Expedition to Study and Collect Flora and Fauna
Yancey and I were positively thrilled to get a grant from scholars of the Yosemite Naturalist & Ornithological Trust or YNOT to study the unique biology and ecosystem of Eros Isle, off the coast of Peru. We promptly packed our bags, flew to Peru and chartered a boat to reach this remote island.
When we got there, we found the Latin American island dominated by quite formidable twin peaks that were covered with a soft skin of vegetation. We also found, much to our dismay that the crew absolutely refused to land with us, dropping anchor some distance off shore.
Although I am a cunning linguist, I must admit, my Latin is weak, and the Captain and crew spoke the most elaborate Latin American, which was confounding us. We struggled to understand, but could not ascertain why they couldn’t take us to shore. In frustration, they resorted to a kind of Charades, and repeated the word Gatos, which I understood, and made the most bizarre hissing and clawing motions in the air, accompanied by meowing, then followed by what appeared to be the sound of a whip cracking. WTF!
Their behavior was so impassioned, unsettling and basically fucked up, that I began to wonder aloud at the wisdom of our going forward with the expedition at all. But Yancey assured me that for the good of science, and in respect for the faith the scholars of YNOT placed in us, we must face the peril. And so we would.
Having convinced the crew to part with a small landing craft, and also to stand by for our return, we loaded up our gear and set out to land the unsteady craft ourselves on the distant sandy shore.
We saw no signs of dangerous cats, or whips, but we did see things strange and wondrous to behold, and so begins this photo journal.
When we landed, we were greeted by a pleasant young lady that we later learned was the Queen of a strange and beautiful people who were natives of this land. We caught her enjoying the sun and surf on this fair day.
The natives called themselves the Vixen, though they bore no resemblance to the animals we call fox that run though our native woods in Virginia. The good Queen brought us to her small village and introduced us to her people, who seemed to be friendly, young and beautiful Caucasian women, all blonds, brunettes and redheads, between the ages of 18 and 29. Equally surprising was their apparent distain for clothing of any kind.
We were invited to dine with the Vixen on eels and strangely thematically shaped fruit, nuts and vegetables:
Although we saw no men, elders or children, we did see several clusters of adult skulls tied up in the palm trees in bundles, which I could only assume were their ancestors. Some, however, sported hats like those worn by our ship’s crew, no doubt washed ashore or given to the Vixen by grateful travelers like ourselves. Yancey wasn’t so certain, and eyed the skulls and the villagers suspiciously.
Our hosts were very demonstrative and apparently mute, and offered no vocalizations whatsoever, but did speak to one another at close proximity with a strangely provocative movement of their lips from a pursed position, to an “O” like that of a fish. Rather odd behavior which aroused my curiosity I must say. They managed to communicate with us, and us with them by writing in the sand - that is how we learned their names and arranged for a guide for our journey the next day.
The villagers seemed to spend most of their time either fishing and collecting food, shade bathing...
Or playing a strange game they called "Twister", which they begged me to play with them...
Sadly, Yancey absolutely forbade me to play this game, and told me to focus on the expedition at hand. And so, deftly avoiding fanny fatigue, in short order we packed our gear and some provisions and set out into the bush with a guide named Fauna.
|Our guide Fauna|
Amazingly stout, Fauna was able to carry almost our entire pack of gear and provisions on her slender frame and guide us across a remarkable island that was part tropical, part arid. What follows are some of the wonders we beheld:
Strange Natural Formations...
We had many remarkable and exciting days exploring the strange wildness of Eros Isle, but when the week had passed, we knew we must return to our ship, which we found was indeed still safely anchored offshore.
The villagers clearly did not want us to leave, but absolutely insisted on a goodbye game of Twister which we refused. Yancey said it was too perilous, and I argued that, as she had insisted earlier, we must face the peril, but it was no good. And then, as if on queue, I heard the strange distant sound of a cat meow and the crack of a whip, and I knew we must leave remarkable this place, perhaps forever.
Sadly, the Vixen were so upset with us at our breach of Eros etiquette that they turned their backs on us…
And so, with a great heaviness, I helped Yancey stow our gear and row out to the waiting ship, bound for Peru, and from there to Virginia to share our discoveries with you today and with our colleagues at YNOT. We would like to thank the Yosemite Naturalist & Ornithological Trust for their generosity and support of this important scientific work!
Until our next adventure together, I bid you farewell!