Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cocos Island: Photo Essay: All in A Day's Work at Wafer Station - William Henriques


A Day in the Life of Wafer Bay Station







Vinicio is the station's office man, processing administrative paperwork and anything else that comes his way: inventory, daily patrol reports, and the various permissions required by the dive boats.


Filander prepares the perfect meal.




Beatrice and Daniella are painting the inside of the lower bodega.


This four wheeler is being shipped back to the mainland for repairs because the shaft that drives the rear axle has snapped. It was lifted on board Megaptera by four funcionarios. It will be transferred to one of the diving boats by crane and carried back to Costa Rica.


Victor disposes of some recently pruned lime tree branches.



Even though he worked through lunch and is eager for some chow, Bryan takes the time to rinse off the snorkel gear in fresh water after spending the morning cleaning the hull of the Mobula (One of the island's transport launches).


Guillermo fashions a new plug for the stern of FAICO III, another one of the launches.


Golfin, the park's head, hard at work in the shade of the beach-side pavilion.




And then, of course, there's the daily patrol:

Our resident Guardacosta Pablo, takes the helm of Cocos Patrol during today's patrol.




Below the white cross (representing the position of the Cocos Patrol) is the island as it shows up on radar. Above the white cross are two red blips; these are the fishing boats we caught within the park on today's patrol. We initially picked them up on radar when they were six miles off shore, and we chased them out of the park. At thirteen miles, just a mile outside the limit, the two boats cut their engines. We circled around them, taking down the boat names and hull numbers.




Yes, some things never change. The ever present poaching vessels.

The Albatross - Already caught within the park 17 times this year

The Chaday I - already caught within the park 11 times this year

The crews of the two boats lounged on the decks in the sun. Some took videos or pictures with cell phones and cameras. Others simply stared.

As we turned towards the island, several of the fisherman raised their arms in casual wave, gesture of smug satisfaction that turned Maikel's normally serene expression sour.

We spent the next two hours trolling the water's where the fisherman had originally been looking for the lines Maikel suspected were there (the radar was picking something up in that location) but we came up empty-handed. When night fell and there were no more boats on our radar, Maikel pointed the bow back to Wafer.

Tomorrow, there will be no patrol because it's diesel delivery day. Unfortunately, no patrol doesn't mean no fishermen; it just means that today there won't be anyone to drive them away.

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