Costa Rica (Days 3-4)

April 8th

I woke up to my second day at La Tortuga Feliz. After a breakfast of gallo pinto, the volunteers headed over to another organization that we work in tandem with, mainly we help supply the manpower. We spent the morning shoveling sand through a sieve and into a wheelbarrow so we could transport it to the hatchery. This aids in creating ideal sand conditions for the turtle nests.

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The hatchery we guarded (back). Where the shoveled sand went (front).

Later on in the day we spent another 1-2 hours sorting through weeks of old garbage and recycling that had been collected during beach cleanups. It was kind of depressing to see all the litter and junk. Too often as consumers we don’t think about where our stuff will end up. I had thought I was environmentally conscious before, but this brought things into another perspective. Among the glass and plastic were: discarded shoes, flipflops, aerosol cans, deodorant sticks, medicine, straws, cans, and Styrofoam. I am only mentioning a few things because an exhaustive list would be too extensive. If only people were more aware and could cut back on some of these things or if we could find a more sustainable way of living.

After sorting through recycling and trash I went to a training on how to build replicas of turtles nests. They are typically 75cm down in the ground. The measurements will vary by nest, but we take that data during the patrols when collecting eggs.

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Another section of the beach we patrolled.

My patrol that night (April 8th) was from 10pm-2am. As I left for my patrol the rain started, but it cleared by the time I met my guides. The visibility was minimal since it was a new moon, cloudy, and we are not supposed to use white lights. Most of the time the patrols are in the dark, only when we need a closer look do we use a red light to see. We did not see any turtles during our patrol.

April 9th

Because I like travelling with the minimal amount of items, I needed to do a wash. With some soap and a bucket I washed my clothes by hand and hung them out to dry. It reminded of me when I was a kid and we hung our clothes out in the California sun next to the one fence that house an attempted grape vine where I used to sneak grapes. In the afternoon, we worked more on the hatchery; shoveling and sieving sand, being careful not to include the black granite-like sand in the mix.

That night I had hatchery duty from 6pm-midnight. Six hours of stars rotating in the heavens, ocean waves crashing, and never ending humidity. Even at midnight it is warm and humid. There were no eggs brought during my shift so I couldn’t put my newly learned nest digging skills to use. But I did get to enjoy a peaceful evening on the beach guarding turtle nests.

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A crab playing peek-a-boo as I read on the beach.

Come back tomorrow for the continuation of my trip.

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