Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Day 151 - Last Night Patrol

Date: 11/28/12
Location: Costa de Oro, Costa Rica

Word of the day: Bom Bom - Cute Girl (Slang)
Turtle Fact: Mature females nest every two to five years and lay eggs one to three times the years that they nest.

Wake up 6am. Morning patrol. I bike to the north and south only to find two poached nests to the south. Looking back, it seems that all the turtles have been coming up in the far north of far south. This might be due to the tides "pushing" turtles to either end, but without instruments in the ocean, I have no idea.

Breakfast (Chocolate Pancakes). updates. Lunch (personal pizzas). Arts and crafts. Fill hatchery holes. Exhume nests and release turtles we found in the nest and a couple that came up late in the morning. Shower. Cook. Dinner (jambalaya). Siesta.

Patrol. Tonight will be my last patrol, walking the beach and looking for mommy turtles walking up the beach, laying her eggs and returning back to the ocean. I walk to the north of Lars (German volunteer). Hoping that it was going to be randomly busy night, we return back to the house with an empty backpack and heavy heart. Thinking about it, I actually ended my encounter with a momma turtle on a good note. About a week ago, I was walking alone to the south when I came up upon a female turtle as she was finishing laying her eggs. Other than counting the eggs I was able to go through the whole motion. Just me and the turtle. No video, no cameras no additional people. Connecting one on one with mother nature and sole purpose of coming to Costa Rica. Helping Turtles.


Lesson:You never know when it's going to be your last...

Food: Personal Pizza - Courtney had prepared some beer bread dough earlier in the day in preparing for our lunch. Topped with cheese, peppers, onions and BACON!
Animals: Dogs, Birds, Spiders, Flies, Ants, Crabs, Mosquitoes, Baby Turtles.

Something I am thankful for: Taking long walks along the beach
Something I don't want to admit: This is one of the first times I felt sad for the project coming to an end.

Total Nest I have saved: 48
Total Nests Poached on my Patrol: 60
Total Turtle Eggs I saved: 5102
Total Baby Turtles I Released: 1,462
Days of Rain: 88/147 - No rain but I could see lightning in the distance.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Day 150 - BABIES!

Date: 11/27/12
Location: Costa de Oro, Costa Rica

Word of the day: bebés - babies
Turtle Fact: After some 25 years of maturing, she usually returns to the same beach where she was born, to lay up to 140 of eggs.  And from then on, she comes back to do it every few years.

Still awake from the night before....

So as I was planning on going to bed, a brother of mine sends me some photos that I am to use for our annual Maisano Holiday Card. The Holiday cards usually have some relevant pop-culture/social media twist to them, and this year is no different. Like the start of any project, I was really excited to get started. Well a couple minutes turned into hours after a small cup of coffee mix with cocoa powder. Before you know it Kayla wakes up for morning hatchery checks. I relieve her of her 4am, 5am and 6am checks as I will have already been up.

Throughout the night and early morning SEVERAL different nests decided to hatch and babies crawled up to the surface. I ended up releasing 199 babies and making 4 different trips to the ocean to let them go. It was awesome. After such a lull of babies, it was a great tangible reminder why I have been spending the last 5 months in Costa Rica.

After the last release of babies at 6am, I take advantage of the great weather and take some video footage of some wildlife along the beach (Nature:30). Amazingly still feeling awake and active for being up for such a long time, I go and get my swell on.

Breakfast (German Pancakes). Siesta. Arts and crafts. Lunch (pigs in a blanket). Clean back yard. Play in waves. Fill and dig out hatchery holes from exhumations. Run. Sunset. Shower. Cook.

Sunset Deep Thoughts: Turtles swim by pushing through water with their flippers. Birds fly by flapping their wings, pushing the air underneath them causing lift. Could birds fly in space? Since there is no air in space, would a bird flapping it's wings actually do anything since its not flapping it wings against anything?

Dinner (chicken rice and salad)

Siesta. Updates to Sleep.


Food: Pigs in a blanket. Half regular flour, half corn flour, made into a fluffy dough, wrapping a hot dog, covered in cheese and baked in oven - comfort food for sure!
Animals: Dogs, Birds, Spiders, Flies, Ants, Crabs, Mosquitoes, baby turtles.

Something I am thankful for: Having just a little extra energy than most.
Something I don't want to admit: I love photo shop and I'm a closet graphic designer. Granted I am sure I am taking the long way (self taught) to do most projects.

Total Nest I have saved: 48
Total Nests Poached on my Patrol:48
Total Turtle Eggs I saved: 5102+
Total Baby Turtles I Released: 1,443
Days of Rain: 88/146

Monday, November 26, 2012

Day 149 - BACON!

Date: 11/26/12
Location: Costa de Oro, Costa Rica

Word of the day: tocino - bacon
Turtle Fact: Turtles navigates by the earth’s magnetic field, and travels thousands of miles in open ocean.

6am wake up. Morning check on Bike (with GoPro), North ans South on the beach - nada. Interesting enough though, the pedal on the right side of the bike has begun to wear down. Very interesting, perhaps due to the salt, but also due to the downward force you apply when biking though the soft sand. I end up finding an old Croc (sandal) to cover the pedals with so it doesn't hurt my bare foot.

Breakfast. I attempt to make crepes this morning (for the first time). However, we do not have any eggs. I was able to find a recipe online for using such minimal ingredients. Drizzled with a little chocolate sauce made from some chocolate powder, this meal did not turn out too bad!

Update - It's coming down to the wire. With about 10 days left of the project, it is time to kick up the recapping in full gear. Making sure I complete everything that I set out to, I know the next week is going to be none stop. I would not have it any other way.

Lunch (pasta salad with BACON!). Add and remove sand from hatchery.

Lotti arrives for a little visit. We discuss wrapping up the project and future plans. We learn that "Eco-Fest" a weekend festival we were supposed to take part in (next weekend) has been canceled my Muni (Municipal - The Costa Rican "Man"). FML. At least the plastic collection project we have been working on for this festival, was a good practice for cleaning up the beach... We also learn that we will stop patrolling the beach and collecting data starting 12/1. From then on, we will be disassembling the hatchery and restoring the house to the way we found it. Now that is going to be some tedious work!

Exhumations. Release babies (13x). Dinner (Spaghetti w/ meat sauce, salad and soup). Siesta. Updates to

Lesson: Things change. Adapt.

Food: Crepes. These thin pancake like delicacies were filled with jams and chocolate. It tastes more like a dessert.
Animals: Dogs, Birds, Spiders, Flies, Ants, Crabs, Mosquitoes, baby turtles.

Something I am thankful for: BACON! From the meat to fat greasy drippings... I don't know why it tastes so good!
Something I don't want to admit: I'll be cooking in bacon grease for the next week :)

Total Nest I have saved: 48
Total Nests Poached on my Patrol:48
Total Turtle Eggs I saved: 5102+
Total Baby Turtles I Released: 1,244
Days of Rain: 88/145 - finally a little bit of rain!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Day 148 - Crocky Man Grove

Date: 11/25/12
Location: Costa de Oro, Costa Rica

Word of the day:máquina - machine
Turtle Fact: Turtles can rest or sleep underwater for several hours.

Wake up 6am. Breakfast (cereal). As I prepare for bike patrol, I am informed that the over-achiever Hernaldo has already done the patrol by bike at 5am this morning. Looks like I got a "morning off". Update Nature:30.

By 9:30am we (Courtney, Lars and myself) are picked up by Pretoma and taken to Playa Bejuco. Today we are going on a mangrove tour! There are several fresh water streams that lead out to the Pacific ocean along the coast of Costa Rica. Where the two bodies of water meet (and the surrounding areas) brackish water (salty fresh water) can be found. This is where you will find a diverse range of plants and animals. Add the factor of tide controlling the height of the water level, changing several times a day, this place is a hot bed for nature.

As Turtle Trax (Pretoma off shoot) offers more and more tours for visitors and tourists, we (research assistants) get to be the guinny pigs. We arrive in the small fishing village of Bejuco. No more than 10 family must live in this area as it was created for a fisherman's harbor. We wait for the tide raise a little before we begin our journey. As we wait, it was pointed out that this little village has their own hatchery ran by locals. Even though it was much smaller in size, the fact that the community cares about the turtles is great!

We jump into a 15' boat with a small outboard motor attached to the back. We pile in and begin the tour. We weave several km's through a small river with the banks only 5ft from either side of the boat. Several large logs were barely submerged that we managed to float over, as the captain would pull up the motor as we drift over the area.

This river is known to be home of several crocodiles. As we start our boat ride, the captain points out a couple sandy and bare banks along the river, which the crocs are known to sun bath or hang out. Upon further looking, you can see the foot prints in ground. Being already trained to look for turtle tracks randomly on the beach, I instantly ingrain this walking pattern to memory in hopes to find another nesting site.

Not even 5mins into the ride Courtney spots the first croc. It was only a baby and maybe 2ft in length. The cute little thing was hanging out underneath the mangrove roots, which are exposed during low tide. Again, I commit this image to memory in hopes to spot the next one. CROC! I found one. Another baby hiding in the roots of mangrove tree. So cool. This has to be one of the first times seeing these animals in real life.

We continue on the river until get to a norrow spot in and hangout floating for a bit while we enjoy a juice box. We head back to the "boat dock" (which consists of pulling up to a sand bar) after visiting another river off shoot. We thank the captain and walk back to where the truck dropped us off. Within minutes are charriot arrives and we head back to Costa de Oro.

Lunch (Pasta and Rice)

This morning starts the season of faux earth quakes. They have begun roadwork along our street. Currently every morning at 7:30am, a steam roller will be rolling down or dirt road, shaking the ground as if it was one looooonnnnggg earth quake. Remembering our Pretoma sign (the one I made several months ago for in front of our house) was close to road, and the workers were expanding the road, we go to check on it. As we walk towards the street we could hear the sound of the large machine approaching. As step out onto the road, we see the large machine moving in our direction, only feet away from the sign. Like out of a action move, we wave our hands and yell STOP! It seemed like they were about to knock it down! We quickly get a knife to free the sign from the poles I placed into the ground. Saved for the future. Phew - that was close.

Arts and crafts. Siesta. Swim. Sunset. Run. Cook. Dinner (Taco's with rice). Siesta. Updates to Sleep.

Lesson: Crocs taste like rubbery chicken.

Food: Ground Beef Tacos with Hispanic rice
Animals: Dogs, Birds, Spiders, Flies, Ants, Crabs, Mosquitoes, Sea Otter, Crocodile, Cats, Turkey vulchers.

Something I am thankful for: Being a Research assistant and having access to tours such as these.
Something I don't want to admit: I was hoping to pick up a baby croc and play with it as part of the tour/experience.

Total Nest I have saved: 48
Total Nests Poached on my Patrol:50
Total Turtle Eggs I saved: 5102
Total Baby Turtles I Released: 1,148
Days of Rain: 87/144

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Day 147 - Another Day

Date: 11/24/12
Location: Costa de Oro, Costa Rica

Word of the day: cazuela - casserole
Turtle Fact:     Sea Turtles routinely dives for about 5 minutes and surfaces to breath for only 3 seconds.  She can dive up to 4,000 feet.

Wake up 6am. Morning check on bike. 2 poached nested to the the south. Again these turtles had come up after our last patrol in the night and before my bike ride in the morning hours.

Breakfast (cereal). Arts and Crafts. Open Coconuts. I am assisting Courtney with a little project of her own. Being the swordsman I am, welding the machete around the air, I go to town cutting open coconuts for a great length. Cooling off inside from the morning heat, I come inside and start to prep tonight dinner.

Lunch (leftovers).

Arts and crafts. Play in waves. Get sweaty. Turtle nest exhumations(2x) and baby releases (9x). Sunset. Cook. Dinner (Rice casserole with garlic rolls, and green beans). Siesta. Updates to

Sunset Deep Thought: The only reason you see the moon through Earth's atmosphere is because it reflects the light from the sun. In the same way we perceive colors (the suns light reflects off the object, only absorbing certain colors before bouncing away to our eyes), we are also seeing the atmosphere (sky) as blue. This reflection of the sun is so bright that we are not able to look beyond the blue of the atmosphere, until the sun sets. My thought - what if there are objects in space (near Earth) that we are unable to see as they do no reflect the suns light?


Lesson: Resources are great only when they are useful, otherwise they are just part of the background

Food: Garlic Bread. Flavored with goodness and rolled like a cinnamon roll and baked to perfection with bits of cheese surprises.
Animals: Dogs, Birds, Spiders, Flies, Ants, Crabs, Mosquitoes

Something I am thankful for: Inspiring others.
Something I don't want to admit: Throughout the day, I felt like I had something on my up lip... I did it was a nasty stash.

Total Nest I have saved: 48
Total Nests Poached on my Patrol: 50
Total Turtle Eggs I saved: 5102
Total Baby Turtles I Released: 1,129
Days of Rain: 87/143

Friday, November 23, 2012

Day 146 - Black Viernes

Date: 11/23/12
Location: Costa de Oro, Costa Rica

Word of the day: viernes negro
Turtle Fact:The deep green Sea Turtle is killed because of its beautiful skin. The Hawksbill Sea Turtle is killed for products like shells, leather, perfumes, and cosmetics. They are sold for high prices, up to $250 a kilogram! This is a major factor and is killing many Hawksbills.

Wake up 6am. Morning check the entire beach on bike. I come across two new tracks that had not been seen by the patrol last night as these turtles came early this morning. Unfortunately both these nests were poached. In fact both nests where poached by the poacher who leaves one egg in the nest whole... sick individual.

Breakfast (oatmeal) and make a re-supply of my mid-day oatmeal snack. Cleanup backyard. Arts and crafts. Lunch (leftovers). I spend the rest of my afternoon cycling through arts and crafts, digging out the hatchery and jumping in the ocean to cool off. I give myself about a half an hour on each project before moving on - so effective, physically and mentally.

5pm we release a set of babies (10x) to the ocean. Dinner (comeda tipica). Updates to, Nature:30.


Lesson: Without imagination, you live in the moment. With imagination, you live in the future.

Food: Rice, Beans and Chorizo - Costa Rica typical food
Animals: Dogs, Birds, Spiders, Flies, Ants, Crabs, Mosquitoes

Something I am thankful for: Being able to turn something into nothing.
Something I don't want to admit: I miss getting up in the wee hours of the morning, just to sit miserably in line for a chance to get an xmas present for a loved one, only to save $20.

Total Nest I have saved: 48
Total Nests Poached on my Patrol:48
Total Turtle Eggs I saved: 5102
Total Baby Turtles I Released: 1,120
Days of Rain: 87/142

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Day 145 - Thanksgiving

Date: 11/22/12
Location: Costa de Oro, Costa Rica

Word of the day:Acción de gracias - Thanksgiving
Turtle Fact: On a Sea Turtle's shell there are strange markings. A lost culture has believed they could tell when the end of the world could be by reading the marks.

Wake up 6am. Check hatchery for babies. Find babies in one of the nest and release them (3). Morning check. I walk the beach with an audio book in my ear. I am in listening to the last couple chapters of "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed. On my walk I come across poached nests  SQ as well as a dead baby turtle and bird.

When I returned back tot he house, I dig out some of the holes in the hatchery from previous exhumations to remove the "dirty" sand.

As I think about what to make for breakfast, I remember it's THANKSGIVING! So I begin making turkey shaped pancakes detailed with caramel, condensed milk and syrup. Yum.

This morning we were getting picked up my Drew (owner of Hotel Laguna Mar) and transported over the Hotel, where we will spend the day celebrating Thanksgiving. So after a little outside work, I gather my belongs and we ride over to Javilla (city of hotel).

Once there we are greeted with a gratis beverage and some pizza from the neighboring pizza tree establishment. I get in touch with my roots and watch the Detroit Lions football game that is currently being shown on the TV screen. Moving over to pool chair, I watch the game from afar and doze off - what a life. When I awake, I see our friends from Corozalito and San Miguel project sites, entering the hotel to join the festivities. After some time of hanging out by the pool, I head up to Courtney's hotel room to shower and get all spiffy for dinner.

During this down time, I catch up with a couple family members via Google voice. After taking a HOT shower and actually putting on clothes, I join the growing population of friends and expats.  Before you know it dinner is served. A traditional Thanksgiving meal is staring me in the face. After a generous first round is consumed, a second was brought to a table - how sweet is this? A restaurant giving you seconds! Now only if I could come back tomorrow for the leftovers

We spend the next couple of hours catching up with other people discussing out plans (or lack of) after our respective projects are over. Some how I can conned (did not have to twist my arm that badly) into take a la cucaracha shot with a mix of people... interesting.

We eventually get a ride home from Paublo (Hotel Laguna Mar chef) who luckily lives on our area. That would have been one hell of a walk.


Lesson: The reason food seconds are named after seconds is because that is how long it takes you to devour it.

Food: Turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes and green beans
Animals: Dogs, Birds, Spiders, Flies, Ants, Crabs, Mosquitoes

Something I am thankful for: Celebrating Holidays. Ironic enough, its though yearly traditions that are great placeholders and checkpoints you look forward to each year.

Something I don't want to admit: Due to miss communication I brought home (to Costa de Oro) a dog, that should have otherwise been left at the hotel - ohhh don't worry its not at the house anymore and actually has made it way back to its original origin.

Total Nest I have saved: 48
Total Nests Poached on my Patrol:46
Total Turtle Eggs I saved: 5102
Total Baby Turtles I Released: 1,100
Days of Rain: 87/141

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Day 144 - Resuming

Date: 11/21/12
Location: Costa de Oro, Costa Rica

Word of the day:
Turtle Fact: Leatherback Sea Turtles can dive more than 300 meters. Sea Turtles can stay submerged underwater for as long as 5 hours. But this is dangerous because it slows down the Sea Turtles heart rate to conserve oxygen. 10 minutes can elapse in between heart beats.

8am wake up. I do some emailing and upload some pics. Breakfast (cinnamon rolls).

Resume Day -  I hate to do this but I must. In fact I have been waiting for it to rain so I could have a "rainy day" but considering it has not rained over a week, I must due this on a 'sunny day". What I am talk about is going through and updating all my "real world paperwork". So I spent my morning and afternoon hours filled with updated the resume, LinkedIn as well as sending out some more feelers for opportunities in the work force. These are items which are better off done early in the game, rather than trying to struggle around last minute to hand over a "half-assed" piece of work that can potentially change your future. I didn't feel as bad though, as today was a scorcher. I tell myself I would have burned myself (knock on wood it has not happened yet in my entire 5 months in CR) if I would have spent the day outside anyway.

Get sweaty. Run. Swim. Sunset. Baby release (5). Dinner (French Onion Soup). Nature:30. Updates to


Lesson: Life moves on, even if your not ready

Food: French Onion Soup. I have wanting this one for a while. Courtney was able to get a recipe from her dad and piece it together from the resources we had.
Animals: Dogs, Birds, Spiders, Flies, Ants, Crabs, Mosquitoes

Something I am thankful for:
Something I don't want to admit: It felt good to be at a computer all day. Certainly reminding me a semi-normal job, with out the claustrophobia of being in the office. It's was certainly a comfort task. 

Total Nest I have saved: 48
Total Nests Poached on my Patrol:46
Total Turtle Eggs I saved: 5102
Total Baby Turtles I Released: 1,100
Days of Rain: 87/140

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Day 143 - North Rocks

Date: 11/20/12
Location: Costa de Oro, Costa Rica

Word of the day:
Turtle Fact: Most Sea Turtles are nomads and travel about 1,300 miles a day! Leatherback Sea Turtles have the longest migration of all Sea Turtles.

Wake up 6am. Breakfast (oatmeal). Morning check along beach.

Today's adventure is to head to the the large rocks on the north end of San Miguel and explore what creatures and geographic forms may be existing. So after my walk to the north for the morning patrol, I continue on heading to San Miguel.

I reach the estuary just as it hits high tide. Knowing this, I am semi prepared to ford the river with my backpack and belongings (including some technology - digital camera and GoPro). Never really crossing the estuary before at high tide, I certainly under estimated the depth at which this river can get. Holding my bag above my head, I make my first attempt across. Nope - that't not going to work. As I make it a third of a way across the water, I loose my footing as there is a drop-off that is above my head. As I was not able to tread water holding my backpack above my head, I backpedal in a panic state until my head is back above water, all the while, keeping my bag above the water, barely.

At this point I realize the river was going to be way to deep for me to cross alone. I am going to need some assistance. Immediately I search for large driftwood. I decide on building a small raft, that would float enough for my belongings as I swim across. I luckily am able to find some pieces within a short walking distance, along with a piece of large styrofoam - perfect. Using a small bundle of rope I have in my backpack (you can always use rope) I quickly fasten my findings together and give it a test float. It works! To my surprise, it was very buoyant and kept my bag out of the water. After battling a couple of incoming waves and a strong outward current, I make it across. Great success for only being 7am.

I continue walking north along San Miguel's beach and make it to their house by 8am. I first meet Scott, a new volunteer from Vancouver as he heads out for a morning run. I then enjoy some coffee with Emilie (volunteer from FL) until the rest of the house wakes up. Since I had to "waste" some time until 11am, until the tide came back down, I decided to perform my culinary duty and make them breakfast! Semi mind tricking them into it, I make egg-bread-hole with potatoes. After blowing up their taste buds with an awesome meal, I take some video around the camp until it's time to go.

Scott, Emilie, Hillary (assistant research assistant from Vancouver) and I head out and walk north along the beach until we reach the rocks an hour later. Even though I had lived at San Miguel for almost a month, I had never made the journey this far north. Perhaps I was too consumed with everything and being new to this project, I wanted to make sure I was comfortable with my surroundings before venture out.

Once we get there, we climb over and down several structures of rock. There was a couple small caves, but nothing like the size and diversity of life I had seen to the south a week prior. We get to a point where it was very steep and slipper to climb down. This would end up being the turning point for the crew, as it would be difficult to climb back up with the type of shoes they were wearing. Plus, they had to start turning around as they have to back by 1pm for lunch.

So I continue on with my my GoPro in hand chasing around crabs and snails. I eventually get to a place, where the vertical side of this hill, meets the water and it would be very difficult to walk along. Granted if I had a someone else with me, that would edge me along, I would have attempted. However, I was solo trekking and new it to be a poor decision if I was to venture on.

I head back to San Miguel, where I make myself some Ramen Noodles for lunch, that I had brought along. After gaining some energy and hydration, I walk back to my house. This time the estuary was easy to cross and only knee deep.

Back at the house I unpack my things and clean a little in the backyard. Courtney and Kayla exhume some nests, which bring locals out to the beach, while simultaneously releasing the babies found in that nest during the sunset.

Dinner. Patrol. I walk to the South alone. I come across a some old turtle tracks that are long in width that leads to a massive creater in the ground. Is this a Leatherback nest? After examining the area for a while I could not tell for sure. There were many footprints all along the turtles tracks. The nest bed was completely dug up in a 6'x6'x3' hole. Did a human make this hole larger than the turtle initially did? I will have to re-investigate tomorrow, in the day light. I continue on to find a turtle just about finishing up laying her eggs. I am able to tag her and grab her measurements before she walked back into the ocean. As for the nest bed, I did a thorough job of covering it. After sweeping the entire area with palm fronds, I cover the actual nest bed with a couple pieces of palm fronds and drift wood. I continue to make a fake nest with all the distinguishing features that looked like someone had previously gathered all the eggs. Eggs saved/hidden successfully (which was also confirmed the following day)


Lesson: Gotta know when hold'em, know when to folde'em...

Food: Ramen Noodles (off brand) - Given to me from a care package from one of my Brothers, I enjoy this simple comfort food.
Animals: Dogs, Birds, Spiders, Flies, Ants, Crabs, Mosquitoes, crabs, minnows, sea urchin, sea snails

Something I am thankful for: My closed toed sandals. Granted they are breaking down fairly quickly (for only having them 5 months), I have been able to traverse many a landscape in them, without the need to change into something different.
Something I don't want to admit: I saw boobies... on the way walking to the north rocks, there was a group of Europeans (I could only imagine) enjoying themselves on the beach playing Frisbee, topless. That's a first for Costa Rica, for me.

Total Nest I have saved: 48
Total Nests Poached on my Patrol:46
Total Turtle Eggs I saved: 5102
Total Baby Turtles I Released: 1,095

Days of Rain: 87/139

Monday, November 19, 2012

Day 142 - A Chili Day

Date: 11/19/12
Location: Costa de Oro, Costa Rica

Word of the day: Chile - Chili
Turtle Fact: Loggerhead Sea Turtles are the most common Sea Turtles to be found in the southeastern part of the United States. They are mostly found at shipwreck sights.

Wake up 5:30am in Hatchery. Go to bed in house until 7:30am. Make breakfast (bread-egg-whole).

Emails. As I start thinking ahead and preparing for return back to "real" life, I have begun the process of getting back in contact with the people I was in touch with, just before I left (in regards to future employment). This consumes most of my morning hours and will most likely become a new trend for the last couple weeks here. Want to hire me?

Arts and crafts. Rake and pick up beach. Lunch (leftovers)

Siesta. Arts and crafts. Dig out holes in hatchery. Get my sweat on. Shower. Cook. Collect garbage on beach. Dinner (Chili with cornbread)

Siesta. Updates to Hatchery. Hammock. Sleep.

Lesson: KISS. Keep it simple stupid.

Food: Chili. For me this usually takes hours and hours to make, slow cooking the goodness so that the flavor is soaked into every bit. However this batch was made in record timing.
Animals: Dogs, Birds, Spiders, Flies, Ants, Crabs, Mosquitoes

Something I am thankful for: Flavor Packets.
Something I don't want to admit: I ate oldy moldy cheese in my Chili, thinking it was just a weird flavor of Costa Rican cheese.

Total Nest I have saved: 47
Total Nests Poached on my Patrol:45
Total Turtle Eggs I saved: 5102
Total Baby Turtles I Released:1,095
Days of Rain: 87/138

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Day 141 - Night Babes

photo from Michelina M
Date: 11/18/12
Location: Costa de Oro, Costa Rica

Word of the day: Té - Tea
Turtle Fact: Sea Turtles bury themselves underwater in sand or mud and remain dormant from November though March.

6am wake up in hatchery. Walk beach, collect garbage and sort into colored plastic piles for mural. Breakfast (Cinnamon rolls). Find, open and scrap out coconuts. Make coconut ice cream. Teach Michelina how to make Hibiscus tea.

Clean up backyard. Lunch (pasta). Arts and crafts.

During my random hatchery checks throughout the day, I notice a bunch of tiny tracks all over the hatchery. After first glance I do not find anything... I call in the Calvary for help and were able to find the escapees.

Run. Swim. Shower. Cook. Dinner (Softshell tacos w/ salad). Siesta. HT updates. Hatchery. Hammock.

Babies. Around 2:30am I lean over to check the hatchery and to my surprise I see a nest full of babies (19). I go inside the house to wake the volunteers as I know they wanted to be a part of the baby release. With the moon being very bright for only having a quarter of it showing, it lit up the beach. After an 30 mins of watching these babies walk their way to the water we return back to the house for a midnight snack (cookie). When I return back the hatchery (3:30am) I notice ANOTHER nest full of babies (17). I repeat the process and gather the volunteers for another road of night releases. You would think that waking up in the middle of the night to deal with babies would be cumbersome, when all you want is sleep. Well for you parents of homosapiens children, I am sure you know the feeling 10 fold. However it is very rewarding too!


Lesson: Everything you are trained for prepares you for the future

Food: Cinnamon rolls - Ever since Kayla saw a picture of this on Pintrest several months ago, we have been craving them. Well after enough complaining, Courtney made some!
Animals: Dogs, Birds, Spiders, Flies, Ants, Crabs, Mosquitoes, Baby turtles.

Something I am thankful for: Enjoying the scenery. Sometime you forget where you are and where you could be.
Something I don't want to admit: I have purposely been teaching the volunteers how to make the ice cream and teas, so they can start making them on their own so I can reeking the benefits!

Total Nest I have saved: 47
Total Nests Poached on my Patrol:45
Total Turtle Eggs I saved: 5102
Total Baby Turtles I Released:1,049
Days of Rain: 87/137 - No Rain

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Day 140 - Paint the Town (School) Red

Date: 11/17/12
Location: Costa de Oro, Costa Rica

Word of the day: Pintura - Painting
Turtle Fact: Sea Turtles enjoy cool brackish waters.

Wake up at 7:30am. Breakfast (pancakes).

This morning we are picked up at 8:30am and taken to the nearest town, San Francisco de Coyote, to help paint the children's school. This was the same school, a month or so ago, that we went to and scrapped all the excess and old chipping old paint off the school's concrete fence/wall. Once we arrive, we are informed that the school was finally able to obtain a large quantity of paint (not sure if it was donated or bought) in order to cover the inside perimeter of the wall.

Having few supplies to paint with, Kayla runs across the street to the hardware store to pick up a few more items, including a brush for a roller. As this wall was large and flat, the roller would be essential in the production of getting this wall covered with paint. Upon opening the 5 gallon container of paint, we see that the walls will turn from a light speckled blue to a deep, dark red. Taking a look at my clothing, I knew I was not going to walk out of this unscathed from paint. Pura Vida.

We start from the center entrance and flank out to either end of the wall. Not exactly sure how far this paint was going to last us, we worked in a tight area just in case we ran out of paint midway down a wall. Well, three hours flies by and we are nearly out of paint. We were able to cover the entire inside of the wall with one coat of paint. Luckily we put it on pretty thick, knowing that this was going to be the only coat this wall was going to see for a long time, due to limited funding and resources. By this time, the mid-day sun was in full force and all of us (Kayla, Ioana, Michelina and I) were hot, sweaty, splattered with red paint and have worked up an appetite.

Just as we were finishing putting away the paint supplies and attempting to remove this oil based paint from our hands, arms, feet and legs, Courtney shows up. We all walk north to Ranch Loma Clara, a restaurant in town that I have not been to as of yet. Lunch (steak).

After enjoying our celebratory lunch from our community labor, we stop in the local grocery store (super mercardo) Super Rey and pick up a few items, before heading back to the Pretoma office where we would get a ride back to the House. Ride. Home.

Siesta. Arts & Crafts. Clean up back yard.

During the late afternoon a local stops by the house and explains there is baby turtles hatching on the beach! We run down the beach to the north, only 200 meters north and find a family sitting around a bucket full of baby turtles. They explain there dogs found the nest as the babies were emerging to make their escape to the ocean. Treating this situation as if it was one from our hatchery, Courtney exhumes the nest, and gathers the information surrounding this hatching. 26 babies turtles make it to the ocean safe and sound. It's great to see that even in "nature" these turtles could have made it, granted there wasn't dogs to intercept them on as they race for the water. However, seeing as these dogs are part of the environment, it doesn't look they would have... luckily their owners were around to stop the dogs from eating them (or at least most them anyway).

Run. Shower. Sunset. Cook.

Sunset Deep Thought: How distorted do you think primal artwork actually was. If you think about the number of people who wear corrected lenses, it's crazy. Now apply this same percentage to the people in our history. Granted now we have computer screens and TV that make us "go blind", but I am still sure that there was some bad eye genes floating around back then, or we would not have them today. PART 1) Having bad eye sight, I am sure they had an altered view and what they saw and thus recorded their experiences through this fuzzy lens.  PART2) Someone must have been taking care of these people with poor eye sight. I can't imagine that having a blurry eye sight was adventagous when foraging for food in the forest, or stalking a prey. Otherwise this bad gene would have not been passed down through generation and thus leaving me to wear contacts. Thanks.

Dinner (leftovers: Coconut Curry sauce and Rice). Patrol.

I walk South with Michelina. During our walk I learn all about her home town, San Diego (area). No Turtles. No Tracks.

Update Hatchery. Sleep.

Lesson: Even the blind leading the blind will get you somewhere. Better than not moving at all. Or is it?

Food: Steak and Shrimp. Courtney had suggested my lunch plate far before I had ordered. Having ate this same meal a couple days prior with good reviews, she knew my love of meat (and lack of it lately).
Animals: Dogs, Birds, Spiders, Flies, Ants, Crabs, Mosquitoes

Something I am thankful for: Subtle reminders why we are doing, what we are doing.
Something I don't want to admit: I wear contacts. Yes I have a weakness. However sometimes not taking them out for months a time (ritual since 5th grade), and changing them on holidays (when I remember) I sometimes have a glasses day. This is usually when I get something in my eye, that irritates it for a prolonged period of time. Not being able to flush it out, I take out the contacts and give my eyes a day or so to breath. That would be today.

Total Nest I have saved: 47
Total Nests Poached on my Patrol:45
Total Turtle Eggs I saved: 5102
Total Baby Turtles I Released:1,002
Days of Rain: 87/136