Monday, July 23, 2012

Costa De Oro

Eggs in a hole
 breakfast made a the station house

The first week went really well. We already have 7 nests in the hatchery and almost every volunteer has seen a turtle nesting. I think this year is going to be a good one! We also have an incredible amount of volunteers 19 today!!!!

The boys testing out a
Gillian's Island type raft.
PRETOMA has decided to open a new project this year on the beach (Costa De Oro) south of Playa San Miguel, but there is still a lot of work to be done to get the project ready.  So Tuesday, the two new research assistants, Matt and Victor, and I crossed the estuary at the south side of Playa San Miguel to get to Costa De Oro. The idea was we would measure and mark a tree every 100 meters so we could make sector posts. However, when we got there we realized that the pilot project from last year had some sectors left up, but were measured oddly. So we had to make a new game plan.  We decide the best option was to just walk the beach and see what we had to work with and we would mark the beach later. While we were over there we saw the beautiful house we would be living in. It is a 3 bedroom house that sleeps 9 and has a real kitchen with an oven!!!  The is also an outdoor BBQ and a pool. 
Just about finished digging out the hatchery.

On Friday we had a group of 9 come in from an organization called CIRENAS. They want to learn how to build a hatchery and what goes into a turtle project. So we all loaded into the cars and drove down to Costa De Oro to start building the hatchery. To build a brand new hatchery you must remove all the sand/dirt until the hole is about 50cm deep. Then you have to place the posts and mesh fence around and then refill the hole with sifted sand. It is hard work and the hatchery is large; we could easily fit 200 nests in it. After 3 days of hard work and lots of help from locals and volunteers we finally finished digging the hole.  Today we are taking a break while we wait and find out if we can use a bulldozer or something to help us refill the hatchery with fresh sand.

As for turtles this week we haven't had one in 4 days but I think its cause the tides are very drastic and are too fast for turtles. Plus, its the beginning of the season. I think it should pick up again this week or at least I hope so!

Monday, July 16, 2012

And the Adventure Begins Again...

My mom and I at the TG hotel.
Now that I have finally made it to Playa San Miguel, Costa Rica, I can catch everyone up on past week. First off I want to thank everyone who read the article written about me in the North County Times and came to check out my blog. If you have any question please don't hesitate to email me!

Wow it sure was an adventure getting to Playa San Miguel!!! After closed freeways, cancelled and delayed flights, my mom , her friend Susie, and I finally made it to Costa Rica, only 8 hours later than expected. Since we arrived so late we didn't have time to drive all the way out to the Nicoya Peninsula until Wednesday morning. So we found a boutique hotel Terrazas de Golf for the night. The owners had converted their house on a golf course into a bed and breakfast and had the most hospitable service!

That night after running a few errands, we got back at the hotel and where greeted with fresh kas juice and an eggplant h'orderves. We played a couple games of Bananagrams on the balcony before calling it a night.

The next morning we were treated with a stunning view of the golf course and an amazing breakfast with fresh fruit, eggs, and gallo pinto. After breakfast we hit the road and drove towards Sarchi. Sarchi is the wood working capitol of Costa Rica and where my parents bought our  dinning room table at 15 years ago. The craftsmanship was a beautiful as ever, but the prices sure increased due to it now being a major tour bus stop. Nonetheless we picked up some fun little trinkets for family and friends before heading 2 hours southwest to the Puntarenas ferry port.
Tin Church outside of Sarchi.

After missing the ferry, driving around the gulf and crossing Amistad bridge, we continued our journey on dirt, winding road in the dark. Which I am sure my mom would not recommend! It took a lot longer than I expected to get to be beach and at one point I thought I had lead us in the completely wrong direction. 

Luckily we when arrived at my friend's (Drew) new hotel, Laguna Mar, he was waiting for us with umbrella drinks. After we enjoyed the drinks went up to bed and had a fantastic nights sleep. The next day, I showed my mom and Susie all of my favorite places around the beach and they even got to patrol with me that night. Unfortunately, we didn't have a turtle, but they found the patrol very relaxing.

Laguna Mar Pool
Friday morning we woke up early and had another fantastic breakfast at Laguna Mar before I had to start my real work.  My mom and Susie brought me to the station house and they were off to travel Costa Rica.

When I got to the house Lotti and Sandra, the Co- directors of the turtle projects, came to update me on the changes from last year and made sure I was ready to begin the new season.

Saturday night Maddie (my co- coordinator) and I did our first official patrol with our new research assistant, 3 volunteers and Wilson, our local.

About an hour into our patrol we came across and Olive Ridley just beginning to dig her nest. We all gathered around to teach the specifics of a nesting turtle and what data we take from each nesting encounter.

After about 30 minutes our turtle had been measured, tagged and all 72 of her eggs were collected. We returned to the hatchery to place the nest into the first spot and in about 45 days we should be seeing our first hatchlings!!!