Friday, November 16, 2012

Day 139 - Butterfly (Magic) Mike

Date: 11/16/12
Location: Costa de Oro, Costa Rica

Word of the day: mariposa - butterfly
Turtle Fact: The Leatherback Sea Turtle has no scales in their shell. They have rubbery fibers instead.

Wake up 5am. I get poured a small cup of coffee and walk out of the camp with Sharon, Diego, and Lucas. We walk 2km until we get to the main road. As we walk down the road, I experience something familiar from a past lifetime... my feet were getting wet, walking through the calf-high grass. It was dew! This morning was actually a little chilly. Something that would warrant a hoody and shorts would be perfect (vs my thin short sleeve shirt and shorts). Ahh it feels great!

We walk another 4km until we reach Punta Caletas. Here the gang helps out the fisherman and I stick around for an hour until the tide gets to a passable level, where I can cross the estuary's river. Holding my backpack above my head, and walking through water almost at my belly button. I cross the river with a strong current heading out to the ocean. Luckily I am far enough upstream to cross at a diagonal and make it across without getting all my things wet.

I make it back to the house by 8am. Brush my teeth, shower and grab a quick bite to eat. This morning (8:45am) we are to be picked up and taken to Mike's Jungle Butterfly Farm for a tour. This is one of Turtle Trax (Pretoma’s side organization for tourist activities) new activities they will be offering. Before offering these tours to the public, we are able to experience them and give our feedback in hopes to make future tours a great experience. Picked up. Driven. Arrive.

After a 25 min ride to the north (standing in the back of a bed of a pick up truck) we arrive at Mike’s Butterfly farm. At first glance it reminded me of a nature reserve, as it was tucked away from the road, had several areas of different floral arrangements and central hut used for lectures and hands on learning. Mike introduces himself and gives us the history of how this place came to be. Afterwards, we head out to field and positively identify several species with in a matter of seconds. As we come across a unique and adaptive species Mike explains why this is trait is advantages and how it might be different in other environments.

At the edge of the forest, near the hut, we walk along a small stream/river and identify more species of butterfly as well as other plants that are unique to the area.  Back at the hut, Mike goes into his lectures about the Bees and Wasps he also has on his property. These insects actually happen to be his passion in life, “but try marketing a Bee farm to tourists”…  he is got a point. With bees comes honey. We taste test a couple different honeys pollinated by various flowers. There is certainly a distinct flavor to each one. All of this was followed up by a sample of some “pollen protein” – interesting.

We go for another walk and visit a tree filled with bats and unique root system they hang on. We also see the where the bee hives are located and listen in about his future plans for producing more honey. We wrap up our tour back at the hut with a final tasting of honey. YUMMMMM.

After wrapping up conversations we make out way back to the house. Lunch (pasta salad). Siesta. Pick up trash on the beach. Arts and crafts. Open coconuts for dinner. Get sweaty. Run. Shower. Cook. Eat (Coconut Rice with Coconut curry sauce and beans). Siesta. Update Sleep

Lesson: Sometimes your only given one set of wings. Protect them wisely or you will be grounded and vulnerable

Food: Honey
Animals: Dogs, Birds, Spiders, Flies, Ants, Crabs, Mosquitoes, Butterflies, bees, turtles, Red Sea Bass, Bats

Something I am thankful for:
Something I don't want to admit:

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: 87/135

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