A bit of everything

Published: April 21st 2006
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ciao tutti!
I'm hoping my exhaustion that has been building for weeks won´t make this dull and confusing. Forgive me if it does.

At the moment I´m in a town called San Isidro, at the base of a mountain range called chirripo, the second tallest in central america. Tomorrow I climb for 10 hours or so, with my big bag (minus the things I left in SJ) but made up for in food supplies. Despite the long hike, at nightfall tomorrow I still won't be at the top. I´ll stay at the lodge up there, and will finish the climb the next morning at 3 or so to reach the top by sunrise. I´ll stay another night at the lodge, and will come down the next day and plan to finish the trip with a dip in some hotsprings.

It is actually a bit chilly here which is such a relief. Today I hiked in a park on the pacific, Manuel Antonio and was pouring sweat. The air was heavy with moisture, you could sense that rain was on the horizon, but it never actually came.

I liked it there, the turquoise pacific, beautifully set between jungle covered hills. and surrounded by magestic rock formations in the sea. I got to see my fourth and final species of monkey here in costa rica, the squirrel monkeys, by far my favorite. Also saw some sloths, a coati, and iguanas. The problem was that tourists were as common as leaf cutter ants. Trails and traces of them everywhere, the majority speaking english. And it was all a bit tamed to me, as far as jungles go, but beautiful nonetheless.

Before Manuel Antonio, I spent a day at the Volcano Poas, which has two craters, one a long dorment one, filled with water, surrounded by a dwarf cloud forest. The other is actually active, only two weeks ago letting off toxic gasses, ash, and rocks covering its own turqoise waters with a white film. It looked very moonlike.

I'm fading with exhaustion but will try to finish by telling about the turtles. It was very exhausting work, involving lots of walking and little sleep, but oh so worth it. I worked with some really fabulous people, nearly all Brittish. I went out 5 nights, worked with 2 turtles, saw another that someone else was working with and got to see a baby green that we caught in a net on my last day.

The first night it was pouring rain when we found our first turtle, and I had to help dig out a 86 cm deep hole to uncover the eggs that a turtle just laid. The eggs are a bit smaller than chicken eggs, but not by much. They were fairly soft and warm. She laid 114, along with 36 smaller empty eggs, 150 in total!!! And wow were they heavy to carry and move. But still soaked and tired, I got to watch in awe this huge 1.4 meter leatherback do a dance of sorts... or rather a flying motion on the sand to cover up and camuflage her hole. It was truely special.

My second to last night I got my last turtle, this time we arrived there before she laid the eggs, caught them in a bag and moved them. It was really good that we got there when we did, because she dug a hole that hit water, which would've ruined the batch of eggs.

The scariest, or rather most difficult thing was that every morning or evening when we'd walk the beach, we'd find the nests dug up by poachers. Luckily we had moved all the eggs, but every once in a while, you'd find one of our holes dug up, with a trail of egg shells around it. They watch us at night, making our job much more difficult, and made me feel a bit vulnerable and worried for the eggs. But apparently they usually don't find our holes.

okay, a dormir,
buenas noche


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