Monday, August 27, 2012

Day 58 - Why Don't you Cry About It

Date: 8/27/12

Location: Costa de Oro, Costa Rica

Word of the day: Libertar - Set Free

Turtle Fact: Like other marine reptiles and seabirds, sea turtles have a salt gland to rid their bodies of excess salt. This gland empties into the sea turtles' eyes. The secretion of salt and fluid makes them look as if they are "crying" when they come ashore. These "tears" also help keep the eyes free of sand while females dig their nests.


3am wake up. I get ready and head out for a solo bike patrol by 3:30am. Nada I get back to the house around 5am, grab a snack and head out to the beach to release the 3 remaining baby turtles from the night before as they were not "awake" enough to make the jog, from the beach to the ocean.

SIDENOTE: We release the baby turtles about 10 meters from the water. We do this (rather than just setting the babies in the water to swim away) so that the babies develop some sort of land motor skills before they (or at least half of them - female) return to the beach some 12 years later. Keep in mind, most of our procedures are done with the thought that we are not trying to interfere with natures natural processes.

I release the 3 turtles one a time, each getting their personal photo shoot, with the dawn skies as a backdrop. Awesome.

I head back inside to work HT.com and get some breakfast. Speaking of which, my new favorite is Oatmeal. This used to be a regular staple for me, back in the concrete jungle of Chicago - so perhaps it's just the nostalgia that tastes good.

10am Lotti stops by the house. She is here today to show us how to exhume the nest (for a second time; the first time the eggs where not ready). We start to unearth the remainder of the nest. In the process we uncover one more live turtle that will be released later tonight. While digging up nest, we first fill a bucket with the top layer of sand that surrounds the nest and dump this on the beach. The second round, we collect all the eggs in the nest, place them in a bucket and head to the beach. This time, we go through each egg count/verify how many hatched. The ones that didn't we determine at what stage (1-3) the turtle stopped developing. We also try to determine the cause of death (Insects, Crabs, Birth defect, etc) by looking through the egg for signs of abnormalities and foreign objects.

Once this information has been collected we dig the eggs into the sand, where the tide will soon cover within the next couple of hours and start the natural process of recycling them (most likely insects and other marine animals will eat them). After that is done, we head back to the hatchery for a 3rd trip and dig out the remaining sand in the immediate area of the nest, in hopes to not infect the next nest that goes in that plot. This plot will remain "open" for the next 48 hours so the sand can breathe, before we fill it back in from new sand on the beach. And that my friend probably has to be the worst thing I do... make sure to check out the photos.

Lunch. Siesta on the beach (aka I have been in Costa Rica for almost 2 months and still do not have a tan). Afterwards I finish my little terracotta project in the hatchery. With the left over pieces I start on a little terracotta patio/walkway starting at the entrance (outside) of the hatchery. I think it was those ancient Greek & Roman genes kicking in that wanted me to continue...

I head out for a little bike ride into Coyote in hopes to get a new replacement valve for the bike. Essentially what has been happening is every 4K that you ride, the back tire needs to be inflated. Matt and I determined it was a faulty valve. Once I get into town, I get the replacement, pump it up and celebrate my victory with an ice cream. I ride back (5k) to the house.

SIDE-NOTE: In the US I do not eat sweets. They just don't appeal to me on a daily basis. However anytime I travel abroad, I get that sweet tooth. Perhaps I make an excuse for myself - you need to taste the world, experience different flavors and mixtures. But when it comes down to it, it's the unique packaging and pictures that get me - Marketing :)

Before I get back to the house the back tire goes flat. FML. Now I'm convinced there has to be something in between the tire and the tube. To be continued later (when I acquire a wrench).

Once I get back to the house, I relax and work a little more on HT.com. At this point in time Matt and Courtney head out for bit. Mean while, the neighborhood kids are playing some soccer in the backyard. Per usual all the windows and doors are open in the house in order to get circulation. The kids also see this as an invitation to hangout with me... An hour and half goes by and I basically babysitting these kids and communicating via sharrads due to the slight language barrier we both have. After they finally get bored with me they take off... just in time for Matt and Courtney to get back. Figures.

Dinner. HT updates. Siesta. Patrol. We release the remaining turtle from the nest and start our Patrol. I head north with Courtney. Nada. Sleep.



Lesson: 
  • Making hypothesis and testing them out is one hell of a scientific method when you apply it to traveling
  • Flies (and eventually maggets) can get into anything
  • Carmel Icecream melts quick and makes an ever quicker mess
  • If you build it they will not come may be true - you just have to wait longer.


Food: Scalloped Potatoes - I made a solid attempt of making one of favorite dishes from Joseph's Catering. Thinly sliced Potatoes, milk, butter and cheese. You can't go wrong.

Animals: Baby Turtles, Crabs, Jellyfish, Dogs






Something I am thankful for: Nostalgia. Now known as Facebook and formally known as photographs this feeling brings you to a place where you remember good time (or at least it does for me). It's easier to travel and you spend less money (most the time) using this method to take you back in time for a brief moment.
Something I don't want to admit: I may or may not have gone into town for another reason that (you) the reader can know about for now...

Days of Rain: 37/54
Total Turtle Eggs I have saved: 2,155
Total Nest I have saved: 16
Total Nests Poached on my Patrol: 13
Total Baby Turtles I Released: 40

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