Archive | Research

All posts related to my research.

CanalJessJoshUly

Lo Barato Sale Caro: Panama Canal, Part II

PANAMA CANAL—Our boat floats 85 feet above the Caribbean Sea. Waiting at the top of the Panama Canal locks on the Atlantic side, we stare from Gatun Lake down three steep chambers directly to a new ocean. Neither Oleada nor I have sailed this sea. Here, the notorious Caribbean trade winds whip clear water into short, steep […]

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Rich Country, Poor People: Life on the Panamanian Coast

“Panama is NOT a developing country.” The young sailor leans back in her chair in the tranquil courtyard of the marina. “They’ve got all the money from the canal. People are doing alright here.” A root-choked path filled often with thigh-high mud leads from our spot in the marina to an indigenous village less than […]

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LasSecasdivingJess

Do Whales Like It Hot?

I’m at the bottom of the ocean, and I hear singing. I can’t see them, but their voices are clear, like a bird calling in the night. I wait motionless on the sand bottom under twenty feet of water as reef fish dart around me. I’m listening for whales. The sounds I hear are not […]

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Trading Green for Green: the Complexity of Costa Rica

NB: Although published in 2019 here, this article was first written in 2016. Although some of the dates for carbon plans have shifted, the situations and underlying complexity remains. *** The monkey screams and leaps onto my backpack. It knows to grab the straps of the unattended bag. My husband Josh spins on his heel […]

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JiquililloPangasWaiting

A Coast With No Water

All I can see are breaking waves. I stand up on the lazarette and lean onto the dodger to steady the binoculars. There is supposed to be a channel clearly marked with lighted buoys, our first entrance to Nicaragua. We left Honduras early and had a favorable current pushing us south from the Gulf of […]

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Proud Cande.

Why They Stay: A Town On the Edge

On a windswept knuckle of land that juts proudly from Mexico’s Pacific coast, a tiny town perches between cliff and sea. With a smattering of artisanal fishers and restauranteurs, Tehuamixtle has tucked into a precarious edge, protected only slightly by the jagged black headlands of Punta Ipala. To get to the town by land requires […]

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Luis.

Wings to Nowhere – Birds, Land Use, and Climate

Luis whips his head around so quickly that a drop of water flies out of his nose. He’s mid-sentence, trudging through the heavy sand and talking about community-based management for his town, when he stops abruptly. His eyes grow wide behind his square-ish glasses, and the skin on his thin face pushes back into an […]

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Any sunset on the water is a good one.

The Truth About Researching by Sail

This blog could also be called ‘Why Sailboats Are the Slowest Possible Way to Get Anywhere.’ Or maybe ‘Research is Tough Enough Without Doing it From a Sailboat.’ Or perhaps ‘How a Sailboat Teaches Me What It Really Means to Learn.’ Let me explain. After we pulled up the hook in Chacala, we made our […]

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Shannon and I test the water and we think it will do just fine.

The Unfinished Path: Yoga for the People in Chacala

When we sailed into a little bay in the center of Mexico’s Pacific coast, we came to meet old friends. But because we stayed in this town for a couple weeks, I found myself facing some of the uneasy questions of development in Mexico. I didn’t figure it out until much later, but this little […]

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Blue-footed Boobies at the edge of the sea.

What Can a National Park Do?

“Mexico has many good laws.” Professor Martín Soto leans back from behind a clump of papers on his desk and sighs. “It’s the enforcement that lacks.” I’m sitting in Martin’s office on the second story of the Marine Science and Limnology Institute in Mazatlán, Mexico. The building hangs on the edge of a cliff above […]

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