Up, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, Left…

It’s here.

Finally, my voyage to the Caribbean Sea coast of Costa Rica has come to an end; and I still have a flow of emotions like ever before.

As I read back on my first few blog posts about this adventure, it’s hard to believe how dramatic, yet scared I was.

It’s been quite a long three months, ’tis true, and everyday day had its challenges; but the things that I’ve witnessed during my stay here are incomparable to many things I will come across in the future: baby sea turtle hatchlings, sloths, tropical toucans, caimans, Howler and Capuchin monkeys and so much more. To imagine what it would have been like to cut my trip short (as I was intending) gives me a feeling of disappointment. Sometimes what may seem like the wrong decision may play out to be the best one in the end.

And as I pack my things, and my emotions continue to ride the loops on the roller coaster that is my life, I can’t help but appreciate how much this trip has changed me for the better as a person: I now know how to bake many a things from scratch; I know how to kayak and paddle my way across a canal; I know what it’s like to be passionate about one’s work to the point that even the smallest mistake throws off the rest of my day until it is fixed; and I’ve developed better skills in handling myself in new environments totally away from home and familiar faces.

Walk the line..

It’s strange, you know; sometimes we often have to leave home in order to fully understand and appreciate the feeling of being there, and I most certainly do now.

Life is such a wonder, and even in the lowest of lows in our days, we must not resist the opportunity to look up and see the goodness that lies ahead.

We must not limit ourselves to low standards, low expectations, and short distances. There are endless possibilities if we just allow them to unfold, whether we know exactly what they hold in store. Just float, because you never know where the waves will take you.

And it won’t be my last Costa Rica,
but still,
Pura Vida,
Moi

Music for the Moment:
I wrote this post while I listened to this song as I found it depicted my emotions about this experience perfectly in song. I dedicate it to all my loved ones who supported me along the way – I honestly could NOT have done it without you all. Much love.

On to the next adventure…..

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Pop Goes the Hatchling!

There is a time for work and a time for play; and so far I’ve had quite a bit of fun.

So! – on to the tasks at hand once again.

I finally got myself a (somewhat) new pair of glasses sent down here by my wonderful family, and now that I am once again with proper vision, I’ve been thrown back into the old routine of morning and night patrols along the beach.

A lot happened during the one month I was without glasses and only permitted on morning patrols: I saw my first ever hatchling, a leatherback baby turtle. It was absolutely ADORABLE, and just reminded me why my work here does indeed help. I say that because my coworker and I unknowingly stumbled upon the hatchling as we were checking the state of all the nests in the second part of the beach that we survey. Even more, this little hatchling was attempting to get to the sea from its nest, and was caught in some branches buried in the sand.

If we weren’t out there, and the sun completely rose and exposed its often scorching heat, the poor little hatchling probably would not have survived.

08/07/13: Look at him go!

Jimmy the Leatherback Hatchling –             08/07/13: Look at him go!

Nevertheless, I took it out of the debris, placed it gently in the palm of my hand, and watched as it slowly crawled out of my palm, flopping onto the still warm sand, to finally float and get whisked away into the sea. It was magical.

I also got to see three hatchlings of the rare Hawksbill species dig out of a nest I was excavating. One could even say that I not only saw them, and helped lead them to sea, but I also swam with them (not literally, as my feet were the only things deep in the water, but the hatchlings did swim right by my knees, so it counts as such in my mind!).

Now that I’m back on night patrols, I get to have more close up action with the mothers as they lay their nests, which is always a fascinating sight. Two nights ago, I got to read the tracking tags placed on the turtles’ flippers to monitor their movement between nesting sights for the first time. I also attempted to stop the turtle, but was unsuccessful (this time, at least!).

Ah well, still a work in progress..but isn’t that just life?

Pura Vida,
Moi

What’s poppin’?

Eggs. Turtle eggs to be exact.

Last night (well, this morning really), I encountered my third turtle as an intern at the Caño Palma station here in Costa Ríca.

However, the last two turtles my team and I worked with were both less hands on than this one.

This one was special for me in many a-ways.

For starters, the last two turtles were Hawksbills, which for some are a rarity to encounter. But I was already bored with them and wanted something new.

Last night, I finally got a green.

This green turtle, though, was not too happy to get us as her observers.

I was assigned as ‘egg counter,’ which meant I was to have probably the closest interaction with her.

Suppenschildkröte

Suppenschildkröte (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The experience is indescribable, really.

What we must do is place our hands underneath the tail of the turtle and gently cup and then let fall her eggs as she lays them.

I’ll admit I felt uncomfortable at first; and this does not include the fact that my pants were torn all along the crotch and backside, so my bare bottom was cotched in the air. This also doesn’t include the fact that it was pouring rain and I had to tie my poncho, that could protect me against the cold drops, around my waist to protect my tush.

The intense contractions she had whilst my hand was also cupping her tail, could be felt before every egg slowly drops.

For a first-timer, it was a bit of an introduction.

I kept thinking, soaking from  head to toe, “When will this be over?” But then the night continued into morning, and as my team and I rushed back 2 miles to return to the station before 5 a.m., we managed to watch the sun rise and sing Sister Act’s ‘Oh Happy Day’ to the rhythm of the waves.

It wasn’t until I was dry, warm, and for the most part, rested, when I gave myself the chance to ponder on the happenings of the previous night, and realize what I had actually witnessed: the birth of anew.

Unforgettable.

And so this trip continues to be…

Pura vida,
Moi

Music for the Moment:

Cool. Cool, cool, cool.

Finally, I’m here.

Where is here exactly? Well, it’s in a (somewhat) little biological station called Caño Palma in Limón, Costa Ríca on the coast of the Caribbean Sea, where interns like me come to basically help save turtles.

It gets much deeper than that, but since this is an introduction, saving turtles is, in a nutshell, what I will be doing.

Costa Rica: On our way to the Cano Palma biological station via the Turtle Lodge boat..

Costa Rica: On our way to the Cano Palma biological station via the Turtle Lodge boat..

This is one of my bigger adventures coming up and boy do I have a lot in store for me here.

The trip to my current destination was not as eventful as that of Atlanta, Georgia. I would give the excuse that it’s because of the lack of varying transportation used as opposed to Hotlanta, but that would be very much incorrect.

My fellow interns and I took a plane, then a bus, stayed at a hostel for a night; then another bus, then a boat, and then we were there.

What a trip.

Thanks to past interns who have traveled this road often traveled though, they left written guides to let us know how to get there conveniently, which really truly helped.

We’ve only been at the station, and in the country, really, for a few hours, but one common thing I can tell (besides the fact that every county in Costa Ríca has at least one church, one school, one medical clinic, and one soccer field, according to our station bus driver), the sense of community is very strong.

I, myself, can be very introverted at times and quite easily get lost within my own thoughts and perceptions.

Though this may help me in some aspects of everyday situations, what one comes to discover in life is that there is a time and place for everything, and I think that this is not the time to have that kind of mindset in this place. Cano Palma is a place of teamwork, co-operation, and understanding; so if I want to fulfill as many goals as possible during my stay, it would be best if I open up and become comfortable with things.

Identify the problem. Want a desirable result. Find the solution and be determined to accomplish it. Simple.

So, as I put myself to sleep and prepare to wake up in 7 hours for my first ever turtle survey, all I can think about now is how excited I am to discover exactly what ‘this side of town’ has to offer.

Pura Vida,
Moi

Music for the Moment: