Friday, July 20, 2012

Day 20 - Float On

Date: 7/20/12
Location: Playa San Miguel, Costa Rica

Word of the day: Corte - Cut
Turtle Fact: The turtle spine is fused to the top shell (carapace). In other words you just can’t take of a turtle’s shell and think it would walk around naked.

 5:15am I walk back from morning patrol (we did not find anything). I dedicate my morning to updating some pictures and journal. Feeling energized I start one of my pet projects: building a floatation raft. Technically I am building this for Lauren (as we are celebrating her Birthday tonight) and I am giving this to her as a birthday present (she loves to float in the ocean). However, I am also using this as a rough draft for Costa de Oro, when I build something awesome.

I start off by combing the beach for Bamboo drift wood. I can’t say that I have seen much of it growing along the coast, but there is certainly a lot of if washing up on the beach. I only go for the longer pieces. I take them and split them in half using my battle-axe. Next I gather pieces of rope I had collected throughout the last couple days on the beach and tie them together to make one really long piece of rope. I situate the bamboo in such a fashion that two of the largest bamboo roods run the length of the raft and will be the main support. Next I cut and lay pieces of smaller bamboo the width of the raft 2.5ft all the way down as the “bed”. I then use the rope and weave the “bed” bamboo tight against the main support bamboo. Once completed, I flip the raft on its the backside and create a little pouch where 3 coconuts can sit and be used as the main source of floatation. I do this where the head and footboard would be. VOILA – a Bamboo/Coconut Floating raft, all made from recycled beach material.

Lunch. After lunch we gain another group of volunteers: A family, and 4 students from another organization. Matt and I listen in on the orientation speech, knowing that in the near future we will be taking over these sessions while at Costa de Oro. After the grand tour we end up at the hatchery where conversations go on and on about all aspects of our work in San Miguel.

The rest of the crew just happens to be at the beach (near the hatchery) while we finish our tour. This was a perfect time to give Lauren her present. With a storm closely approaching, I bring the raft to the beach (previously disguised as a new elaborate hatchery door) for the presentation. All of us (including me) wanted to see this baby in action, as I have not actually tested it out just yet. Since Lauren was already showered, I gracefully accepted being the first to try out the raft. A little heavy on land, but once in the water – floated liked the Mayflower herself. Then came the storm with the big waves and I brought it in to ensure this raft lived another day for Lauren to use. SUCCESS!
Dinner. Patrol.

Matt, Courtney and I patrol the beach at 7pm – 9pm. Other than some fake poacher tracks – nothing to be found. After patrol, Matt and I join the rest of the gang at the Flying Scorpion for a birthday celebration. We have a couple cocktails, play a game of beer pong (America/MSU represent) and head back to the house before midnight. Sleep.

  • Beer Pong is an internationally known competitive alternative sport
  • Bamboo is really hollow on the inside
  • Coconuts are extremely buoyant
  • If you unravel a standard rope, you can certainly make a much longer rope using the braids

Food:  Ceviche
Animals: Crabs, Dogs, and Mosquitos

Something I am thankful for: Living in the 21st century. If I had lived long ago, I am sure I would have been some sort of Da’Vinci. However, since I am not and many simplistic engineering feats have been already discovered and proven truthful, this gives me time and a stronger set of tools to create something more unique/awesome/simplistic.
Something I don't want to admit: Since I am using a battle-axe to shop bamboo, it’s really not the cleanest cut. With that said, the ends were a great place to get slivers. After my test run with the raft, I spent some time in the bathroom with the tweezers removing the imperfections of my creation.

Days of Rain: 8/17
Total Turtle Eggs I have saved: 258

The complete raft



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