03 April 2012

Costa Rica days 6-13

This is the {long overdue} continuation of my Costa Rica Sea Turtle Conservation journal.  Today you'll get days 6 - 13, and some fabulous photos!  See the previous post for days 1 -5; it was an amazing adventure, so you don't want to miss a day of it!  Stay tuned, and I'll post the final days [14-16] very soon!

tortuguita

momma turtle

<Day 6: Dia de Accion de Gracias!> Today there was a big gringo party in San Miguel for Thanksgiving.  At noon, Katie and I left to get to San Miguel - via a ride with someone in town for 5000 colones ($10) and the bus.  There is another Pretoma project site in San Miguel, so I met those volunteers and got to see their hatchery!  We helped the restaurant prepare for the party - our way of paying for the meal  When dinner was being served, I scooped potatoes for people :-)  They made me a delicious salad for dinner since Thanksgiving is not so vegan!  I loved it, and they were so hospitable!  I had a few beers with Katie, Bogantes, and his friend Joe.  The people who own the restaurant are from Philly, but live here now.  They've hosted Thanksgiving for 3-4 years now - very cool.  After the party, Katie and I got a ride back to Islita with Bogantes and his friend, where we met Caballo (Katie's boyfriend) at a bar.  We hung out for a bit, then went back to the house to sleep.  Katie and I had the day off from patrols for Thanksgiving.

<Day 7: surfing and fun>
Woke up today and went to the beach in Islita for surfing!  Ariadna and I had a lesson from Bogantes, and Katie surfed on her own.  Frankie, Heidi, Lisa, Susanne and Franziska also came to Islita, but didn't want to go surfing.  It was super fun - I even stood up a few times!  The only down side was that I lost BOTH of my contacts in the same wipe out!  After surfing, the ladies and I had lunch at Hotel Punta Islita and went shopping at the gift shop  I bought 2 postcards, wooden turtle earrings, a bracelet and a little calendar  It was a good day!  We paid someone from Corozalito 1 mil each ($2) to come pick us up from Islita.  At home, I caught up on the journal, talked to Heidi and had dinner.  I took a shower after dinner - bad timing again because I'll have to sleep with wet hair, but I needed it!  Also, when it's not hot outside, the cold showers feel extra cold!  :-)  It's raining now, it was raining really hard earlier - I took a video, but it didn't turn out.  There was a bit of thunder, but not much.  I am super sunburned from this morning - I forgot sunscreen!  I have a morning patrol tomorrow... hopefully my burn is faded by then!  I know, wishful thinking!
Pura Vida <3 I never want to leave!!

<Day 8>  There wasn't much in the morning patrol today - about 10 tortuguitas and nothing more.  We left home at about 5:30 and were home by 8.  I took a nap by the pool for a bit, but woke up and came inside after about 1/2 hour because I don't need any more sun!!  I then fell asleep in my bed until NOON!!  I must have needed the sleep :-)  Katie woke me up for exhumations.  We dug at least 25 nests today and were on the beach for 3 or 4 hours  The river was super high on the walk back because it was high tide.  On the walk we saw howler monkeys in the trees!!  They were so cool, and really loud!  I found it amazing how much noise such a small creature could make!  I took a video, but unfortunately didn't think to take the waterproof case off, so there is no sound :-( super sad day...I guess it's a memory just for me!  Y'all need to go to Costa Rica and experience it for yourself!  The battery also died on the camera before I could get any pictures.  I went for a swim in the pool when we got back to the house to cool off.  We had a bit of lunch, and then some stupid ants bit me!  Apparently I stepped in their line, so they attacked my foot.. it really hurt!  I swam a bit more, then took a shower.
I went to the store for the first time, and purchased juice, a mix for another juice, and some chips.  Sandra, one of the project directors for Pretoma, was here today and did exhumations with us.  We learned about the different stages of development of the turtles when we had to open the unhatched eggs.  There are 3 stages, and sometimes there is no development at all.  It was super sad to see the dead turtles in various stages of development.
There is a dance tonight in Bejuco for a graduation party  There might be a bus from Corozalito to go, but we're not sure what time  It's okay though, I don't want to go anyway.  We wouldn't get home until 1 or 2 and would have to do the morning patrol and exhumations tomorrow, which means NO SLEEP!  I need my sleep :-)  I also still need photos with my P2P shirt, and the EWU Magazine.  I'll try to do that tomorrow!

<Day 9>  This morning Lisa woke me up at 4:45 for patrol.  Lisa, Frankie and I were ready at 5, and had to wake up Andres.  The patrol was short again - we helped to nests of tortguitas get to the water, and relocated 1 nest.  I measured the track - 63cm.  The first nest we found while it was hatching - absolutely amazing!!  The tortuguitas were crawling all over each other to get out of the hole - I took a video!  Today I timed the walks - the short cut is about 7 minutes less, but it seems like half the time!!  Plus walking back through the river is nice because we get to wash off the sand from being on the beach, and when it's hot the river is really refreshing.  At 11:45 today we did more exhumations.  We spent about 2 hours on the beach. I don't think a few of the girls like the work we're doing.  They walk super slow to the beach, and all but run home at the end.  Lisa told me she doesn't think there is enough work for all of us - she just isn't paying attention or taking initiative.  I've had plenty to do every day!  I think she may have wanted a vacation as opposed to a volunteer experience.  On the way home from the beach, Ari, Carlos, Katie, Frankie and I swam in the river to wash and cool off.  At home, I ate dinner and took a shower.  Ari, Katie and Sandra were entering/compiling data from the season.  Katie gave me the schedule for the next week of patrols and I wrote it on the board for everyone.  I don't understand when volunteers don't help.  It's clear to me that we just need to go with the flow, take initiative and help out.  Life would be smoother if everyone acted that way!!

<Day 10> 5:30am patrulla - super lame.  We didn't find anything until the very end.  We did get a ride to the beach on the school bus though :)  Lots of dead tortuguitas and birds eating everything!  Needless to say, Frankie and I were running up and down the beach chasing birds away!  We ended up finding 2 sets of tracks; the first didn't have a nest, but the second one did! There was someone on the beach when we were relocating, so we put the eggs in a bag until he left and wouldn't be watching where we nested them.  He started to come back when we were burying them, so we hurried and messed up extra sand.
We got home and planned to return for exhumations at 11:30, but Lisa asked if we could go later in the day so it wasn't as hot.  Andres wanted to too, so he convinced Katie.  They checked the tides and changed it to 2:30 - big fiasco :)  To do about 3 hours of work, we'll get home after 6, and I have to patrol again at 8pm!  This is really only enough time to eat.  Anyway... right after the morning patrol Franziska and I were to the store.  I bought juice; she bought carrots and apples.  After lunch, Suzanne asked Katie where her carrots were; apparently they were in the fridge and now they're gone.  Turns out, Leti used them in making lunch :)  This is when I learned that the outside fridge is for Leti...  Suzanne slammed the door and was super pissed.  Leti ended up putting 2 more carrots in her bag and moved it inside [where it should have been all along].  Big fiasco number two of the day.  After asking to be able to do exhumations later in the day, Lisa laid by the pool all day.  Freaking girl... too hot at the beach, but not at the pool?  It was a relaxing afternoon laying by the pool though, and I'm pretty tan now!  We went to do exhumations, only found 8 to do, watched the sunset and walked home.  Not much work got done - Katie is way more organized, and she + Ari were at home compiling data.  I showered as soon as I got home, and Frankie & I had a beer with dinner.  At 8 I left for patrol with Katie, Ari & Carlos.  We walked the long way, and saw some lights down the beach toward the river.  We walked there first without our lights, thinking maybe poachers!  When we got there, they were fishing in the river.  We walked back a bit and sat down to wait.  After about a 1/2 hour, we walked again, then laid on the beach for 45 minutes or so listening to the ocean and staring at the stars {I could stay here FOREVER}.  One more pass along the beach and we walked home the short way.  Not great, because I was wearing full shoes, but not terrible!

<Day 11> Woke up about 9am, hung out with the others and had breakfast at about 10.  Today, Lisa asked about where her pineapple was - not as bad as the carrot incident, but close.  It was found, and put in the inside fridge like it should have been.  Katie and Ari had a presentation this morning for the local school about saving the planet and the 3R's {reduce, reuse, recycle} - Frankie and I went too.  It was really good, and the kids seemed to like it!  I talked with the teacher a bit - working on my Spanish!  After the presentation the kids all did an activity where they drew something about the presentation - I drew the planet with the recycle symbol encircling it.  Ari and I went out to the pool to take some sun.  A couple others were out there, and Katie came out as well.  We were supposed to leave for the beach at 11:30, but we couldn't find the compass - a necessity for locating the nests!  I called and talked to Chad for a bit; apparently they'd been worried for not hearing from me - oops!  So then I called mom to tell her I'm fine.  It wasn't a long conversation.
We ate lunch - pasta with salsa for me :)  Then we left for the beach.  Andres found the compass on the beach where we were yesterday.  After starting the exhumations, Franziska went to sit in the shade because she didn't feel well.  Then Lisa went too because she was hot.  Well of course, we're in Costa Rica on the beach...  They both ended up leaving to return home.  After about 30-45 more minutes, Suzanne asked how much longer... Andres ended up letting them (Suzanne and Heidi) leave too.  So - only 6 people left on the beach to do all the work.  We kept on going, another 1 - 1.5 hours.  Andres and Carlos left to walk back the short way, and Frankie, Ari, Katie and I stayed to take some pics {of course!}  We left to walk the long way, hoping to find a ride [we did] :) we beat the boys home, and the 4 of us got some beers (Cola for Ari), and went to the pool.  We were being super silly, had a couple beers and took some {more} photos.  Then we heated up dinner for all, and decided to go to the local soda (a small diner) instead.  Only Carlos, Katie, Frankie, Ari and I went; super rica, we all had nachos.  Now, going to sleep because I have a 3am patrol tomorrow!  I was meant to go at 8pm, but I'm still upset with Lisa and Suzanne, so I asked Katie to switch me to the second.

<Day 12: in the morning> Katie woke me up at about 3 for the patrol.  It was Frankie, Heidi, Carlos, Ari and I.  I think we found 17 new nests - some depradated or maybe poached.  We saw 3 or 4 of the actual turtles, the rest were just tracks.  I dug 3 nests to relocate the eggs.  The last turtle we found was during daylight, so we all got pictures and videos of her, and pictures with her!  I happened to be wearing my People to People shirt - perfect!!  Now I just need a picture with the Eastern Magazine.  It's so beautiful watching momma turtles dig, lay and bury the nests.  She also moved much faster than I thought across the sand back to the ocean!  I took video of her burying and then "walking" back to sea.  So, so beautiful.  A perfect morning!  Totally worth being up at 3am :)  We got home at about 7 and I immediately changed to my swimsuit.  It was super warm and I just wanted to lay by the pool.  It's about 9:30 now, and at 10 we're going to the school to do some clean up and I think painting.

<Day 12: in the evening> At about 10:30, Frankie, Ari, Katie and I went to the school.  [shockingly, no one else wanted to go...haha]  With the kids, we separated trash from recyclables from everything they'd cleaned up from the beach.  We washed the recyclables and bagged everything else for trash.  After that, Katie taught the kids a rap song about turtles.  I think they're going to perform on Saturday.  After this, Leti took us to a swimming hole in the river with small "cliff" (about 7 feet) to jump off.  We all did; it wasn't as deep as I expected.  Katie cut her foot when she hit bottom :(  We swam and played around for an hour or so.  Frankie's sandal broke on the walk out so she had to walk back barefoot, and Ari lost her favorite bracelet!  At lunch once we got home, and took a shower.  I have night patrol tonight at 9pm.  Spent the rest of the day hanging out at the house; it was a pretty quiet night.  Talked about diving on Friday - Frankie can't afford to go, Ari can't leave, and Bogantes doesn't want to.  I tried to call Chad because I was super upset.  It took forever to find service, and when I finally did he didn't answer.  I went to bed, flipped through my Costa Rica book a bit, and cried myself to sleep.  Andres completely switched the patrols, so I have the 3am shift now - a highlight for the evening; I much prefer the morning patrol.
the school kids separating trash and recyclables [teacher on the right]

<Day 13: in the morning>  Katie, Frankie, Ari and I went on the 3am patrol.  The work started right away, and didn't stop until after 7!  It was really windy [still is], and sand was blowing all over us.  Katie said there'd be more turtles because of the wind, and boy was she right! :)  The night patrol had 9, and they didn't go past sector 7A.  We ended up finding 21 new tracks, and saw 5 turtles in the daylight.  It was my first time taking the eggs as she was laying.  They were super slimy, but it was SO cool!  We took a ton of photos of and with the turtles.  I'm really hoping all my pictures and videos turn out!  I've had some of the girls stake pictures of me, just in case!  One of the turtles was super cute - "smiling" and "posing" for us.  I took a video of her walking toward me - hoping so anyway!  We walked back the river way; someone had put up an electric fence, and there were cows blocking the whole road, so we snuck under some more barbed wire and walked through someone's yard to get to the runway.  And then, of course, we took more photos :)  Leti made pancakes for breakfast - yum!!  Now I'm headed to change and go to the school to sit in on their English lesson.

tons of personality - smiling at me!

Momma turtle on her way back to the ocean

a nest I dug - if you look closely you can see the eggs inside! 

<Day 13: rest of the day> English lesson consisted of Katie writing sentences in English and asking the students to translate it to Spanish, and then we did the turtle rap :)  After this, we hung out at the house, and Katie arranged for a friend of hers at Hotel Punta Islita to take us on a horseback tour!  I checked Facebook for the first time, mainly to find the girls before we part ways at the end of the week!  At about 12:30, we got a ride to Islita, and went on the horse tour at 2.  It lasted 2 hours and was pretty fun!  My horses name was Cingo... Ari nicely informed me that in Spain "Chingo" means "I fuck."  It was obvious these horses had done the tour a thousand times...Chingo definitely didn't need any direction from me!  I did figure out how to make him run, so that was fun.  He was super stubborn though.  Riding really hurt my knees...and my booty, but it was still fun and totally worth the $20!  When we came home, I did research on dive places and looked all over Google maps on Katie's iPad.  I decided I'd leave on the 4am bus tomorrow to Nandayure, and figure out from there how to get to Samara - adventure time!  Still, I'm so sad to be leaving Corozalito and my new friends!  Two weeks simply isn't enough, and I'm already planning for my return!  We hung out at the kitchen table - Frankie, Ari, Franziska, Suzanne and Lisa - just talking and laughing.  At about 8:30 I started packing.  Ari, Carlos, Frankie and Heidi left for patrol at 9...super sad saying goodbye!  Hopefully though [if I end up in Samara], they'll all come party on Friday too :)  I finished packing, got ready for bed and sent an email to the institute that I'd return to the homestay on Saturday.  If that changes, I'll call them directly, but I would like to see them again and exchange email addresses!  Went to bed at 10ish, waking between 3:15&3:30.  The bus leaves from the Super at 4!

<enjoy some extra photos and return another time for days 14 - 16>
liberation!

holding the baby

me + tortuguita = love

my last time on my new favorite beach

 

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