Thursday, November 15, 2012

Day 138 - Caletas Galletas

Date: 11/15/12
Location: Costa de Oro, Costa Rica

Word of the day:Galleta - Cookie
Turtle Fact: The bad part about them is that they are color-blind.

Wake up 6:30am in my own bed. Last night I decided I was not going to waste any time and I was going to continue my adventure to the South a finish what I had begun. This time I plan on spending the night! Unfortunately Lars decided to take a pass on this trip, but promised he would join the next. So with a backpack full of gear and rations, an ear full of NPR podcast and stomach full of breakfast cereal, I start my journey.

I retrace my steps from yesterday. This time I stop and take a little footage of some of the bats and crabs along the way. Eventually I got to the spot where I had to turn around the day before and continued on with much excitement. As it turns out there was several rock shelves that needed to be climbed over in order to pass around this coastal terrain. After a good hour of doing this, the rock finally levels out to a flat surface, with many little cliffs that lead into the water (which is currently at low tide and is now proceeding to come back up). At this time, I come across a couple of free divers, whom appear to have been successful with their hunt for lobster as they are carrying a mesh sack of them over their shoulders.

Walking another 1km to south and I finally make it to the other side. Being only a 20 min walk from our Pretoma sister site, Caletas, I decide to pay them a little visit. I continue walking the down their beach which has a very large grade to it and the sand is very coarse and darker on color.

I arrive at the project site as Dani (research assisant) is preparing lunch and Sharron (research coordinator) is updating their turtle logs, and Sandra (Pretoma employee) is sunning herself on a bench. Ohhh the life. I am greeted with much joy and a little surprise. Being from Costa de Oro, some of them were slightly confused where I came from as I do not necessarily live close. After explaining my situation, I invite myself to lunch and enjoy their company. Getting close to high tide, and the afternoon sun, I decide to take a little siesta (after my 4 hour walk and a big meal). After I wake up from my hour nap in the hammock we discuss my plans for the rest of the day. Having semi-thought about spending the night here at camp (vs somewhere near the rocks I had passed earlier in the day) we discussed this option, which I agreed to do as I would be assisting with patrol an hatchery duty. For me, this was exciting as it would be a new beach, new people and new hatchery that I would be working with. Yippy.

The rest of the afternoon, we go through a couple nests and exhume them. Afterwords, we released 9 babies to ocean. One notable turtle has an issue going in circles on the beach. It wasn't that it's flippers were broken or deformed (as it went circular in both directions) it was just plane silly. All the while I film the process.

Sunset Deep Thought: Everything that is big, is big because it re-invents itself. Think of the sun. Every instant the sun is shining because the surface is constantly exploding giving off energy. If the sun was to stop this momentum, it would turn into a black hole as the gravity of the mass would suck itself in. However since it continuously is exploding (away from the center) it is able to maintain it's size. In the same respect, this is similar to all things with a long life of successful longevity.

Dinner (Spanish Omelet, fried zuchinni, garlic bread, Garbazo beans and Rice Milk. Mosquitoes - I have heard rumors that once the sun goes down, the hungry vampire mosquitoes come out. Fact. As soon as we finished our meal, we were literately swarmed by these creatures, trying to puncture any available skin they could land on. 

Patrol 7pm. I walk south with Dani. Their beach is 5.2ish km long vs our beach is 4.5km.  During the November and December months their beach has been known to be the nesting grounds of a couple Leatherback Sea Turtles. This type of sea turtle (the largest of the sea turtles and oldest living species) is the prize animal to those in the Turtle community. Unfortunately tonight was not the night we they came up, nor any other turtle for that matter.

Once we get back from patrol, my hatchery shift started, 10pm. Every half an hour, I was to check the hatchery for babies that have emerged from the sand and then release them in the stealth of the night. Unfortunately during my 2 hour shift, non decided to emerge.


Lesson: We are all here for a reason. You may not know what it is, but just know that there is a reason.

Food: Garlic Bread. Since this project site does not have an oven, they rely on frying lots items, which is the case for this bread. It made with Ingrediants (flour, salt and Garlic) and friend to perfection with a little soft gooey in the center.
Animals: Dogs, Birds, Spiders, Flies, Ants, Crabs, Mosquitoes, Turtles, Goose-neck Barnicals, starfish, variety of small fish, sea snails, Lizards.

Something I am thankful for: Visiting Friends - No matter where you are, it's great to know that when you travel, you are able to meet up with friends or people have much in common.
Something I don't want to admit: I was happy to sleep at the Caletas Project site. Sleeping alone, in a secluded area, in the wilderness semi-unknown to me was a little frightening.

Total Nest I have saved: 47
Total Nests Poached on my Patrol:45
Total Turtle Eggs I saved: 5102
Total Baby Turtles I Released: 975
Days of Rain: 87/134

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