Sunday, August 19, 2012

Day 50 – Chasing a Dream

Date: 8/19/12
Location: Costa de Oro, Costa Rica

Word of the day: Adiós - Goodbye
Turtle Fact: What sea turtles eat depends on the subspecies, but some common items include jellyfish, seaweed, crabs, shrimp, sponges, snails, algae and mollusks.

4:30 am I wake up to a kiss on the forehead from Mom, just like the last time I slept in a bunk bed 17 years ago (I currently sleep one now). I wash up really quick, help my mom take her things to the car. I give the little red Yaris and rinse with the hose (hope that the car rental company takes it easy on her, when she returns it). We say our goodbyes and off she goes. I gave her my suggested route again, and she seem like this time she will take the advice. It was really really nice spending time with her. It’s funny how no matter how old you get, you can easily slip into that mother-son mentality as soon as your mom comes around. It must be the sense of protection and love that just makes you act like you did so many years ago (but then again that could be just me, and to be honest I still act the same). However, after she left, the walls go right back up and remember that I’m Costa Rica, living a semi-rustic lifestyle, saving the lives of turtles from the bad bad poachers (and other potential predators). Game On.

As soon as she takes off from eye sight, I run back into the house, get my things for patrol and run down the beach. I was technically supposed to walk with Maddie this morning, but I didn’t wake in time (phones/alarm broke) and plus I had to say goodbye to Mom. So I thought I catch up to her on the beach so that I would not miss any of the action. As I run ¾ down the beach, I start to notice a second set of foot prints next to Maddie’s foot prints – she is with someone else.

SIDENOTE: One thing that I am certainly going to take away from this experience is becoming a skilled tracker. I have learned/learning/studying how to track people and animals using their foot prints and surrounding environment. It’s all about the placement of the steps, where they are going, where they are coming from, the distance in between steps, how deep it is, what marking/prints are around their prints and what angle the feet are pointing. Awesome.

As I near the end of the beach, I see a set of turtle tracks that split Maddie and Wilson (that’s who the 2nd set of footprints were) and I in half. Excited to see her during the dawn light, I shout with excitement. Little did I know that up that track, was some poachers waiting for the turtle to nest. Opps – I thought Maddie had already got the eggs from the nest, based on all the footprints around the tracks. Well prior to me arriving, Maddie had already encountered the turtle with poachers and decided to check the rest of the north to make sure they didn’t miss any more. Regardless, we take the turtles information and go on our way. P.s. the best part of this is that the turtle ended up make a false crawl (did not lay eggs) and headed back to the ocean, leaving the poachers sad (or at least I would think so).

Breakfast. Updates to Helping Turtles. Pick up and clean house and hatchery. Lunch.

At this point in time Maddie and Courtney switched houses. An hour or so, after the switch someone stops by the house with a bucket full of turtle eggs, that are 95% developed (stage 3). Unfortunately this family’s dog found and dug them up. Luckily they did the right thing and brought them to use. In the process of the dogs digging them up, they did happen to open a couple of eggs – unfortunately these guys did not make it. HOWEVER, this gave me a little insight, on what these late embryos look like. Minus all the placenta and fluid, they looked sooo cute. I can’t wait till we start releasing these little guys on a daily basis. With that said, it looks like we are going to be releasing our own set of turtles within the next week!

Birth – A mother and baby dog stopped by our house this afternoon to say “hi”. Since we are not allowed to have dogs here, we generally show them little compassion and absolutely do not feed them. Well, trying not to pay attention to this cute little pup was pretty hard for most of us. I think everyone showed it 30 secs of love when, the everyone else was not looking. After a couple hours of hanging around, the mother all of a sudden ditches, leaving the pup. Needless to say, the puppy ended up sleeping outside our door the whole night.

Siesta. Run. Dinner. Sunset – It was beautiful this evening.

Death - We are informed this evening that Ready (Pretoma - San Miguel’s local semi-resident dog) was hit by a car this evening, as it was chasing it down the road. Rest in peace little guy.

Siesta #2. I wake up at 1am, catch up on my new super secret project in regards to HelpingTurtles, for the next 4 hours until my patrol at 4am. Next day begins…

  • You never know what you have till it’s gone
  • A cute face goes a long way
  • Providing Food still trumps most emotions
Food: Rice and Beans
Animals: Turtle Eggs, Puppy Dogs, Crabs Skunk

Something I am thankful for: Circle of Life. Being able to look forward to what’s next but a the same time, knowing that it all has an ending. Respect the circle
Something I don't want to admit: I am horrible with emotions. Those closest to me know, and suffer through this fact. This evening when we got word of Ready’s death was a prime example of this trait.

Days of Rain: 31/46
Total Turtle Eggs I have saved: 1,865

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