Quetzal Queens take Costa Rica

Hola, loved ones! After our brief return to civilization in San Juan Del Sur, we jumped off the grid again on the beautifully untouched coast of Costa Rica, where we spent a week at a sea turtle conservation and research center. When we arrived, we stood in silence as our jaws dropped at a nearly 360 degree view of untouched coastal wilderness. Palm trees sagging with coconuts scattered the beaches and waves crashed over jagged rock formations, daring us to climb. The surf was breaking quickly and unpredictably, making it the perfect protected beach for mama turtles to safely bury their eggs.

We were warmly welcomed by our hosts, who then led us through a brief run down of what our upcoming week would look like. Lazy days spent reading and napping in hammocks, an hour or two of service work typically in the afternoon, and nightly beach patrols looking for turtles laying eggs. Rough life.

We set out for our first patrol at 11pm. We hiked down the beach in silence, marking sea turtle trails as we went. We were lucky enough to witness a turtle climb up the beach, dig her hole, and lay her eggs! Minutes after they touched the sand, we collected them in bags to be reburied in the Vivero- an egg nursery protected from raccoons and poachers. Our focus was on collecting the eggs to be relocated, but the patrol was also a way to scare away or catch poachers who came to steal the eggs. We learned that, although illegal, there is quite a market for turtle eggs, specifically with middle aged men in bars…. There you find a dozen eggs selling for $1. Questionable.

On the third night, [unfortunately, Erin and I missed this patrol due to unforseen ankle injuries..I’m shockingly clumsy.. and Erin has chikungunya] the group witnessed a natural hatching and got to see the baby turtles emerge from an unprotected hole on the beach and waddle their way to the water!

Overall, it was a peaceful and relaxing week spent in one of the most beautiful places I’ve been. We continue to grow closer and closer as a family, always learning more about each other..bringing me to the next part of this post:

QUESTION OF THE NIGHT [a nightly question asked around the dinner table]
Some examples are:

What is the most trouble you’ve been in with your parents and why? [don’t worry parents, this one isn’t being posted]

If you were a Disney princess, who would you be and why? [Kevin loved this one]

What’s your spirit animal?

What’s the story behind your first kiss?

And many more. But a personal favorite, with answers included:

If the personality of your hometown was encompassed in a food, what food would it be?

Chloe, Kansas City: Sadly, BBQ. I wish it wasn’t so I’ll say an open face hummus veggie burger.

Claire, Concord, MA: Chicken pot pie…I think that’s what the minute men ate?

Erin, Evergreen, CO: Trail mix. It’s the perfect snack for a hike in my small mountain town.

Brynne, Portland, OR: Gluten free oatmeal/granola bowl with greek yogurt *no sugar added* organic almond milk, almond butter, and an assortment of superfoods, such as: blueberries, acai, etc. Some flax seed sprinkled on top to finish it. Should be some good energy for a long run and some hot yoga.

Jenna, Nashville, TN: A black cup of coffee…with maybe one sugar.

Rachel, New Fairfield, CT: A wee little nugget of garlic bread and cheese.

Gabby, Warsaw, IN: Farm fresh sweet corn with a side of grilled potatoes.

Bria, Telluride, CO: KIND bar, blueberry pecan or dark chocolate almond cherry. Perfect for refueling in the mountains while skiing, hiking, mountain biking, etc! Plus, delicious!

Kevin, Santa Rosa, CA: It’s beautiful, and as the gateway to the wine country, it has lots of good food. But at its heart it’s still a country town, born of farmers and ranchers. So I think it would be a fancy cheese plate with artisan bread, fresh grapes and olives with balsamic vinegar, and a tall can of PBR.

Frankie, Santa Barbara, CA: Full of beach bum surfers [as well as Montecito moms clad in Lululemons and gel manicures] it would be a farmers market avocado, strawberry, banana smoothie.. and probably some weird garnish of flax and chia seeds.