Saturday, November 10, 2012

Day 133 - ARR-Is-BAD-A

Date: 11/10/12
Location: Costa de Oro, Costa Rica

Word of the day: Arribada - Arrival
Turtle Fact: A Sea Turtle's body shell is made from an inner layer of scales.


Wake up 7am in the hatchery/hammock. Move to inside the house and continue sleeping. Wake up second time at 10 am. Breakfast (German version of pancakes).

Today two of our German volunteers (Chantal and Julia) are leaving us after helping us out for several weeks. However, when there ride (Erick) arrives to pick them up, it appears there is much more instore for their/our future...

As Erick arrives, he burst into the house with much excitement and yells out ARRIBADA - I don't think it really played out like this, but looking back thats how my mind warped it. An Arribada is an event that occurs naturally in nature, where thousands of turtles come up to the same beach to lay their eggs through the coarse of 24-48 hours. It just so happened that at one of Pretoma's protected beaches (Corzalito - about 10K north of Costa de Oro) this event is currently happening.
Within a matter of minutes, everyone in our house (including the Germans with all their luggage) is out the door and piled into the Pretoma Pick-up. After a 20min car ride (which I remember taking much longer and bumpier in my mothers rental when she visited) standing up in the back of a pickup truck, weaving up and down the hilly terrain we arrive at the beach.

Upon first glimpse of the beach we see only a couple turtles traversing the beach to and from the ocean. You call this an Arribada? Slightly disappointed, I take it for what it is worth and walk the beach checking out the turtles that are nesting in day lights (as normally I have only seen turtles nest in the dark). As the story goes, last night was when all the action took place. Apparently there was over 1300 turtles that came of over the coarse of 12 hours and in span of 800m (which would be about 8 sectors of our beach - very small area). We spend the next hour or so at the beach, observing and the turtles do their things. Overall I believe I saw about 10 different turtles in that time span come up to the beach. Right as we were about to leave, the sand was so hot the turtles were literally running on the beach, stop and balance themselves on their bottom shell by lefting all 4 flippers into the air. I could not believe the sand was so hot, even the turtles reacted! It is so unique seeing animals do something they normally do not do - case in point.

We head back to the house as people had places to be, buses to catch and meetings to attend. Booo. However there is a chance some of us will be able to come back this afternoon/tonight to help gather more data when the next round of turtles start to come up.

Lunch (pasta salad). Siesta. Swim. Prep Grill. Run. Release babies (3). Swim. Shower. Light grill. Cook.

For dinner we are having hamburgers, mashed potatoes and salad. Having prepped the grill earlier, all I had to do was feed it some longs every 10 mins until we had enough coals to make us a nice heat source. Eat. Goodness (#America).

After dinner I am reunited with my technology parter - my green Mac Book Pro! As you may recall this little guy decided not to turn on during my Visa Run (no foul play was involved). So I decided to send it back with Alison to the States (Chicago) to get it fixed (under warranty) and then devise a plan to get it shipped back. Well a little under a month of not having it - it's back. For all of you reading this, means my social media (pics, video and other creative weirdness) is back on track as I am looking to finish this project strong (about a month left to go). Needless to say, I spent most the night catching up on picture upload and updating the HelpingTurtles site.

Meanwhile, I sat next to the window, in the house listening for anything suspicious coming from the hatchery. Coupled with hourly walks (computer breaks) and a little bit of coffee I had a successful night of protecting the hatchery and catching up.

Retire to hatchery for sleep at 4:30am.

Lesson: When it's too good to be true... it probably is.

Food: Hamburgers. Courtney did a great job, seasoning and making grillable meat patties (stuffed with cheese. The final product layered in a homemade hamburger role, was a perfect pair.
 
Animals: TURTLES, Monkeys, Dogs, Birds, Spiders, flies, Ants, Crabs

Something I am thankful for: Seeing this Arribada. Only occuring in a handful of places around the world, only a couple times a year, I am so glad to have witnessed even a portion of this event!

Something I don't want to admit: I didn't press record. So being the GoPro videographer I am, I had so me "sick" footage of turtles walking up on the beach, digging their hole, laying their eggs and covering up their nest. UNFORTUNATELY... I pressed the wrong button and didn't capture any of it. FML x2

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: 966
Days of Rain: 83/129 - No Rain

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