Thursday, August 23, 2012

Day 54 – I Want to Ride my Bicycle

Date: 8/23/12
Location: Costa de Oro, Costa Rica

Word of the day: Bicicleta - Bicycle
Turtle Fact: Leatherbacks have high concentrations of red blood cells; therefore, their blood retains more oxygen. The muscle of leatherbacks has a high content of the oxygen-binding protein myoglobin. Myoglobin transports and stores oxygen in muscle tissue.
2:30am wake up and grab a couple granola bars. Courtney and I patrol the beach all with all the “gear”. We do not see any tracks other than the one that lead to the 1 poached nest on the beach. I was sad, that there was not many on the beach, but happy that the poachers will not able to get more nests.

5:30am, I continue to stay up and do some “nature filming” on the beach. Fun. Updates to HT. Breakfast (fresh squeezed and PB&J).

Mid morning, Lotti arrives at the house to show us how to exhume a nest. We were going to practice on the nest that was brought to us by some locals a couple days prior.
SIDE-NOTE: Exhumation - the act of digging something out of the ground (especially a corpse) where it has been buried. With that said, after we release the hatchlings to the ocean we wait 2 day before digging up the nest. During this time, some stragglers still are working their wat to the surface. After the 48 hours mark, the rest of the eggs are presumed as dead. So we dig up all the eggs and sand, place it in a bucket and go to the beach. During mid tide (on it's way to high tide) we go through each of the eggs and determine which stage of development they stopped growing (stage 1-3)

After going through the nest, we determined that these little guys, where actually doing pretty well. In fact, as we were uncovering the eggs to check them out we meet a new friend. This just happened to be an eager baby turtle that had already broke through egg shell. MY FIRST BABY TURTLE – AWESOME. Just seeing this little guy excites me for the next couple of months! Since it was mid-day (and you only release babies at night or early morning) we placed him in a bucket, covered him with (a blanket of) sand and place this in the dark. More on this later…

Lotti also brought with her a BIKE and beach cruiser! This bike was used at a different project site previously, however it was broken and waiting to be fixed. After asking about this bike (before even arriving to Costa Rica), it’s finally fixed and ready to become one awesome turtle eggs saving transportation vehicle.

After Lotti takes off (with the puppy that has been around the house for a couple days) we have some lunch and than tidy up the house, and hatchery. The bike has been starring at me for the last couple hours… I take it out back and give it a nice wash – It’s no “Bradley” job but it will do.  Now because it was looking so clean, I had to test it out for a ride. I headed to San Francisco de Coyote (5km away). The road was much different than I remember it being a passenger inside of a car/bed of a truck. There were far more rocks and PLENTY more hills than I remember. Riding this beach cruiser in sandals... well I am not going to complain as it beats walking any day of the week – even if I had to put the popped chain back on 2x each way. Well it seems I can make it into town within 30 mins. Not too shabby. “FREE at last, free at last. Thank god all mighty I am free at last”. That’s how I felt as soon as I realized I could leave our house and ride into town.

On the way back home, I stopped by Lotti’s house to pick up some eggs, and a saw. Back at the house, I unload the goods and enjoy a little rainy run before starting on dinner. Eat. Update HT. Patrol.

Since it was only 3 of us tonight, we patrolled all together (Courtney, Matt and I). We walk all the way north without a single track. On the way back we come along out first track. As we follow it up the beach, we see a whole family sitting there with the turtle. To make sure were efficient on the beach, I carry on with patrol heading south. I get to the house and continue south and then back north. Still no sign of Matt and Courtney. Perfect time to test out the bike. I ride it south first, just to give it one more once over and head north. They were still with the family of poachers waiting for the turtle to nest. Apparently it had false crawled, headed back to the water and then turned around back up the beach to actually nest. Courtney tried to talk the poacher into giving us half the eggs, but it didn’t work this time. We head back to the house with no eggs tonight. Sleep

  • Bikes are faster than walking
  • Baby turtles are so cute
  • Baby turtles have the largest flippers in comparison to their body

Food:  PB&J sandwiches are totally under rated. It’s been so long since I have had one, and it tasted GREAT!
Animals: BABY TURTLE, Crabs, dogs, Birds, Mosquitos.

Something I am thankful for: Bicycles! It’s been a while since I have ridden a bike. Granted I have 2 at my “home” in Redondo Beach waiting for me in the garage, they do not do much good there. They are such a convenient source of transportation to local and semi local places alike. No gas required, just a little bit of energy and sweet bi-product.
Something I don't want to admit: During the morning patrol I brought my “gear” with me. Within these turtle saving/document gadgets I have a new night vision monocular. That’s right – night vision via infrared light. Since I’m talking about his subject in this category you know it does not end too well. Lets just say, I purchased this device to see turtles, poachers and tracks in the distance on the beach, not my patrolling partners walking 5 feet away from me. FML.

Days of Rain: 35/50
Total Turtle Eggs I have saved: 1,953

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