November in Nosy Be, Madagascar, means the Omura's whales are making their presence known again, and it is time for the 2016 field research for the "O-whale" team! And the field season has been off to a busy start! This year we chose a different base for our field camp, working from Ambondrona beach, off the southwest side of the island of Nosy Be.
We were lucky enough to find a house to rent that could hold the whole team, so we are all together in one place. Right now there are 6 of us - 4 members of the science team and 2 boat pilots. We have the luxury of electricity and running water, which makes life pretty comfortable for everyone here. The main work area of the house is a lovely, covered open-air patio on the second story, where we eat all of our meals and spend every evening working up data.
There is a local troop of black lemurs that live in the trees on the property - 2 males, 3 females and 2 babies. We watch them from our patio every day, as they play and the babies clamber up and down tree trunks and branches. They are very sweet until they start screaming, and they can be quite uproarious, sometimes in the middle of the night. The resident rooster also likes to establish his presence regularly, starting at about 3:00am. So, needless to say, we have been adapting to the nightly noises in our surroundings.
There is also a crocodile on the premises, and several Madagscar radiated tortoises, and every once in a while, a stray zebu (the local breed of cattle) wanders through. Sunbirds and drongos complete the picture, visiting the trees around the house.
We have a busy season planned, we'll post updates when we can!
- The O-whale Team