The great man Christian Jost has been camping alone on Clipperton Island for the past four nights. Not entirely alone – he’s had about 100,000 masked boobies, 7,000 brown boobies, 500 red – footed boobies, 1,500 frigate birds, 1million crabs, 2,000 rats, the rusting remains of the guano (bird poop) industry, a mysterious algae and bacteria filled lagoon, 900 coconut palms and a French flagpole for company.
The birds here know that Christian is the recognized authority of the island and, to show their respect, they have used Christian’s little blue tent as the poop target. When I arrived at his camp this morning, the previously blue tent was white, and the water container, food box, rucksacks, tripod and science gear were happily splattered the same.
All that splattering made for a noisy time in the tent – but lack of sleep didn’t stop the research. Christian is a Geographer and has completed his counting of species, the survey of the atoll, recorded all coastal changes and has even measured how much dust is being blown here from the American continent.
Christian has a comprehensive science report to complete and of course he needs to eat a good Argo dinner and catch up on some sleep. But first – and we are all very thankful for this, he has cleaned all of his camping gear, had a shower and is wearing non pooped-on clothes. Welcome back “Monsieur Clipperton”!
The sub team reported over 50 Hammerhead sharks on the dive this afternoon and Alan Friedlander, our Chief Scientist, was chased off the bottom by a moray eel that would not let go of his fins!