Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Day 130 - Suck It Up

Date: 11/7/12
Location: Costa de Oro, Costa Rica

Word of the day: alacran - scopion
Turtle Fact: The Green Sea Turtle is a fairly large species with a length of about five and a half feet and weighing up to 400 pounds.

Wake up 8am in my own bed (yes!). Breakfast (cereal). Rake beach. Starighten up house before boss arrives. Lotti (boss) arrives. Check out status if hatchery and like around in a couple nests - babies! However, they are just poking their head out of the shell, so we still have a couple more days before they are all ready to climb to the surface. Boss leaves.

Pick up piles on beach. Pick, cut, clean, tuner coconut and prepare coconut for tonight's meal in a teaching session with Lars an Estelle (newer volunteers). Lunch (fried rice). Walk in afternoon rain to collect trash and driftwood on beach.

Fish with Hernaldo. This is my first time fishing with him. Only speaking Spanish,  I feel he is the only Costa Rican I understand almost 90%. Perhaps it is the smaller vocabulary he uses with me, I don't know. Regardless, one of the things he teaches  me today is how to catch the bait we use for fishing called mar alacran (translation for water scorpion) This little creature resembles a mix of a scorpion and a shrimp and is found several inches below the sandy surface. The way to spot these creatures it to look for an open hole in the sand far out into the ocean, while the tide is at its lowest. Using a home made contraption (long PVC pipe with a small  plunger in the center of it) we find a hole and stick the pipe on top of it. Very quickly, you pull the plunged through the PVC tube, creating a suction in the sand and sucking up a good 8 inches if sand in the tube. Immediately after, you push the plunger back through the PVC, ejecting all its contents into the top if the surface. Voila- squirming around is this 3 inch creature. Picking it up quickly his bare hands, he places it into he mouth of a 20oz used coca-cola bottle with the other bait and continues to walk the beach for more bait.

We walk from the house to the the estuary (sector 1 - 2 km away) looking for bait, before starting to fish. I end up catching a small corbina (white sea bass) which ends up being used for bait (for a larger fish). After being unsuccessful in this area and the rain approaching, we walk back to our beach (still searching for more bait). Upon arriving we see a crowd if people about to release 5 babies. Yay!

Dinner (coconut curry noodles with veggies). Siesta. updates. Hatchery. Hammock. Netflix.

Sleep 5am.

Lesson: The bigger the bait the bigger the fish.
Food: Coconut curry sauces with sauteed veggies, poured over some Asian flavored noodles.
Animals: Dogs, Birds, Corbina fish, alacran, baby turtles, spiders, flying ants

Something I am thankful for: Passing down of information. Now a days most things are learned in a txt book, YouTube video or TV show. Not too often I'd there a chance to learn first hand how to, especially with a native that depends on this skill as a food resource rather than a hobby.
Something I don't want to admit:  I suck at sucking. There was not that many water scorpions along the beach. However, when we did find one, we took turns sucking it out of the sand. When it was my turn through, I clearly was not quick enough, use enough muscled nor apply enough pressure to the ground to create such a seal to suck it up. By the end though I was able to get a couple.

(Hatchery Patrol)
Total Nest I have saved: 47
Total Nests Poached on my Patrol:45
Total Turtle Eggs I saved: 5102
Total Baby Turtles I Released: 960
Days of Rain: 83/126


  1. Scorpions.... make me shudder. Hopefully they don't sting with deadly accuracy like the ones in Texas!

    1. Luckily these water scorpions are harmless to us humans - no worries here!