Here I will pick up from where our own lovely Robin Berk left off from her last blog post. As all of our followers know, we had a lovely thanksgiving dinner upon our arrival to the “Bay of the Pirates”, which is a fairly remote beach on the western coast of Costa Rica. The journey there consisted of a few hours via public bus with a few transfers but we were able to successfully navigate the bus system and arrive safe and sound. The housing situation for our week of volunteer work was fairly bare bones, moderately hot at night, very hot, but comfortable none the less. Upon arrival to the project we met the other volunteers that were working with the organization, who all happened to be very attractive Germans, it was a bit suspicious, but no one was complaining about it. We were able to have some good conversations with them through broken English and it was a nice opportunity for some additional cultural learning and exchange.
We spent the days of our time there (November 22-27) sleeping, eating, relaxing by the beach and working on our tans. During the night time we would go out with the other volunteers and help them with the sea turtle conservation work. Most nights the group divided up into two groups and took shifts on the beach. The first group would generally go from 7 pm until about 11ish pm (sometimes it was a bit closer to 1 am…), and the second would work from (11 pm to around 2 am, however sometimes that ended up being a bit closer to 5 am…). Our work consisted of walking up and down the moonlight beach, and stopping accordingly to record the turtles movements and actions, and when applicable collect the eggs that had been laid. The process was incredibly interesting to learn about, and super exciting to be a part of. While the nights did consist of a lot of sitting in the sand and waiting for the turtles to come up onto the beach, I can definitely say that everyone enjoyed the experience. Once the turtles would come onto the beach, we would make record of the times that they started to dig the pit for their eggs, and the other aspects of the egg laying process. Once the eggs have been laid by the turtle, we would carefully transfer the eggs from the original egg pit, to a different one that we as the volunteers would dig. The reasoning behind this is to help protect the eggs from poachers (which we did encounter on the beach occasionally) and from raccoons who eat the eggs whenever possible. It is a very difficult life cycle for turtles, as roughly one in one-thousand turtle eggs will live to be sexually mature. Once the turtle was done laying the eggs, we would take measurements of the turtles size, and let it return back to its home in the ocean. The organization is collecting all of this information in hopes of making the beach a protected beach in order to give the turtles the best possible chances of survival. If you would care to learn more information about the organization or even donate money to their cause, here is a link to their website: http://www.anaicr.org/
After spending a few days with this we said goodbye to our friends at the project and headed to Nicoya to begin our week of free travel. Nicoya sits nearly dead center in the Nicoya Peninsula which is in the north western portion of the country. We had a slight bit of difficulty with the bus schedule that day, and ended up waiting at a bus stop for about 3.5 hours, but we were able to keep ourselves entertained with a very interesting presentation on sea turtles by our own in resident marine biology expert Ms. Sarah Lunsford, and also with our favorite past times; eating and napping. After spending a couple of hours on busses, we arrived in Nicoya, checked into our hotel for the night and decompressed. People went to check emails, take naps, eat food that was not rice and beans, and generally relax. In addition to having more comfortable beds, the hotel that we stayed in had the luxury of air conditioning, which everyone was definitely thankful for. I actually was cold in the middle of the night and had to use my sleeping bag at one point, it was beautiful.
The next day on the morning of the 28th we left Nicoya to head southwest to the town of Nosara. However before leaving we had a nice scare when for a little while half of our group food money was missing. But after a little Sherlock Holmes action, we were able to recover the money (it got left at the hotel, but hey, stuff happens). We then took taxis to Nosara and arrived at the Sun House, which is a mansion that we rented for three days. The house is literally incredible and is probably one of the nicest houses I have ever been in. There’s like 6 bedrooms, a sweet kitchen, an infinity pool, two outside showers, hammocks, tv’s, a punching bag and a bunch of other cool things. You should seriously check it out, heres a link: http://www.thesunhouse.net/
Jai was able to swing some ridiculous rate with the place, so that was pretty cool. Upon arrival people went swimming, took naps, and enjoyed the ridiculous amenities available to us.
The following day on the 29th, people took advantage of our free schedule and slept late, lounged by the pool, went to the beach and really took some time to relax. In the afternoon a number of people went to a private nature reserve and took a walking tour to learn about the biology of the region. It was a super interesting tour and we were all able to catch glimpses of beautiful foliage and stunning wildlife. That night we had a big family style dinner cooked for us by our in home personal chef; Sarah. She made us a delicious Italian pasta dinner with vegetables, and we all sat around our huge dining table eating, talking and being merry. After dinner, people decided to go mini golfing in town, but the catch was that all who went had to dress up as a different group member. Somehow all the boys ended up in girls clothes, but it was alright, cause we looked good, damn good. However despite our devilishly handsome looks, Nic came out the winner of our mini golf outing.
Today, the 30th, people have just been spending the day relaxing (except me, as I’ve been busy slaving away at this blog…) minus one small incident. Scott being the kind hearted, good samaritan that he is was trying to pick up a parrots nest that had fallen near the house, when tragedy struck. As he was bending over a stone fence to pick up the nest of baby parrots too young to fly, was attacked by a rogue scorpion on the rocks. It was a casualty as he was stung in the most sensitive part of any man’s body, the genitals. Soon after the incident, Ian and myself came in and made that scorpion pay for what he had done to our comrade. There has been an ongoing battle between the men of the CAM MAYA group and scorpions, and now the score is 6-1, in favor of us. Luckily the scorpion was not terribly poisonous, and Scott is now fine, minus some pain at the sting site and a hurt to his pride. However you should all know that after the incident he did return to his work of saving the parrot’s nest, and it is now safe again in the tree.
Pura Vida from Costa Rica,
Joel Raymond Hutzler-Perowsky