranger, larger and more stable than our little dingies, and MarViva has offered to transport the diving team from one site to another.

Miguel (a MarViva captain) steers, Mar watches the water. Every once in a while fins appear momentarily, or something jumps and lands with a splash. For a few minutes we have dolphins at the bow. The marine life at Cocos, even on the surface, is extraordinary -- but in this place it is the norm. The island itself is verdant and wet, quite literally dripping with water; it falls in threads down the island's steep green sides. Some of the waterfalls disappear into the forest. Others have carved long channels from the top of the island down to the sea. Cocos gets 280 inches of rain a year. There is so much water here that the park rangers who work on the island (they rotate month-long shifts) have constructed a hydroelectric dam to power their base.

Today the sky is gray, the ocean active. At the dive site -- again, an islet -- frigate birds and enormous gulls wheel above the pyramid of rock. The diving team (Mar, Hussein, Aitor, Juan Pablo, and Soledad) prepare their gear and load the dingy. We loose the rope and they are gone. Against the waves the dingy looks small and sad, smaller as it recedes away from us and toward the rock, but after an hour or so it returns and the divers climb back on board. The ocean life is amazing, they say, but the water turbid. A strong current today makes filming hard.

We do this all day from site to site. It is amazing to be on the water, hear the stories of the MarViva crew, see the ocean even from the surface. The real story, though, is underneath, and all of us are anxious to see what the filming will produce.


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