Monday, July 16, 2012

Day 16 - Old Mother Hubbard

Date: 7/16/12 
Location: Playa San Miguel, Costa Rica 

Word of the day: Viejo - Old
Turtle Fact: Male turtles have claw like nails on the back side of their front flippers. These are used to grasp on to a female turtle when copulating in the ocean (having sex in the water bed). These claws will either grasp into a females shoulders or ridge of the shell 

6:30am wake up. In hopes to continue the trend (which started yesterday) I head out to the beach for a little walk. I find some treasures along the way, including a large bucket (which I am sure will come in handy in the future). At this point I have decided to do a couple creative project using the "treasures" I find on the beach - but I am not sure what that is yet. During my walk I encounter a strange turtle track heading up the beach. The tracks where very small and did not look like the others I have seen. I come to find out that this was a false trail that someone (most likely) poachers had made last night. This was actually discovered and confirmed by the patrol that had that section of the beach the night before.

I continue down the beach and find a legit turtle track this time! I get very excited - what are the chances that in 3 days I find 3 nests? Well maybe later in the season, but not this early. I continue up the beach and find the turtles nesting grounds. You can see a couple of the places where the turtle attempted to make a nest, but did not finish. Well it appears that this gal gave up for the night. I have one of the girl double check the nest just to make sure I wasn't out smarted by the turtle. The call remains the same : aborted nest.

I head back to the house and prepare breakfast for the crew. SIDENOTE: Generally the first 3 hour patrol of the night (early patrol, starts at 9 or 10pm) has breakfast duties the following morning, in order to give the second 3 hour patrol (late patrol starts at 1 or 2am) a chance to get some extra sleep in, in the morning.

For breakfast, I prepare the juice of 8 coconuts and the meat (nut) of only 2 of them. I first crack them all open and drain them into a pitcher, later I run them through a strainer to remove a little bit of the same and coconut fur that may have gotten in there from the poor. As of right now I am using my battle axe (a great Steep and Cheap purchase) to open the coconut as we currently do not have a machete.

I learn that today we are having two new volunteers join us for the next 3 weeks. With that said, I straighten up our (Matt and I) room for the two new guests. Lunch.

After lunch the new volunteers arrive. They are two German girls that just got out of high school (but equivalent to Sophomores in college so I have learned). They both speak broken English and Spanish, but very understandable and apparently love Justin Bieber. After they get settled in, I join the "volunteer" talk that I received a couple days prior. At this point in time I realized that everything I am about to do, could be easily related to Marketing Werks (the marketing company I used to work for in Chicago) in relation to how things are run and the process that occur. Right now, we are going through the training portion before we "hit the road" or go to the other beach to start our own project. The rest of the afternoon we work on a couple of other chores and enjoy the ocean.

The evening portion mimics that of yesterday - Run, shower, eat, nap, patrol.

During this patrol, Matt and I joined Maddie on the south end of the beach. Usually patrol will take about four lengths of 1/2 the beach. Well on our last length back we came across an older Olive Ridley Turtle in the process of digging out her nest. She started nesting only half way up the beach, near the water line. This was already a sign that things are not as they should. As we watch the turtle dig, we notice her back left fin is not working as it should. She would physically go through the motion of scooping out sand, and toss it behind her, but the fact is, her fin was not even touch the sand most of the time. Luckily her right fin was working just fine. All in all she digs the hole, just fine however much shallower than usual and laid 96 eggs. Upon looking over the turtle we notice circular notches symmetrical to each other on either side of her shell. We conclude that this was either a males claws or perhaps some kind of band that was around her at a younger age (like a growth around a tire when placed around a small tree, and the tree grows up to be very large with a small belt like indentation).

We walk back to the hatchery with only a couple minutes left on our patrol and place the turtle eggs in a standard size hole (as this mother was clearly disabled) in hopes to produce a higher percentage of success rate for the hatch lings in 8 weeks.

* I would have taken pictures to show whats going on, but I don't have the proper technology yet. I have to either 1) get a bunch of red lights to illuminate the area 2) purchase a lens for my GoPro that makes it use Infrared Light to record, with the use of Infrared lights or 3)Get my hands on a camcorder that has night vision on it. However all of these options have a nice price tag on them - MAKE SURE TO DONATE (get a postcard, adopt a turtle or "visit" me in CR)

Lesson:
  • Use not abuse
  • Garbage travel to/from everywhere
  • So much opportunity with anywhere you go. You just have to notice/realize it.

Food: Plaintains and Beets
Animals: Olive Ridley Sea Turtle, Crabs 

Something I am thankful for: Being born without complications (if any that I know of) 
Something I don't want to admit: When then Germans arrived we showed them out room where they would be staying. As of right now, Matt and I have the bottom bunks (only 2 bunk beds in the room). They had made a comment in broken English how it would be kind of hard to get up to the top bunk to sleep (keep in mind, these girls are younger and in good shape). I believe that comment was a sign for us to switch with the girls, but I ignored it as all my stuff (bug net, sheets, personal items) were already made and settled into living in the bottom bunk. I know I know, "dick move" - but I am pulling rank on this one.  

Days of Rain: 6/13 
Total Turtle Eggs I have saved: 258

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