Final Week

This past month I studied in the Amazon. I traveled to Limoncocha in order to study fish. It was an experience that really scared me at first, but I grew so much during this time. From Quito to Coca, it takes about 6 hours by bus. Then, you have to travel on a different bus or by canoe in order to get to Limoncocha. Limoncocha is such an incredible and beautiful place. I cannot describe the amazing sunset, so I am going to include a photo. I studied at the Limoncocha Biological Reserve, and within this reserve is Limoncocha Lagoon. This lagoon is about 3km long (big!). It has a lot of different animals and birds. This reserve also functions as a place that reintroduces animals into the wild. Because of this, I saw some animals at the reserve, like a sloth, monkeys, birds, and a boa. I love all these animals, but I focused most of my time on fish. I researched the diets of 3 specific species of fish. These species were the White Piranha, the Red Piranha, and the Bocachico. A Bocachico is really similar to a catfish. Every morning, I woke up at 5 in the morning to measure and weigh fish from fishermen that were exiting the lagoon. I got to know a lot of the fishermen, and I began to play soccer with them through the weeks. Obviously I lost every game, but it was really fun. After weighing and measuring fish every morning, I dissected some of them to see their reproduction status and diets. Because I didn’t want to waste fish after I dissected them, in one month of my life, I think that I ate more fish than I have through the rest of my life. At the end of the study, I wrote a 20 page single-spaced paper on my findings. This was a really big struggle for me because I had to analize data, research other sources of data, and write all of it in one week. The experiences that I gained from this place were all so important to me. All the employees of the reserve were so nice and helpful. In Ecuador, they don’t celebrate thanksgiving, but the workers at the reserve and I bought french fries and chicken to celebrate while I was away from my family. I cannot thank these people enough. There was only one annoying thing about the stay, and that was the humidity. Sometimes it rained really hard. When my clothes became wet and it wasn’t sunny afterwards, mold began to grow on them! I am really excited for the future, and I am super thankful to the reserve employees. I am thankful to my girlfriend and all my friends back home for showing that they care while I have been away and checking in. I am also really thankful to my family, without whom this opportunity would not have been possible.