Friday, August 31, 2012

Day 62 - Blue Moon

Date: 8/31/12
Location: Costa de Oro, Costa Rica

Word of the day:
Turtle Fact: Incubation time varies with species, clutch size, and temperature and humidity in the nest. The incubation time for most species is 45 to 70 days. However, historically our beaches (Playa San Miguel and Costa de Oro) have seen incubation times of around 40 days.

3am wake up. I enjoy a little 4th meal (turtle pancakes from yesterday) and I patrol solo on the beach cruiser around 3:30am. As I head to the beach, I notice 4 sets of bike tire tracks leading to the house from beach. As I look study them in the moonlite night/early morning I notice these are not bike tires at all... THEY ARE TURTLE TRACKS! Has this turtle walked another 80ft, it could have done her work in the hatchery to save us a step. Lets just say this turtle knew what she was doing when she decided that she wanted a her children to be safe. 96 eggs later I actually head out on patrol. North, South, North and nada. What a great start to the day!

Updates to HT.com. Breakfast. I make an eggbake in the morning. Brother Chris shared this recipe with me a while ago and it has been sitting in the volt until recently. Sooo good.

Today's project was to improve the Hatchery's exterior trails. Essentially there is 2 trails from the beach that lead directly to the hatchery. One on the property we currently live on and another than is on the property the hatchery is build on (next door). The plan is to just outline the paths that people walk on to get the hatchery in order not to disturb the (future) landscaping (if any) around path/hatchery. The project consist of moving dirt/sand (previously from the hatchery dig site) onto paths and then outlining these paths with large pieces of long wood.

Matt joins me outside for a hot minute and we nail the sign the back/Front of the hatchery facing the Ocean. This will be our main PRETOMA sign for the hatchery. So exciting... no we just wait for the colored paint to arrive to finish it up. Lunch.

I go for a couple walks along the beach looking for longer pieces of wood for the paths as I have already exhausted the supply I have been slowly gathering over the last couple of weeks. FYI - it's pretty hot out at this point in time and frequent jumps into the ocean were a must.

Outside the hatchery before the Paths
Still having some energy I dig two holes for the soccer posts. On our property we have a set of Soccer goal posts. One of them is cemented into the ground and looking great. The other had rusted, broke and is now laying on the ground. Anytime the kids come by they end up leaning this on a tree to play a game of Soccer/Fútbol. I thought I would help them out a little. Run.

Outside the hatchery before the Paths
Another little side project of mine was to create a camera wheel. In the future I want to be able to film the new hatchlings "running" on the beach without having the camera shaking too much as I follow them to the water at ground height. SO, I had found this tricycle wheel (I could only imagine) washed up on the beach some time ago. I just so happen to find a piece of pvc that fit just in the center of the wheel, but had just enough room where the tire could still spin. On either end of the pvc, I put a couple of nails in so that the wheel would not slide off of the pvs, locking in place in the center. Boom I have myself an axle. To be honest, what I have just created looks ALOT like an ab roller. I leave this item the way it is at the moment to come up with how I want to finish it (attach my vertical handle) - no need to rush great work.

Dinner - we end up finishing up leftovers for dinner. Hangout. Patrol. 10pm we head out to the beach and look up a, BLUE MOON! I ride solo on the bicycle heading North, South and 1/2 way North again, until I run into Matt and Courtney. Nada.


Lesson:
Blue Moons are not really blue
Poles are dug deep, deep in the ground
Nailing on an angle (downward) is difficult when your vertically challenged.

Food: Eggbake - sauted sausage, onion, red pepper and garlic, held together by sweater pancake mix/cake like texture and random pockets of BBQ sauce - my favorite addition.....mmmm

Animals: Crabs, Turtle (eggs), Dogs, Lizards, Mosquito, Ants

Something I am thankful for: Shovels - I really dig this tool. Sharp yet, flat, skinny and strong. I can't imagine digging out holes or even moving earth with large claims or wooden sticks.

Something I don't want to admit: I am going to need to re-dig the soccer goal. Lets just say, I dug the hole, placed the goal and filled/packed the dirt back in... then looked at it. YIKES. Well it could be used for a handicap for one of the teams...

Total Nest I have saved: 20
Total Nests Poached on my Patrol: 13
Total Turtle Eggs I saved: 2,545
Total Baby Turtles I Released: 40
Days of Rain: 40/58

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Day 61 - Eggstra Eggstra Read All About It

Date: 8/30/12
Location: Costa de Oro, Costa Rica

Word of the day: Broma - Joke


7am wake up. For breakfast I make pancakes. However this time I make them with White Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix. Unfortunately non of the flavor came out as the pancake batter had a stronger taste. Once upon a time, someone taught me about the art of making art with pancakes. Essentially you draw your outlines, or prominent features first using a spoon dipped in batter (like a pen and ink respectively). After that cooks for about 45 secs, you then add the background and rest of the shape. At first I was a little rusty. However by the end, I was making different species of turtles... is it bad I was excited to eat the turtle pancakes by biting their head off first??

Updates to HT.com. Clean. This morning I help out Courtney with one of her side projects involving a division of Pretoma - I put my artistic abilities to work via Photoshop. I don't think this will be the last time either. Thats the problem with being so talented - toot toot. (That's me tooting my own horn)

JOKE: Why do cows where bells? (The first person to reply to this joke with the correct answer, via the   comment board below, will WIN a personalized post card from me! GO GO GO)

Lunch. Clean a little more. Run. Lotti stops by the house this afternoon and picks us all up and takes us back to our old stomping grounds - Playa San Miguel. It has been almost a month since I had last been there. Already a month has gone by? That can not be good news. Well, as we arrive through the the barn like doors to the property, I am slightly overwhelmed of all the memories I had here (granted it was only a month ago) as I had been so pre-occupied with the new "baby, I totally forgot that the older sibling existed. 

We are greeted by Maddie with open arms and an unfamiliar face that turns out to be the new German volunteer. There is currently only 2 people at this location and will be this way for the next month. After catching up with one another, we head to the hatchery with latex gloves and start to exhume the nest. 

SIDE-NOTE: July 14, 2012 I was working/living at San Miguel. This was the first night I had arrived and coincidently was the first night we put a nest in the hatchery. We yesterday we got word that this nest had hatched. What the awesome part was is that this nest had a 100% fertility. This means that all of the eggs in this nest made it to be fully developed babies and where able to be released into the ocean. Usually nests in nature only have a fertility rate of 60-80%. Take that mother nature. 

Today we ended up going through 2 nests. We were able to see 3 of the 4 different stages that the eggs are classified in. Lotti explains her "tips and tricks" to all of us on how to identify each stage and the slight differences between each. Although a very smelly process, it is very exciting (in a geeky way) to open up a closed egg and figure out what stage this egg stopped developing and why. Every egg is different and it's sort of like being Sherlock Holmes to figure out why somethings is the way it was. Going through the eggs we end up find an albino Olive Ridely Turtle that was almost fully developed... With that said, almost all albino turtles are deformed and usually never make it to birth. This little guy had a major underbite and ONE EYE - cyclopes. Freaky stuff - Check out the pictures if you can stomach it. 

After it's all said and done, we clean up and head back to Costa De Oro, home sweet home. 

SIDE-NOTE: We are truly spoiled at this house, with a working fridge, an actual stove, inclosed common areas and the fact we live in an actual house, it would be hard to go back to San Miguel, but doable. It could be worse... 

Dinner. HT.com updates. Sleep. 


Lesson:
  • There no place like home (that has the amenities a spoiled American is used to)
  • An inflated turtle egg can only mean one thing and it won't smell like roses
  • How easily we forget the past and then quickly remember it, once a thought is triggered. 

Food: Pork chops, green beans, chicken flavored rice and SQUASH MASH! This time I used some coconut cream in there.... yummy. 
Animals: Turtles, Crabs, Birds, Dogs

Something I am thankful for: A Fridge. Things last so much longer, but are also sheltered from bugs and animals. Once you don't have one, you quickly find out how your diet changes and you adapt. People gotta eat!
Something I don't want to admit: I saw Ready's Grave (the San Miguel Dog, that died last week) and was a little sad. No tears.

Total Nest I have saved: 19
Total Nests Poached on my Patrol: 13
Total Turtle Eggs I saved: 2,449
Total Baby Turtles I Released: 40
Days of Rain: 40/57

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Day 60 - The Key to My Heart


Date: 8/29/12
Location: Costa de Oro, Costa Rica

Word of the day: Llave inglesa- Wrench
Turtle Fact:
In the north-central Gulf of California, black sea turtles return each year to specific areas. They bury themselves in sand or mud under water and may remain dormant from November to March.

3AM wake up for early morning Patrol. I ride the bike (solo) as Court and Matt walk north. Nada. I return back the house with sun about to rise. I grab a little bite to eat and work on some HT.com updates. Real Breakfast. Clean up trash from dogs - dang mutts.

A while back we acquired a couple pieces of drift wood. This drift would was very large, but had been clearly been cut by a saw as it was flat on 2 sides like a pancake. Matt had cleaned and painted the tops of these in order to use them for signs around the Hatchery and Costa de Oro House. We head over to the hatchery in the back yard and attempt to nail the larger of the two on to the hatchery posts. We soon find out the nails we are using are just too small for the task we are using them for. To be continued. Siesta.

Lunch. Today Courtney made red pepper hummus and home made bread. I love being a Costa Rican vegan sometimes. HT.com updates.

Today's project for me was finally get to the bottom of this bike. It has been having issues with the back tire being deflated. I go to take off the back tire and remember I do not have wrench. I head next door with Courtney as my interpreter (if I needed it) to some Ticos that are working on a building an addition to the neighbors house. (Prior to this, Courtney had helped me learn the words/phrases I need to ask for the wrench). I successfully asked for the wrench solo in Spanish (big step for me - learning multiple sentences).

SIDENOTE: In Spanish a wrench is called Llave inglesa = English Key. However is Costa Rica they call it Llave francés = French Key. Weird (to me).

We head back to house. I take off the tire and discover a needle like piece in the inner-tube from a shell, from the beach. Since it punctured through both side of the tire (most likely from riding it on a flat tire at some point), I had to patch both holes with repair Kit that Eric got for us earlier in the week. After it was all fixed, I ride the bike into town... On my way, the chain keeps popping off - most likely as the chain was not tight enough. As I fix the chain on the side of the road one of these times, Eric drives by with the Pretoma truck. I'M SAVED! I get a ride into town and we head to the bicycle/hardware/motorcycle shop to get a new tire, pump adapter and a Llave francés. FIXED. I head back to house (5K away) during dusk and in the rain. The chain still frequently popped off after a series of small bumps on the road and I would stop to fix them... after the bike came to a stop of coarse.

SIDE-NOTE: I love efficiencies. I believe in working smarter not harder as well. When the chain would pop off, I would wait till I was at the bottom of a hill, or slightly up the next before stopping the bike to fix it. Most the times when the chained popped I was gaining speed going down a hill. Keeping in mind this one a single speed bicycle, and the brakes consist of peddling backwards (which only work when the chain is on the "tracks"), I open my eyes as wide as possible to see any dips/rocks/animals/large obstructions in the dark. While doing this I am RACING down a dirt road with absolutely no way of breaking without sliding my flipped-flop foot on the ground - which was not going to happen. At this point in time I fully accept that what happens happens. Even if that mean hitting a divot and projecting me forward off the bike. Thankfully each time this happened I just enjoy an intense adrenaline rush. Don't worry I'll look into fixing the chain...

Dinner. Since everyone was off on our own this evening we had all decided to do dinner on our own. Tonight I enjoy some Ramen Noodles. Not just a college favorite, but a lifetime favorite. Being fortunate to grow up with two Asian (Vietnamese) brothers, I have more than acquired a taste for the the packets of noodles. Thanks Quang, Linh and Kids for the noodles and hot sauxe (among other things).

Patrol. 9pm I ride solo on the bike heading north on the beach. As we start to patrol a NASTY storms sets in. Needless to say, I literally peddle 5 times the whole time heading north. The wind was so intense (not "in tents" as we were outside) that it pushed me all the way down the beach. I even rode higher on the beach thinking the softer sand would slow me down. Nope. During my 2.3K ride north on the beach, I often thought how much it was going to SUCK riding back (south) as the wind would become my new enemy. However, still being an adrenaline junkie from earlier in the day, I ignore these thoughts and enjoy the kinetic energy mother nature was providing. Once I get down to the end of the beach, I take the "poacher's path" to the main road and ride back on the rain filled dirt road. I get back to the house drenched. Ohh yeah no turtle tracks found - Confirmed by Courtney who walked the beach with Alvero behind me, on foot. Early to bed for a change. Sleep.


Lesson:
    • Adrenaline; Natures drug and hard word to spell without using spell check.
    • Old men are just so peaceful when they smile
    • All you have to do is ask a question (in order to solve an issue)
    • Practice makes perfect
    • Better judgement is easily set aside when you can accept the consequences before hand. 


    Food:  Lobster Flavored Ramen Noodles, flavored with a little garlic sriracha sauce - is just happiness to me.
    Animals: Birds, Frogs, Dogs, Crabs

    Something I am thankful for:
    Thanking People - When Eric picked me up in his truck, brought me into town, bought a new tire and parts, I thanked him over a can of beer. Simple gestures like this go a long way and are noticed.
    Something I don't want to admit: For those of you that are actually reading this, I sent some postcards in the mail today while I was in town. I hate writing in this section as I really do feel I give away info I REALLY don't want to admit for one reason or another. Today's reason is that I want these cards to be a surprise for those getting one. And by those getting one, I am referring to those who have donated. Speaking of which you can get one too... Trust me, I'll make it worth your while! Promise. Donation information is HERE

    Total Nest I have saved: 19
    Total Nests Poached on my Patrol: 13
    Total Turtle Eggs I saved: 2,449
    Total Baby Turtles I Released: 40
    Days of Rain: 38/55

    Tuesday, August 28, 2012

    Day 59 - La Cucaracha


    Date: 8/28/12
    Location: Costa de Oro, Costa Rica

    Word of the day: Cucaracha - Cockroach
    Turtle Fact:
       In studies conducted on green sea turtles, lung capacity exchange in one breath exceeded 50%

    7am wake up. Not happy with the patrol last night, I head out for a late morning patrol along the beach with the bike. Knowing that we still have an issue with the back tire, I bring the pump so I can inflate the tires, once I turn around. As I enjoy this morning ride, I see a set of tracks that lead up the beach. I also see a set of foot prints walking along the beach at the same height of the end of the tracks and most likely the nest bed. As I flip out the kick stand and balance the bike on the soft sand, I follow the tracks to the nest. At a second look of the foot prints, I see that the turtle tracks had covered them, which means this person had walk past, BEFORE the turtle came up. Score – this improves the chances that the eggs are still there. After poking around with a small stick I find the nest with 102 Eggs. Yippy! I continue searching the rest of the sectors north of me and then head back to the hatchery to get these eggs in a safe place.

    Breakfast. I end up making some Horchata Pancakes. Essentially I just added a powdered packet, you would normally use for juice beverage,  into the pancake batter.

    SIDENOTE: I love being an entrepreneur of food.  I feel like my super power is tasting the final product, without even eating it. This thus gives me the idea of what I should add while I’m cooking/preparing. This was the case with the pancakes this morning. In fact, this gave me a great idea for pancakes. Bear with my… Gravy flavored pancake.

    I fill my morning with HT.com and trying to figure out how I can going to handle my Visa Run – every 3 months I have to leave the country for 3 days in order to renew my visa. I will have to do some traveling by Oct 2nd.

    Lunch. Run. Beach cleanup. I am hating the dogs of Costa de Oro right now. They getting into our kitchen scraps container, and now they have gotten into our pile of garbage bags on the side of the road for the garbage men to pick up. There is garbage everywhere! Matt, Courtney and I grab some used turtle gloves and head out to the road to clean up the mess.  As we clean up the rubbish, we unearth a hoard of fire ants. We don’t realize this fact until after our feet are burning. We save this project for tomorrow after these little guys had a chance to calm down.

    Shower. Updates HT.com. Sunset. I join Matt and Courtney for their daily evaluation of the sunset set. Nothing special today. Dinner (leftovers). Patrol. I walk with Courtney North. We end up finding 2 nests. One of them had 113 eggs the other had 79 eggs. In fact the second turtle we actually saw and hung out with as she nested and laid her eggs.

    We walk back to the hatchery, and put these little ones to rest for the next 8weeks. Sleep.






    Lesson:
    • Be Careful where you poke
    • Everything tastes good with sugar
    • Not all sunsets in Costa Rica are beautiful


    Food:  Horchata Pancakes - Who knew that ground up rice, sugar, and Cinnamon could taste so good in solid form!
    Animals: Dogs, Turtles, Cockroach, Spider

    Something I am thankful for:
    Rectification - It's that feeling that you can do better and proving this to yourself (and others sometimes). Without this feeling not many of us would have advanced or be advanced as we are today.
    Something I don't want to admit: I broke an turtle egg. In the process of poking around in this morning nest bed, I pressed too hard with the stick and punctured the egg. :( I end up burring the remainders. As it turns out this egg took one for the team as his other 102 brother/sister survived the first stage of life. He/She was a brave soul being laid near the top. It will be missed.

    Total Nest I have saved: 19
    Total Nests Poached on my Patrol: 13
    Total Turtle Eggs I saved: 2,449
    Total Baby Turtles I Released: 40
    Days of Rain: 38/55


    Monday, August 27, 2012

    Day 58 - Why Don't you Cry About It

    Date: 8/27/12

    Location: Costa de Oro, Costa Rica

    Word of the day: Libertar - Set Free

    Turtle Fact: Like other marine reptiles and seabirds, sea turtles have a salt gland to rid their bodies of excess salt. This gland empties into the sea turtles' eyes. The secretion of salt and fluid makes them look as if they are "crying" when they come ashore. These "tears" also help keep the eyes free of sand while females dig their nests.


    3am wake up. I get ready and head out for a solo bike patrol by 3:30am. Nada I get back to the house around 5am, grab a snack and head out to the beach to release the 3 remaining baby turtles from the night before as they were not "awake" enough to make the jog, from the beach to the ocean.

    SIDENOTE: We release the baby turtles about 10 meters from the water. We do this (rather than just setting the babies in the water to swim away) so that the babies develop some sort of land motor skills before they (or at least half of them - female) return to the beach some 12 years later. Keep in mind, most of our procedures are done with the thought that we are not trying to interfere with natures natural processes.

    I release the 3 turtles one a time, each getting their personal photo shoot, with the dawn skies as a backdrop. Awesome.

    I head back inside to work HT.com and get some breakfast. Speaking of which, my new favorite is Oatmeal. This used to be a regular staple for me, back in the concrete jungle of Chicago - so perhaps it's just the nostalgia that tastes good.

    10am Lotti stops by the house. She is here today to show us how to exhume the nest (for a second time; the first time the eggs where not ready). We start to unearth the remainder of the nest. In the process we uncover one more live turtle that will be released later tonight. While digging up nest, we first fill a bucket with the top layer of sand that surrounds the nest and dump this on the beach. The second round, we collect all the eggs in the nest, place them in a bucket and head to the beach. This time, we go through each egg count/verify how many hatched. The ones that didn't we determine at what stage (1-3) the turtle stopped developing. We also try to determine the cause of death (Insects, Crabs, Birth defect, etc) by looking through the egg for signs of abnormalities and foreign objects.

    Once this information has been collected we dig the eggs into the sand, where the tide will soon cover within the next couple of hours and start the natural process of recycling them (most likely insects and other marine animals will eat them). After that is done, we head back to the hatchery for a 3rd trip and dig out the remaining sand in the immediate area of the nest, in hopes to not infect the next nest that goes in that plot. This plot will remain "open" for the next 48 hours so the sand can breathe, before we fill it back in from new sand on the beach. And that my friend probably has to be the worst thing I do... make sure to check out the photos.

    Lunch. Siesta on the beach (aka I have been in Costa Rica for almost 2 months and still do not have a tan). Afterwards I finish my little terracotta project in the hatchery. With the left over pieces I start on a little terracotta patio/walkway starting at the entrance (outside) of the hatchery. I think it was those ancient Greek & Roman genes kicking in that wanted me to continue...

    I head out for a little bike ride into Coyote in hopes to get a new replacement valve for the bike. Essentially what has been happening is every 4K that you ride, the back tire needs to be inflated. Matt and I determined it was a faulty valve. Once I get into town, I get the replacement, pump it up and celebrate my victory with an ice cream. I ride back (5k) to the house.

    SIDE-NOTE: In the US I do not eat sweets. They just don't appeal to me on a daily basis. However anytime I travel abroad, I get that sweet tooth. Perhaps I make an excuse for myself - you need to taste the world, experience different flavors and mixtures. But when it comes down to it, it's the unique packaging and pictures that get me - Marketing :)

    Before I get back to the house the back tire goes flat. FML. Now I'm convinced there has to be something in between the tire and the tube. To be continued later (when I acquire a wrench).

    Once I get back to the house, I relax and work a little more on HT.com. At this point in time Matt and Courtney head out for bit. Mean while, the neighborhood kids are playing some soccer in the backyard. Per usual all the windows and doors are open in the house in order to get circulation. The kids also see this as an invitation to hangout with me... An hour and half goes by and I basically babysitting these kids and communicating via sharrads due to the slight language barrier we both have. After they finally get bored with me they take off... just in time for Matt and Courtney to get back. Figures.

    Dinner. HT updates. Siesta. Patrol. We release the remaining turtle from the nest and start our Patrol. I head north with Courtney. Nada. Sleep.



    Lesson: 
    • Making hypothesis and testing them out is one hell of a scientific method when you apply it to traveling
    • Flies (and eventually maggets) can get into anything
    • Carmel Icecream melts quick and makes an ever quicker mess
    • If you build it they will not come may be true - you just have to wait longer.


    Food: Scalloped Potatoes - I made a solid attempt of making one of favorite dishes from Joseph's Catering. Thinly sliced Potatoes, milk, butter and cheese. You can't go wrong.

    Animals: Baby Turtles, Crabs, Jellyfish, Dogs






    Something I am thankful for: Nostalgia. Now known as Facebook and formally known as photographs this feeling brings you to a place where you remember good time (or at least it does for me). It's easier to travel and you spend less money (most the time) using this method to take you back in time for a brief moment.
    Something I don't want to admit: I may or may not have gone into town for another reason that (you) the reader can know about for now...

    Days of Rain: 37/54
    Total Turtle Eggs I have saved: 2,155
    Total Nest I have saved: 16
    Total Nests Poached on my Patrol: 13
    Total Baby Turtles I Released: 40

    Sunday, August 26, 2012

    Day 57 - Don't be such a Crab (apple)

    Date: 8/26/12

    Location: Costa de Oro, Costa Rica

    Word of the day: FÚTBOL - SOCCER

    Turtle Fact: Sea turtles can live in seawater with no need for a freshwater source. They obtain sufficient water from their diet and from metabolizing seawater.



    7am wake up. As I eat breakfast I realize, I legitimately have no idea what day of the week it is. It's a very interesting feeling when there is not necessarily a "set schedule" you follow, but rather a tasks you need to complete before certain events happen.

    Over the last couple of days, I have been trying to figure out how I can make "HelpingTurtles" better (reach more people, and have a greater impact, be more entertaining, have more interaction. Since FB limits you on several of these aspect, I thought I would bump up everything a level. I introduce HelpingTurtles.com. I ended up buying this site, running blogger on it. Needless to say the next couple of days I will be getting this ready. Ohh yeah, forgot to mention it's a dreary rainy day - I won't even feel bad for being a couch potato working on this site.

    Around 3pm the kids stop by to initially to take a photo in front of the hatchery (something we had set up to do a couple days back). However, with the gloomy weather, we decide to postpone the photo shoot. Not wanting to go home/leave, the kids stuck around to work on some English homework with Courtney and Matt played soccer in the back. Being a slight scrooge (because my old man back still hurts), I opt out of these activities and get some alone time cleaning some more terracotta for the hatchery.

    Dinner. Tonight I decide to make Gumbolya. A mix between Gumbo and Jambalaya as we didn't have enough ingrediants for one single kind. However it turned out awesome - per usual.

    Patrol. 8:30pm. On our way out to patrol we check the hatchery for the turtles in H13 (the eggs given to us from a neighbor that had already been 7weeks old at the time). We notice a crab hole was right on top of the nest, and there was a depredated turtle next to it.

     SIDE-NOTE: Depredated - A raid, also known as depredation, is a military tactic or operational warfare mission which has a specific purpose and is not normally intended to capture and hold terrain, but instead finish with the raiding force quickly retreating to a previous defended position prior to the enemy forces being able to respond in a cooordinated manner or formulate a counter-attack. In Turtle terms, that means an animal killed it.

    In hopes to find this turtle killer we start digging carefully in the crab's hole. We do not find it, but we do find a baby turtle alive and moving! Seeing this, and not the crab, we feared for the other 58+ eggs in the nest. So we started to uncover the nest. Lo and behold, we find 38 babies that were just about to breach the surface. We take these guys and release 35 of them later that night. The other 3 were a little sluggish and would be released (by me) the following early morning. We cover the nest back up and head out on patrol. It's a quiet a night. No tracks and no poachers. Maybe they know something we don't.

     Ohh yeah, by the way we did end up finding that crab. He will not be giving us any more problems.



    Lesson: 
    • Releasing baby turtles have to be one of THE coolest animal things to see!
    • Time is define on the values you give it
    • Kids just want to be loved
    • Buying a website (name) is easier than expected. Now to build something is different.


    Food: Gumbolya - Using the left over chicken, browning some sausage and whole lot of spices, veggies, rice and beans.

    Animals: Crab, Baby Turtle, Dogs, Birds


    Something I am thankful for: Availability. Just the thought of something being available. It gives whatever that "something" is meaning. Perhaps it's the idea that since "something" is available it's more tangible and realistic to obtain. On the other hand, when something not available, the meaning could be much greater and have even more of a push to want it.

    Something I don't want to admit: The people most close to me know this... but if I don't eat, I get cranky. Having the kids around the same time I was about to eat (and then not end up eating), put me in a little bit of a mood - thus the distance from the kids. Even more pathetic, I didn't want to eat in from of them, cause I didn't want to share.

    Days of Rain: 37/53
    Total Turtle Eggs I have saved: 2,155
    Total Nest I have saved: 16
    Total Nests Poached on my Patrol: 13

    P.s.  Back in day, out younger brother used to call people "crab apple" when they were being a meanie.

    Saturday, August 25, 2012

    Day 56 - Back to Back

    Date: 8/25/12

    Location: Costa de Oro, Costa Rica

    Word of the day: Dolor del paquete - Back Pain

    Turtle Fact: During long dives, blood is shunted away from tissues tolerant of low oxygen levels toward the heart, brain, and central nervous system.


    3:00am wake up. I patrol solo on foot. I walk down and back. Nada. I get back by 4:15am and prepare for the rest of day. "This early" you ask yourself? Yes. Courtney and I head out at 4:30am to Punta Coyote to help Eric with another day of Fisheries work. As we walk along the beach (very low tide) we enjoy the sun rise. You always forget how quickly the dark skies brighten at dawn. This always makes for a some picturesque skies.

    As we near the river (or pick up location) we notice a familiar site - turtle tracks. Tracks down here, in the south end? We easily find the nest and relocated it (as we were not prepared to take them back to the hatchery) a little ways away (so that poachers do not follow the original tracks to the nest). As we continue down the beach we find 3 more tracks. Unfortunately all these nests were poached. OK OK, we learned out lesson. Turtles do nest in the south of Costa de Oro.

    We arrive slightly tardy (due the eggs and tracks). Immediately a boat comes for Courtney and I and bring us to the other side of the river

    SIDENOTE: Remember that cute puppy that was at our house for the last couple of day? Well the mom had followed us down the beach towards Punta Coyote. When we found the eggs and relocated them, this dog was watching the whole time. Well to ensure this dog didn't eat the eggs, we may or may not have "egged" it on to follow us to the river banks. Once there Courtney and I jump in a boat and headed 300m upstream. Little did we know, Momma dog followed. She swam across the river, upstream. Now that is some desire for attention/love/possibility for food. For the next 1.5 hours we work with Eric.

    We end up back at the house at 8am - so much accomplished by so early of a morning. Breakfast.

    Today's project is adding a terracotta border to the walkway in the hatchery. With that said, I had locate the best of the broken pieces in a rubble pile on the side of the road (in front of our house), wash the dirt off and soak them in bleach (in order not to contaminate the hatchery). I get to this part and all the neighborhood kids stop by the house, wanting to go over their English Homework. Matt and Courtney lead the charge. It turns out that I ended up getting a Spanish lesson from them!

    Lunch. Siesta. I reorganize my room as I have been a bit of a slob and also wanted to steal the mattress from my top bunk and add a second one to my bed. NOW this is what I call soft!

    I head outside for a little project work. I add a new locking mechanism to the hatchery door. Essentially this is a piece of rubber from a used bicycle tire, that is stretch over a side of the door to keep it shut tight. I also start working on the terracotta outline with Matt in the hatchery. We didn't quite finish as we ran out of broken pieces. I shall continue this another day once I bleach more pieces.

    By this time the sun is setting and it's another beautiful view from sector 22 on Costa De Oro's Beach. I head inside and work on tonight's dinner - Spaghetti. HT Updates. Siesta.

    Patrol. I walk solo on the beach heading south on foot, while Courtney and Matt head north. During my walk I stop by the eggs we hid earlier this morning, and take them back to the hatchery. No other signs of Tracks. Sleep.

    Lesson: 
    • Rubber really is a great universal building material
    • Terracotta is fragile
    • Cheap Mattresses are thin- soft in numbers though.
    • Don't believe it till you see it


    Food: Spaghetti Pasta with Sausage - kicked up a notch with cajun pepper, soy sauce and some Italian seasonings
    Animals: Snapper, Eel, Turtle (eggs), Dogs, Crabs, Birds


    Something I am thankful for: Mattresses. Who would have imagined that a clump of hay, would evolve into a synthetic giant piece of material that makes sleeping in the worst of conditions bareable, simply because your body is comfortable.
    Something I don't want to admit: I feel like an old man. While washing the the dirt of the Terracotta pieces, I was leaning over the whole time. Well little did I know, that 45min in this position would cause so much pain 6 hours later. Sitting down and walk kills if I move in the wrong direction. I make noises only people with canes should make.


    Days of Rain: 36/52
    Total Turtle Eggs I have saved: 258
    Total Nest I have saved: 16
    Total Nests Poached on my Patrol: 13

    Friday, August 24, 2012

    Day 55 – When Nature Calls, Say Hello

    Date: 8/24/12
    Location: Costa de Oro, Costa Rica

    Word of the day: Baño - Bathroom
    Turtle Fact: SEA TURTLES ON LAND: for the most part, the only time sea turtles leave the sea is when females haul out to lay eggs. On some uninhabited or sparsely-inhabited beaches, turtles have been observed basking on land.

    8:30am wake up. I actually got to sleep in, imagine that! I immediately start working on breakfast as no one is up yet. I start making my new favorite banana pancakes with vanilla. I almost got this down to an art, where you don’t even need syrup to make these a complete meal.

    Today’s project. Outdoor “pisser”. There has been so many times, where we are outside, all sandy and have to hold our bladders until we rinse off, dry and then go in the house use the bathroom. Well I decided to do something about that. Using the scraps from landscaped coconut trees, I decided to build a 3-sided, camouflaged corral. This would provide privacy, yet views of the ocean and a convenience to the males (Matt and I) of Costa de Oro. I think it’s appropriate to use the word “manscape” do describe this new feature to our backyard.

    While keeping busy outide, I was actually cooking inside the house. I had been cooking a whole chicken (which had been season/dry rubbed over night) in a rice cooker! Several weeks ago, our only dishware that could go in the oven broke, so we have been using the oven less as a result. Well it was a good thing we did, because this Chicken turned out awesome. I shredded all the meat off of it which we plan to use for the next couple of days. Yum. But for lunch we ended up making some Asian stirfry (I picked some soy sauce up yesterday while in town). Eat.

    Siesta. Today I thought I would try a new place to nap. The Ocean. Since it was low tide at 2pm, I headed out to the beach and laid down a quarter inch of water. Oddly enough, I slept for the next 45 mins – perfect. Run. Shower.

    Prep Dinner. Tonight I decided to make Mofungo, I have been talking about this dish for a while with the housemates. Tonight was the night to make it. Two hours later, served with some AWESOME condensed chicken stock sauce, the plantain, garlic, chicken goodness was ready to be devoured! We watch some SuperBad on Netfflix for tonight’s dinner entertainment. HT Updates. Sleep.



    Lesson:
    • Everything you need, nature can provide one way or another
    • It’s about how you “do it” not, the fact that you “did it”.
    • You can cook anything in the rice cooker

    Food:  Chicken Mofungo- Originally a Dominican meal, I was first introduced this dish is Puerto Rico. Ever since I have been craving it. What place better to make it!
    Animals: Crabs, Sting Ray, Dogs, Birds

    Something I am thankful for: Rice Cooker. So simple yet so magical. How does it work? I know the WWW could easily tell me the correct answer, and I am pretty sure I have an idea… but this is one thing I want to keep oblivious too for a while longer. Ya know, enjoy the mystery of it all.
    Something I don't want to admit: I actually had no idea what I was doing building the outdoor masterpiece. However, I learned really quickly was worked and what did not. After some design changes and using the same materials in different locations it ended up working out. Now to explain what this is to the locals when they ask…

    Days of Rain: 35/51
    Total Turtle Eggs I have saved: 1,953

    Manscape

    Banana Pancakes

    Mofungo

    Thursday, August 23, 2012

    Day 54 – I Want to Ride my Bicycle

    Date: 8/23/12
    Location: Costa de Oro, Costa Rica

    Word of the day: Bicicleta - Bicycle
    Turtle Fact: Leatherbacks have high concentrations of red blood cells; therefore, their blood retains more oxygen. The muscle of leatherbacks has a high content of the oxygen-binding protein myoglobin. Myoglobin transports and stores oxygen in muscle tissue.
     
    2:30am wake up and grab a couple granola bars. Courtney and I patrol the beach all with all the “gear”. We do not see any tracks other than the one that lead to the 1 poached nest on the beach. I was sad, that there was not many on the beach, but happy that the poachers will not able to get more nests.

    5:30am, I continue to stay up and do some “nature filming” on the beach. Fun. Updates to HT. Breakfast (fresh squeezed and PB&J).

    Mid morning, Lotti arrives at the house to show us how to exhume a nest. We were going to practice on the nest that was brought to us by some locals a couple days prior.
    SIDE-NOTE: Exhumation - the act of digging something out of the ground (especially a corpse) where it has been buried. With that said, after we release the hatchlings to the ocean we wait 2 day before digging up the nest. During this time, some stragglers still are working their wat to the surface. After the 48 hours mark, the rest of the eggs are presumed as dead. So we dig up all the eggs and sand, place it in a bucket and go to the beach. During mid tide (on it's way to high tide) we go through each of the eggs and determine which stage of development they stopped growing (stage 1-3)

    After going through the nest, we determined that these little guys, where actually doing pretty well. In fact, as we were uncovering the eggs to check them out we meet a new friend. This just happened to be an eager baby turtle that had already broke through egg shell. MY FIRST BABY TURTLE – AWESOME. Just seeing this little guy excites me for the next couple of months! Since it was mid-day (and you only release babies at night or early morning) we placed him in a bucket, covered him with (a blanket of) sand and place this in the dark. More on this later…

    Lotti also brought with her a BIKE and beach cruiser! This bike was used at a different project site previously, however it was broken and waiting to be fixed. After asking about this bike (before even arriving to Costa Rica), it’s finally fixed and ready to become one awesome turtle eggs saving transportation vehicle.

    After Lotti takes off (with the puppy that has been around the house for a couple days) we have some lunch and than tidy up the house, and hatchery. The bike has been starring at me for the last couple hours… I take it out back and give it a nice wash – It’s no “Bradley” job but it will do.  Now because it was looking so clean, I had to test it out for a ride. I headed to San Francisco de Coyote (5km away). The road was much different than I remember it being a passenger inside of a car/bed of a truck. There were far more rocks and PLENTY more hills than I remember. Riding this beach cruiser in sandals... well I am not going to complain as it beats walking any day of the week – even if I had to put the popped chain back on 2x each way. Well it seems I can make it into town within 30 mins. Not too shabby. “FREE at last, free at last. Thank god all mighty I am free at last”. That’s how I felt as soon as I realized I could leave our house and ride into town.

    On the way back home, I stopped by Lotti’s house to pick up some eggs, and a saw. Back at the house, I unload the goods and enjoy a little rainy run before starting on dinner. Eat. Update HT. Patrol.

    Since it was only 3 of us tonight, we patrolled all together (Courtney, Matt and I). We walk all the way north without a single track. On the way back we come along out first track. As we follow it up the beach, we see a whole family sitting there with the turtle. To make sure were efficient on the beach, I carry on with patrol heading south. I get to the house and continue south and then back north. Still no sign of Matt and Courtney. Perfect time to test out the bike. I ride it south first, just to give it one more once over and head north. They were still with the family of poachers waiting for the turtle to nest. Apparently it had false crawled, headed back to the water and then turned around back up the beach to actually nest. Courtney tried to talk the poacher into giving us half the eggs, but it didn’t work this time. We head back to the house with no eggs tonight. Sleep


    Lesson:
    • Bikes are faster than walking
    • Baby turtles are so cute
    • Baby turtles have the largest flippers in comparison to their body

    Food:  PB&J sandwiches are totally under rated. It’s been so long since I have had one, and it tasted GREAT!
    Animals: BABY TURTLE, Crabs, dogs, Birds, Mosquitos.

    Something I am thankful for: Bicycles! It’s been a while since I have ridden a bike. Granted I have 2 at my “home” in Redondo Beach waiting for me in the garage, they do not do much good there. They are such a convenient source of transportation to local and semi local places alike. No gas required, just a little bit of energy and sweet bi-product.
    Something I don't want to admit: During the morning patrol I brought my “gear” with me. Within these turtle saving/document gadgets I have a new night vision monocular. That’s right – night vision via infrared light. Since I’m talking about his subject in this category you know it does not end too well. Lets just say, I purchased this device to see turtles, poachers and tracks in the distance on the beach, not my patrolling partners walking 5 feet away from me. FML.

    Days of Rain: 35/50
    Total Turtle Eggs I have saved: 1,953



    Wednesday, August 22, 2012

    Day 53 – Super manG

    Date: 8/22/12
    Location: Costa de Oro, Costa Rica

    Word of the day: Superhéroe – Super Hero
    Turtle Fact: Sea turtles are excellent divers. Leatherbacks routinely dive more than 305 m (1,000 ft.). They may reach depths of more than 1,190 m (3,900 ft.) seeking jellyfish for prey. 

    Wake up at 1:30am for morning patrol. Today my goal was to test out my new BRIGHT red lights; I got for myself in batch of goods that my mom brought. The idea was to set up a quick “stage” after the turtle starting making a nest so I could capture the process on film, with out trying to hold the red lights still. In addition, I put on my new black rain pants, and black long sleeve athletic shirt I got as well. Stealth. Armed with all my gear (Flashlights, GoPro, Misc Straps, Granola Bars, Headlamp) I set out on patrol with Courtney and Olivia. We go 95% of the patrol with out seeing any new tracks that the first patrol haven’t already seen. On as we approach the sector before the house, I see a turtle about 5ft away from my feet just about to exit the water. PERFECT time to set up my new gear! I get everything semi setup (I am certainly going to have to make some alterations to the attachment points) and the frickin turtle decides she does not want to nest because “there too many roots in the way” – whatever. She returns back to the ocean…

    Breakfast. HT Updates. This morning Olivia heads back to Playa San Miguel as currently Maddie is the only one holding down the fort over there. Hopefully she is able to release some baby turtles too as the first nest should be about ready.

    This morning project consist of building a shower soap rack for the out door shower. Essentially I 1) cleaned some bamboo, 2) pounded longer pieces vertically into the ground 3) cut a smaller piece of bamboo in half 4) tied the smaller piece of bamboo to the larger vertical pieces using rope from the beach. For an extra touch, I planted some plants in the tops of the vertical bamboo. So green of me.

    Lunchtime. The goal today is eat all the fish we brought home yesterday. This is the game plan, because last time, we had the fish in the fridge one too many days, in an open container. Something fishy was definitely going on in the fridge/kitchen/house. Any who – I prepare the grill for cooking. Just like before I build a big enough fire so that I am essentially cooking the fish on the coals, and not the flame. I scavenge from yard for fire starters and easily find everything I need from a palm tree. Who knew it was a one-stop shop for fire? As the fire gets going, I start to clean the fish.

    SIDE-NOTE: I love evolution. In particular I love the evolution/thought process/progression of how we do things. Naturally we are lazy and try to make everything easier for ourselves (in the end).  Well, unfortunately my father did not directly teach me how to de-scale a fish.  I just have an idea based on the random memories from previous fishing trips with friends’ families and visiting the Redondo Beach Pier. Well the last time I de-scaled a fish a couple weeks ago, I used a fork, and scrapped against the grain. Scales went flying everywhere and ants love this. Even though this worked, it created such a mess. This time, I did not want to clean up a mess. So to prevent scales from flying everywhere, I submerged the fish in water and de-scaled it with a fork. SUCCESS!

    After the fish was seasoned, grilled and deboned, it was time for dinner – Fish Tacos. Siesta. Updates to HT. Run. Play in waves. Dinner.

    After dinner I went to smack a mosquito on my back and felt a couple of bumps. I looked down and noticed my chest and arms were covered in red bumps. Me, have an allergic reaction to food? NOOOOO. It really was not that bad, however it was noticeable… In the name of science I will be trying all the spices and food from that meal again, one at a time.

    Siesta/Sleep.

    Lesson:
    • Uncooked Pasta can be used a great fighter starter wick
    • Descaling fish submerged in water makes for easy cleanup
    • When there is no Ikea or Bed Bath & Beyond close enough, just build it
    • We all have our weaknesses

    Food:  Fish Tacos – Red Snapper, guacamole, cabbage, CHEESE, home made salsa and rice.
    Animals: Fish, Birds, Dogs, Crabs

    Something I am thankful for: Universal Taste buds. I am glad my taste buds like (or have acquired the taste) for most all foods. Otherwise, I would be certainly missing out.
    Something I don't want to admit: At least once a day, I pretend I am some sort of super hero: from dressing up all in black and patrolling the beach with my fancy accessories, or body surfing a wave into shore – superman style. It’s great. It happens so naturally, and then I bring myself back to earth once I think about how I can make this a reality. Maybe one of these days. Until then I have Marvel and Capcom to keep my fantasies alive.

    Days of Rain: 34/49 – Slight sprinkle during the middle of the day
    Total Turtle Eggs I have saved: 1,953



    Tuesday, August 21, 2012

    Day 52 – Wave Me Over

    Date: 8/21/12
    Location: Costa de Oro, Costa Rica

    Word of the day: Dinosaurio - Dinosaur
    Turtle Fact: Turtles can be considered the cow of the sea… Sea turtles help to keep the sea grass well maintained. It has to be short in order for the health of various fish, crustaceans, and shellfish to thrive in their environment. Sea turtles are one of the few creatures that do this so without their numbers the entire chain reaction it can cause could reduce food sources for many other living things in the water. 

    4:30am I wake up, wash my face and scarf down a little sweet before heading out the door. Courtney and I walk south (via the dirt road in front of our house) to the river where we will me met by Eric. Today we are helping out with Pretoma’s Fisheries program. We enjoy a nice morning walk down the road, as the sun rises and lights the backside of the mountains to the east of us. We get to the river exactly at 5:30am and the boat comes to pick us up 5mins later. The 12’ boat drops us off 500m upstream where the rest of the fisherman boats are. We immediately start with the same routine… Weigh the fish, weigh the gonads, weight the fish again without gonads and stomach and measure to the fish’s length.

    After about an hour or so of getting slimmed by fish guts, and poked by fish dorsal fins we wash up and get ready for a little boat ride. Today we are also going to be taking measurements of salinity and other characteristics of water in 7 different popular fishing locations in the Pacific Ocean. All of these measurements are done by using a small computer and probe that is dropped to various depths in the ocean. During our ride, we see several turtles in the water, coming up for air. I am pretty sure I heard some of them say “thank you” as we passed by.

    As we end our data collecting for the day we head back to the river, where the boat was originally docked. However, since the tide was so far out, and the river was too shallow we had to park it on the beach. How he they parked it was very interesting… Essentially they rode on top of a large wave to the shore. This pushed the boat farther up the beach than we could have ever moved it by hand. Using a boat as a large surf board was such a surreal experience.

    SIDE-NOTE: Getting out to ocean was equally as exciting. Because of all the waves, crashing near the mouth of the river, the boat driver had to time his exit just right. Essentially, right after a wave would crash, he would charge straight ahead over the bubbles and then immediately veer parallel to the next wave. At this point in time he would race down the stretch of flat water, until there was an opening of another crashed wave and then go through the process again. All the while, Eric, was putting all his weight on the bow (front) of the boat to keep the boat from capsizing as all the weight (motor) was in the stern (back) of the boat. Who knew waves could be so tricky.

    After they beach the boat, they just leave. That’s right they just leave it. No anchors no nothing. WHHAAAT? I am thinking someone is going to come back for it before high tide…

    We jump in Eric’s Jeep like vehicle and stop by the Caletas Project site (the beach that is directly to south of us at Costa de Oro) to pick up a couple research coordinators as they are continuing on with the vehicle after Courtney and I are dropped off. As we wait for them in to walk from their site to the jeep (about 10mins) I couldn’t help but notice how similar the movie Jurassic Park was to this very moment. Outside was slightly bright, with heavy rainfall hitting the sheet of metal on the top of the vehicles roof. We struggle try to peak through our fogged up windows for our fellow mates…
    Rumor has it Steven Spielberg got his inspiration for Jurassic Park during one of his visits to Costa Rica and filmed off one of the islands around here… Cool.

    We finally get back to the house (with a bag full of fish). Lunch. Update HT. Run. More updates. Dinner. Even more updates. Siesta/Sleep.

    Lesson:
    • Fish are sharp. Moths, fins, scales and bones.
    • Inspiration comes from everywhere
    • Water is powerful
    • Caves are so mysterious

    Food:  Spanish Omelet – Potatoes, eggs, onions, peppers, cilantro and spices
    Animals: Red Snapper, Turtles (Olive Ridley), Eel, Birds, Dogs, Crabs.

    Something I am thankful for: Growing up with a boat. I am glad that I was not deprived of not “living on the water” every summer. Not everyone lives by a large body of water, let alone as boat within the family you can use on the weekends.
    Something I don't want to admit: Sometimes I’m just not a morning person… well I guess it all depends if I have a breakfast or not.


    Days of Rain: 33/48
    Total Turtle Eggs I have saved: 1,865


    Monday, August 20, 2012

    Day 51 – Don’t Turn Around

    Date: 8/20/12
    Location: Costa de Oro, Costa Rica

    Word of the day: Perrito - Puppy
    Turtle Fact: Green sea turtles can stay under water for as long as five hours even though the length of a feeding dive is usually five minutes or less. Their heart rate slows to conserve oxygen: nine minutes may elapse between heartbeats.

    Continues from the night before… 4am I head out on my morning patrol, “hahn” solo style (alone). After walking only a couple sectors I realize there is a poacher 3 sectors ahead of me. This must have been a rookie as they used their white flashlight, more than my younger brother, his first night at Boy Scouts camp. I walk at a faster pace then him and finally pass him at sector 12. At that point he turns around and heads back south. Luckily during the time that I was following him, he did not find any turtles. I continue heading north until I get to sector one, where I find a turtle just as she is walking back into the water. I speedily grab her measurements and find the eggs with ease. 88 eggs later I am walking back to hatchery to tuck them in! Afterwards I did a quick walk in the south and did come across a poached nest, that some dogs found (as there was broken eggs scattered around the opening). We broke even.

    After all the equipment was put away, I go for a morning run and was accompanied by the puppy for most the time… cute little thing. After showering, I grab some breakfast and head to the beach for a morning siesta. After waking up I work on some HT updates, clean a little house and make some lunch (flavored Rice and beans). After lunch, Matt and I pick up some trash (new daily ritual) and collect some bamboo sticks for future building projects.  All sandy and sweaty, I go play in the ocean for a bit.

    I finish off some more HT updates and go for a small run before dinner. Rinse/shower. Eat. Siesta/Nap.

    Lesson:
    • Puppies get tired easily
    • Every day the tide brings new trash
    • The morning hours of the day are really under rated for napping
    • Keep alarm clocks not within arms reach.


    Food:  Garlic/Butter biscuits. Courtney made some homemade biscuits. Yum.
    Animals: Turtle (eggs), Dogs, Crabs

    Something I am thankful for: Flavor. It turns rice and other bland foods into such savory tidbits!
    Something I don't want to admit: FML. I did it again. I slept through my slated patrol time. But this time I had set the alarm on my watch. Little did I know that I am very agile and can turn things off in my sleep. Lesson learned, keep alarm clocks not within arms reach. Don’t worry this won’t be a habit. Promise.

    Days of Rain: 32/47
    Total Turtle Eggs I have saved: 1,953




    Day 47.5 through 50.5 - Mom's Take on Costa Rica

    Date:   08/15/12 - 08/20/12
    Location: Costa de Oro, Costa Rica

    Word of the day: tranquilidad (de espíritu) - peace of mind
    Turtle Fact: Adult male sea turtles live their entire lives at sea, but females return to land—to the same beach where they were born—once every two years or so to lay their eggs, (of course let the women do all the work).

    Day 1 - I arrived in Costa Rica after midnight. As I arrive at the rental car company I realized I neglected to contact my credit card company to notify them that I was going out of the country, (big mistake #1). They find me a hotel, good thing I had US dollars. Next day, arrive back at rental car company, rented the economy car (mistake #2), small SUV and GPS would of been better choices. They ask where I am going I show them on the map and they suggest taking the shorter route via Ferry, (mistake #3), no one told me I had to cross a river and needed a SUV. Needless to say after driving 9 hours and back tracking, I spend the night in Cobano, thankfully they had WiFi. Along the way I met some of the nicest people, the fishing boat Captain who paid for my Ferry ride so I would not have to wait another 3 hours for the next one, John and Mo from San Diego, CA who I followed to Santa Theresa, 7 miles from my final destination, before that river I could not cross, not their fault they had an SUV, everyone I stopped to ask directions, whether they spoke English or not all were willing to help one way or another.

    Day 2- I wake up early to back track to the Ferry, I set a goal to see Victor by 3pm or I am going back to the USA. I found my way, arrived at the Playa San Miguel house at 3pm, Courtney directed me to Playa San Coyote and I see Victor walking down the street, I knew I was going to cry, and I did. Partly for the relief of finally arriving and mostly because it was really, really good to see my baby boy, I didn't know how much I really missed him. I get the 5 minute tour and a bonus, fresh coconut water right from a baby coconut picked from the tree, tasted just like what you get from the paper carton, but the experience was much better. We unpack the 5 bags I brought for him, he looked like he did when he was 7 on Christmas day. Drove to a place on the beach with Maddie and Wilson, to a place that makes ceviche but they were closed so we went to the bar next door, they had it, it was wonderful, Matt was there with his surf board. I drove them all back including the surf board. Victor got me a room at the Hotel Laguna Mar. Hot, hot shower and a simple dinner of  a little pudding, quesadilla, salad, ice cream  and a rum drink with a paper umbrella :-)  Time for bed.


    Day 3 - We got up early, sat on the balcony and caught up Wi-fi, breakfast was very good, rice, beans, eggs, toast, coffee and warm cake, oh so good. We went back to the house picked up Maddie, Matt and Olivia, and went to Punta Islita, for lunch and to sit by the beach. Very nice hotel, food was good, a little pricy, view was great. The girls enjoyed the pool, myself and the boys stretched out on the lawn chairs and chillaxed (Victorisim - chill/relax). That evening dinner was simple, rice, beans and a vegetable mix, all very good. Return to Laguna Mar, hot shower, and in bed by 9 pm, I think was out in 30 seconds.


    Day 4 - Up early, Facebook, email catch up, simple breakfast, fruit plate, coffee and toast, back to bed for a nap, pack and check out. Drove to San Francisco, small town north east of the beach house. Town has 2 small convenience stores and a hardware store, pretty big deal for this remote area. Victor picked up some necessities, then went to a Soda next door for lunch, fruit smoothies, beans, rice, plantains, bifsteak and salad for me, chimichanga for Victor, everything was delicious. Once we returned to the beach house we went swimming, then chillaxed watching the waves. Victor surprised us all with a Coco Loco drink he made with fresh coconuts, I got a double dose :-). Showered, dinner and went on my first Turtle patrol at 8 pm, took me almost all of half the patrol for my eyes to adjust to the darkness, 2K there, 2K back, alas we didn't spot any Turtles, by now I am tired and can only think of my travel day tomorrow.....agh! Time for bed for me.


    Day 5 - Up at 4am, wake up Victor and hit the road at 4:50 am, this time I took their advice, drove the roads they suggested, 4.5 hours later I was returning the car to the car rental. I was hoping to get on the afternoon flight to Florida but there were no seats. I sat a total of 15 hours at San Jose airport, trying not to go crazy I was so tired.

    Day 6 - My flight left on time at 1 am on Monday, I made it home to Warren at 11 am after 30 hours of traveling.

    I have to say I give Victor a huge pat on the back, giving up so much to help God's creatures takes a special person, and I am proud to say I am his Mother.

    Lesson: - Advance preparation is key. - When traveling to remote places for the first time, listen to what the locals are telling you.  - An SUV, GPS and a translation book would of been very good choices.

    Food: McDonald's (I know but I knew what I was getting), rice, beans, fish, plantains, ceviche, coconut water.
    Animals: Monkeys, lizards, geckos, insects, dogs, cats, cows, horses.      

    Something I am thankful for: My sons who like me and don't want me to stay lost in Costa Rica.
    Something I don't want to admit: I am stubborn and can do it all by myself, I can't.

    Days of Rain: 5/5
    Total Turtle Eggs I have saved: 0 :-(
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