Sunday, November 25, 2012

Day 148 - Crocky Man Grove

Date: 11/25/12
Location: Costa de Oro, Costa Rica

Word of the day:máquina - machine
Turtle Fact: Turtles can rest or sleep underwater for several hours.

Wake up 6am. Breakfast (cereal). As I prepare for bike patrol, I am informed that the over-achiever Hernaldo has already done the patrol by bike at 5am this morning. Looks like I got a "morning off". Update Nature:30.

By 9:30am we (Courtney, Lars and myself) are picked up by Pretoma and taken to Playa Bejuco. Today we are going on a mangrove tour! There are several fresh water streams that lead out to the Pacific ocean along the coast of Costa Rica. Where the two bodies of water meet (and the surrounding areas) brackish water (salty fresh water) can be found. This is where you will find a diverse range of plants and animals. Add the factor of tide controlling the height of the water level, changing several times a day, this place is a hot bed for nature.

As Turtle Trax (Pretoma off shoot) offers more and more tours for visitors and tourists, we (research assistants) get to be the guinny pigs. We arrive in the small fishing village of Bejuco. No more than 10 family must live in this area as it was created for a fisherman's harbor. We wait for the tide raise a little before we begin our journey. As we wait, it was pointed out that this little village has their own hatchery ran by locals. Even though it was much smaller in size, the fact that the community cares about the turtles is great!

We jump into a 15' boat with a small outboard motor attached to the back. We pile in and begin the tour. We weave several km's through a small river with the banks only 5ft from either side of the boat. Several large logs were barely submerged that we managed to float over, as the captain would pull up the motor as we drift over the area.

This river is known to be home of several crocodiles. As we start our boat ride, the captain points out a couple sandy and bare banks along the river, which the crocs are known to sun bath or hang out. Upon further looking, you can see the foot prints in ground. Being already trained to look for turtle tracks randomly on the beach, I instantly ingrain this walking pattern to memory in hopes to find another nesting site.

Not even 5mins into the ride Courtney spots the first croc. It was only a baby and maybe 2ft in length. The cute little thing was hanging out underneath the mangrove roots, which are exposed during low tide. Again, I commit this image to memory in hopes to spot the next one. CROC! I found one. Another baby hiding in the roots of mangrove tree. So cool. This has to be one of the first times seeing these animals in real life.

We continue on the river until get to a norrow spot in and hangout floating for a bit while we enjoy a juice box. We head back to the "boat dock" (which consists of pulling up to a sand bar) after visiting another river off shoot. We thank the captain and walk back to where the truck dropped us off. Within minutes are charriot arrives and we head back to Costa de Oro.

Lunch (Pasta and Rice)

This morning starts the season of faux earth quakes. They have begun roadwork along our street. Currently every morning at 7:30am, a steam roller will be rolling down or dirt road, shaking the ground as if it was one looooonnnnggg earth quake. Remembering our Pretoma sign (the one I made several months ago for in front of our house) was close to road, and the workers were expanding the road, we go to check on it. As we walk towards the street we could hear the sound of the large machine approaching. As step out onto the road, we see the large machine moving in our direction, only feet away from the sign. Like out of a action move, we wave our hands and yell STOP! It seemed like they were about to knock it down! We quickly get a knife to free the sign from the poles I placed into the ground. Saved for the future. Phew - that was close.

Arts and crafts. Siesta. Swim. Sunset. Run. Cook. Dinner (Taco's with rice). Siesta. Updates to Sleep.

Lesson: Crocs taste like rubbery chicken.

Food: Ground Beef Tacos with Hispanic rice
Animals: Dogs, Birds, Spiders, Flies, Ants, Crabs, Mosquitoes, Sea Otter, Crocodile, Cats, Turkey vulchers.

Something I am thankful for: Being a Research assistant and having access to tours such as these.
Something I don't want to admit: I was hoping to pick up a baby croc and play with it as part of the tour/experience.

Total Nest I have saved: 48
Total Nests Poached on my Patrol:50
Total Turtle Eggs I saved: 5102
Total Baby Turtles I Released: 1,148
Days of Rain: 87/144

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