Friday, August 10, 2012

Day 41 – Putting Your Heart and Sole Into It

Date: 8/10/12
Location: Costa de Oro, Costa Rica

Word of the day: El Comenzar – The Beginning
Turtle Fact:  The blood of hibernating turtles acts somewhat like antifreeze, allowing it to tolerate cold temperatures.

4:15am wake up. Due to the heavy rain last night, we thought we would go for an early morning walk. Since the Hatchery was technically completed yesterday, we were pretty eager to the first nest into the hatchery. Patrol. Courtney and I head North, as Matt goes solo and heads south. As we near Sector #1 (the north end of our beach) we notice a poacher with dogs is looking around in the brush. As we approach the area, we notice that there was some turtle tracks leading up to where the poacher now stood – OHH NOOOOO. We approach the poacher very cautiously with a warm “Hola, buenos días”. We ask if he found the eggs the eggs… Five seconds later he gets on his knees and starts digging. Eggs found. At this point I am not sure what to expect, as there was some awkward silence. Courtney observes the poacher taking the eggs out of the nest, as I start recording the turtle track information. After that was all said and done I walk back to them, where the poacher is still pulling out the eggs. After he pulls out the last of the eggs he asks us for our bag. WHAT!? At this point Courtney starts the dialog (in Spanish) and confirms that he is giving us all the eggs in this nest. AWESOME! Courtney chats with the individual for a little bit longer and finds out that he is not from the area… however, I feel l have seen his dogs before. Regardless – we got our first eggs for the Costa de Oro Hatchery! Let the documentation begin!

SIDENOTE: Like we saw the first morning I was in San Miguel (I walked in on a poacher uncovering a turtle nest) it is believed that the poachers are more than willing to give us the turtle eggs because they have been sitting for so long (more than 5 hours) and the fact that the beach was already (or within a couple hours) so they can stop the “growing” process in the egg in order for the eggs to be of quality tasting.

On our walk back we notice a local placing a Boa Constrictor (dead) in the ocean. Apparently it’s common for these snakes to be pests, as this specific creature was eating this Tico’s chickens.

SIDENOTE: Once upon a time, I at water snake in Vietnam. It was prepared like ground beef for taco’s but obviously served over rice. For whatever reason, seeing this Boa really made me crave some snake meat – this though will be continued at some other point in time!
We walk back to the house and wake up the rest of the volunteers (5:45am) so we can all celebrate the burial of the eggs! After a little photo shoot, Courtney does the honors of “laying them to rest”. One hundred eggs to start us off!

Breakfast. Updates to HelpingTurtles. Clean house. Lunch. Beach.

Around 3pm the house comes back to life. I work on finishing up the hinges on the hatchery door and the rest of the team finished putting in the twine lines in the hatchery to section off the plots for the individual nests. Now it looks like a completed Hatchery. All we need now is some “decoration”. Perhaps down the road we will find, paint and hang a large driftwood sign, and perhaps some stencil work on the outside of the hatchery. Dinner.

Patrol. 8pm Courtney, Laura and I head South on the beach through the rain. We do not see any tracks.

After we get back from patrol I continue to work on a little HelpingTurtles side project fro the next 10hours. No sleep. It reminded me of my college days, cramming for a test. Thank you 5Hour Energy Drink, Water and un-ripened mango's for keeping me up!


Lesson:
  • It never hurts to double check
  • Fake it till you make it
  • Some Innovations happen by mistake

Food:  Lentil soup
Animals: Turtle (eggs), Crabs, Dog, Snake

Something I am thankful for: Accomplishments. It’s a great feeling to actually see your accomplishments come to fruition.
Something I don't want to admit: I faked it till I made it. With the hatchery door, I wasn;t exactly sure what was the best way to make this work. I consulted Google, but she was not that much help. I know that at the other beach (Playa San Miguel) they used the rubber soles of some sandals, but I was not impressed with the functionality once so over. I wanted this hatchery to not only look good, but work good as well. Staring at the door and where the hinge would do I ponder for a long while about everything I know (“engineeringly”) about how doors work, gravity, friction and pivotal points. Knowing that the bamboo was hollow and running verticle, I figured this would be a great place to use for a pivoting point, when sticking a firm piece of straight wood (like a washed up wooden handle to a shovel) into the ground and then placing the hollow vertical bamboo on top of it. VOILA! I did it! Problem solved! Make sure to check out the pictures for the play-by-play process.

Days of Rain: 23/37
Total Turtle Eggs I have saved: 830


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