Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Escudo and san fran

What an amazing place. Escudos is a 2km long island off the coast of panama.
Its surrounded by sandstone stacks topped with palm trees. A coral reef encircles the island. White beaches are over hung with palm trees and the interior is mangroves.
This little island is home to at least four endemic species. Orchid, frog, humming bird and sloth. It was the last one we were here to film.
There's only a hundred left in the world and they are all here.
Getting to them meant driving as far as we could by boat then wading into the mangroves. Not easy at all. One slip and the camera goes underwater and it's all over.
We got really lucky and were able to film a mother and baby only a couple of feet away and unlike there larger main land cousins these guys are super chilled. They can even be handled and they just sit there looking like a cross between yoda, ET and a bean bag. Very cute.
The highlight for me was filming one swimming, which they do well. I was able to dive beneath him and film looking up as we swam overhead.
We stayed in an idyllic bay. We swung our hammocks in thatched huts on stilts , at snapper and lobster and the day always started with a swim out to the reef.
The down side to the trip is that the island is supposed to be protected and uninhabited.... We saw mangroves being chainsawed and taken away. We saw permanent dwellings and the fish around the island have been decimated.

Bryson our scientist gives the Pygmy sloth five years before it goes the way of the dodo.

San Francisco

I skipped merrily from Panama to the west coast and hooked up with my friend Tuppence for a few days in San Francisco.
What a wonderful place. I had time to explore Haighte and the mission and all the bars between. loved it.

We were filming a Madagascan environmentalist for a Natural world. Out of the forest for the first time, receiving an award in  the city.
Typically i think San Francisco was more eye opening for us than it was for him!

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