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


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