March 27, 2018, by lzzeb

Field trip to Mexico

A blog by Joe Bishop

In January of this year, myself and thirteen others embarked on a field trip to the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. The trip was part of a module ‘Quaternary Environments’; with the module having a focus on students designing and carrying out studies to assess changes in past and present environments. We arrived in Cancun, on the peninsula’s eastern coast. There we had our first taste of Mexican cuisine which was very nice, and stayed in a lovely hotel.

The next day we began to carry out some of the fieldwork related to our studies at the lake Punta Laguna. We also visited a Mayan archaeological site called Ek Balam, where we were able to climb a 30m high pyramid that allowed for us to see for miles across the beautiful, green peninsula.

Views from the pyramid at Uxmal

For the next three days we were based in the major city of Merida. From here we visited a range of fieldwork sites, primarily sinkhole features known as ‘cenotes’ – sites where groundwater has become exposed at the surface. Fieldwork was by no means easy, but it was such a fun and amazing experience being able to work in a team with new friends in such an amazing environment. While some of us were on boats at these sites, others were by the shore sampling invertebrates and water quality. While based in Merida, we also visited the pyramids at Uxmal and a bat cave where we were able to experience hundreds of bats flying out the cave at dusk to hunt. Furthermore we also visited Celestun where, on speed boats, we saw pelicans, crocodiles, condors and flamingos which was amazing (not to mentions we were lucky enough to swim in a mangrove).


Boat trip to Celestun

After this we lived on a rural ranch for four days where fieldwork continued at Lakes Esmeralda and Chichancanab, key sites of past geographical research. Again, working with friends was great, especially in such lovely weather. We were also fortunate enough to visit Chichen Itza, while back at the ranch we had to opportunity for horse riding, biking and caving.

After all our work was complete we travelled to Tulum where we were able to spend some time shopping, and also had a chance to swim in the warm, refreshing Caribbean Sea.

My time in Mexico was the best experience and adventure I have ever been on. The trip allowed for geographical theory to be put into practice, for new friendships to be made, and for beautiful sites and animals to be seen. Overall, this trip was fantastic!

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