Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Day 74 - Whale of a Time

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

Word of the day: Ballena - Whale

6am wake. I hear a cell phone ringing from the other room. Eric has invited us to join him on the boat today to collect salinity (salt) data from the ocean as well as test out a new GPS/Fish Finder he has acquired. We grab a bowl of cereal and and get out the door by 7:30am and walk down to Punta Coyote at the South end of our beach.

Before you know it we are in the boat and out in the Pacific Ocean. Today in the boat is Eric, Ingrid, Courtney, the captain and I as Matt jumped out of the boat with his surfboard near the point in order to catch some waves breaks. As we head out to our first position, Eric shouts something about a big wave... Instantly I am thinking a tidal wave is approaching from some oceanic quake. However the look on his face was not that of fear, but happiness and excitement. Upon listening closer, he shouted the words 'humpback whale'. Awesome. The boat driver heads off into that direction as I start fumbling for my video camera. We circle around the back side of a Mother and baby whale, impressive in size, as they are tail slapping the surface of the water. I believe this is a form of non verbal communication if my Nat Geo memory serves me correct. As they are continually swimming north, they often jump out of the water and land on their back - just like the insurance/financial logo you often see on TV. This was neat to see in person. I can't say this is my first time ever seeing a wild humpback whale, but it is certainly the closest I have every been.

After a good 30mins in awe of these creatures, we actually get to our spot and start our work. Eric and Courtney take measurements of the salinaty and record the data. All the while, I am playing with the new technology (which I am good at) and taking down coordinates of each site, and inputting them into Fish/depth finder. I soon learn that the purpose of this device is to map the bottom of the ocean in the area. Knowing that with this technology, this project will take several years to finish, Eric wanted to start sooner rather than later. We proceed to head to 5 more locations before heading back in. During our trip we end up seeing MASSIVE pieces of drift wood (which looked more like trees floating) and turtles every now and then popping up out of the water to get some air. At 12:30om we get dropped of at the beach and walk back in the HOT sun.

Lunch (leftovers). I chillax for the next hour or so catching up on a little Netflix (Madmen). Thougths already on dinner, I easily convince Matt and Courtney to have Calzones. In preparation I make the dough. Knowing that this house has not been able to make dough actually rise (just yet), I make my 2nd attempt at making bread. As mentioned before, this is not one of strong suites, as baking you need to measure precisely. I make the dough and let it see... we shall see what happens.

I head outside and continue the new daily ritual: gather beach trash, mangrove seedlings and remove large pieces of wood from our beach. Run. Shower. Sunset. I always enjoy a good sunset. Living in Chicago, I enjoyed the sunrise during my bike ride to work. In Redondo Beach I would drag the roommates out (1 block to the beach) with a glass of wine. It's just something about them. They are very scientific, Artistic and entertaining all at the same time. Now perhaps I am a becoming a bit of a sunset snob, but when the bugs are out and the sunset is not all that great, I retreat back indoors. This was not one of those nights.

After the sun melted away, we headed back inside and started preparations for dinner. YES, the dough did rise. This is going to be awesome, I already know it. I flatten out the dough, and proceed to make a huge calzone filled with cooked sausage, sauteed onion, red pepper, garlic and sauce (we don't have any cheese). After backing it for a good about of time, I take it out of the hot oven. Perfection. This has certainly inspired me to practice in the art of flour, yeast and backing powder.

Patrol. 8:30pm I walk solo to the south. Nada. However, I did get to start a new "book"; Call of the Wild by Jack London. Great story thus far as I am imagining my cousin's dog, Blue, as the main character.


  • Technology makes so many advances, but then sets you back sooo much in order to catch up
  • Whole trees can float
  • Viewing the coast from the ocean looks so different than you would imagine

Food: Calzone. Stuffed with cooked sausage, sauteed onion, red pepper, garlic and sauce. SOOO good.
Animals: Humpback whales, Crabs, Dogs, Birds, Turtle

Something I am thankful for: Boats. With wide open roads and fairly decent weather you can go in any direction you want (where there is water). You are able keep dry, and effortlessly be transported from one place to another. Not to mention see animals in person you would have never seen if you never left land.

Something I don't want to admit: I almost got sea sick. Starring at a small, dim screen, focusing on small numbers and dots on a map combined with a emptying stomach and sun, I could start to feel my body loose it's internal composition. Priding myself on my nautical stamina, today was not a prime example.

Total Nest I have saved: 26
Total Nests Poached on my Patrol: 21
Total Turtle Eggs I saved: 3,127
Total Baby Turtles I Released: 40
Days of Rain: 46/70

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