Monday, September 3, 2012

Day 65 - Laborous Day

Date: 9/3/12
Location: Costa de Oro, Costa Rica

Word of the day: Establecimiento - Planting

6:30am wake up. I prepare myself some oatmeal, honey and granola. Today we will be helping Eric and the plant some treas near the entrance of a beach, just south of the Punta Coyote. The site was also known as the Caletas. In this area we also have a Pretoma projects site, similar to that of ours.

I begin collecting coconuts from the grounds around our house and property. I look for coconut that have one to two leaves growing out from them, but have not yet rooted out the bottom. I stockpile and good 30 of them before Eric arrives in the Pretoma Truck. Looking at the bed of the truck, he apparently was looking for coconut saplings that were at least 3 ft in height. Oh well.  Courtney and I jump in the truck and head to the site.

Once we arrive, we are greeted by the Caletas Pretoma Team, Sharon, Colin and Gustavo. Ingrid was there, but she is more of a floater, rather than a staple at that project site. The local city planner/master gardener of the area has also joined us as well. He is apparently the one who has been working on this project ever since it's conception some time ago. He measures out a piece of bamboo for measuring out the space in between the long line of the coconut trees that edge the road side. This will allow the girls to measure out the placement of the coconuts, while the guys start digging. By no means was this ground soft, or free from obstructions - fun times. We continue for the next 3 hours or so with a couple breaks in between refreshing ourselves with Iced Tea and Cookies. Before you know it, we planted all the coconuts trees we brought (besides some of the younger ones I brought from the house).

Being within a stone throw from the beach, we walk parallel to the beach 2k until we reach the Caletas campsite. WOW. This site was something out of Swiss Family Robinson. There larger tent structures (comparable to small houses) made with milled wood and plastic tarps for water replant roofs. Bathrooms tiled with beach stone and driftwood, while beach treasures decorate the exterior. Their sleeping quarters, raised several feet of the ground where very simple and rustic cabins. Beds covered in bug netting which rumor has it is the place to hang out after the sun goes down as it's the only place you can really retire to when the mosquitoes become vampires. The kitchen looks like a large mess hall, complete with large wooden tables, hammocks and weathered wooden panels that are decorated with years of graffiti from previous research assistants.

The Caletas team start preparation for lunch! What a treat, someone cooking for me! In fact what a treat for them too; Eric has bought us Meat (which I come to find out has only been the 2nd time this project site has seen meat this year) for lunch. Keeping in mind this place does not have running water, a refrigerator nor a endless supply of electricity (only enough power from ONE solar panel), they must consume all perishables, before they go to waste, as they get restocked on supplies.


We enjoy small talk and compare notes between the two sites as we enjoy our lunch (salad, rice, beans, Spam-ish hot dogs, Tico Cheese and orange juice). In talking, it appears Sharon and I have a common friend. A previous coworker of mine in Chicago, worked with Sharon in Vanuatu during her stint in the Peace Corps. What a small world.

After lunch I find a small piece of landscape on a homemade driftwood bench. I shut my eyes for the next hour and enjoy my state of being in a food coma.

I wake up and it's almost time to get picked up. I head to the beach to get a feeling for what this beach is like as I know it is a very different landscape than ours in Costa de Oro. For starters this beach has a definite incline. There is rocks that line the low tide line (bad for surfing) and the sand is very dark, brownish red hue to it. The coast line is filled with driftwood of all shapes an sizes. This naturally makes me jealous as I see so much potential of building things from them.

We gather our things and head back to the road where we were first dropped of 2km away. The east of of us is lined with a very green marsh that could only be a breading ground for mosquitoes, snakes and other things I would rather not get involved with. However behind that, there are luscious hills sides, that line the coast. Beautiful.

4pm we get picked up and head back to the Costa de Oro house. I relax in the hammock for a short period of time before grabbing a small bite for dinner. Patrol.

I patrol on the bike solo to the South, North, South and North again. During this time I came across a  turtle that nested 114 eggs and 2 tracks that had been poached. Sleep.


Lesson:
  • You can always get used to it... it just depends where you start that will determine how long it will take.

Food: Spam Franks, Salad, Rice, Beans, Hot Sauce
Animals: Lizards, Mosquitoes, Fire Ants, Turtles, Turtle Eggs

Something I am thankful for: My current housing situation. When I first sign on with Pretoma, I have really no idea that each location had a vast difference in the style of living. Granted had I started at that beach first, I probably would not be such a big baby about it.
Something I don't want to admit: As I was filming this evening (a turtle nesting) I realized I was taping over a recording earlier in the week, as I had rewound the tape in attempt to upload the video and forgot to put it back. Old video camera, yeah I know.

Total Nest I have saved: 22
Total Nests Poached on my Patrol: 17
Total Turtle Eggs I saved: 2,773
Total Baby Turtles I Released: 40
Days of Rain: 41/61

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