Day 1, 2017
Welcome to Costa Rica! Our students arrived in waves throughout the day and are now all fast asleep in a local hotel after a busy day of travel and meeting new friends! For those who arrived earlier in the day, we took a walking tour of Alejuela led by our local director, including a stop at a local ice cream parlor. Tonight we enjoyed a catered barbeque dinner at the hotel as well as had our first mentor group meeting. We look forward to heading to Home Base tomorrow and getting settled in for a great program!
CR Sea Turtle Staff
I woke up a bit later than the other volunteers on this morning. I caught breakfast really quick and was out the door. The plan today was to go to the Jaguar rehabilitation center. Many volunteers got to know each other the day before and I found myself fairly comfortable. I sat beside a girl named Cholena on the 6 hour bus ride, she’s from California. When we finally got to the animal center we were very tired, but excited. We saw many exotic and interesting animals and learned tons of information about them. Some of my favorites (I’m Canadian) include the toucans, monkeys and baby sloths! Their main objective and end goal at the rehabilitation center was to help injured/sick animals and release them into the wild. After that amazing experience, we were ready to get settled into our home base. What is interesting about home base is that it is on an organic farm with a family who lives off the land. The two main people who aid us with our activities are Pablo and Ariel. They are native to Costa Rica and are absolute experts, we’d probably be in a ditch somewhere without them. Our first dinner included rice, beans and potato salad. After that we pretty much talked and got to know each other. A great second day!
By Ryan Madsen
Turtles are becoming endangered, and not many people realize their importance. The reason turtle conservation is so important is because of many factors; whether it be the food chain cycle being stable or less jellyfish, saving the turtles is extremely needed.
I experienced an amazing thing yesterday, which was the fourth of July. My group saw a turtle lay eggs! We released her into the water to ensure no turtle hunters cook her. It’s an unfortunate truth about sea turtles in Costa Rica. After releasing the mama of the 169 eggs, we buried them into a safe spot in the ground.
Hours before this amazing event, we went on a farm tour. I loved the cacao! What a day we had!
After an early morning we, the GLA family, hopped in the van for an hour long car ride to a beautiful beach called Playa Grande for an exciting surfing adventure. The group was split into two for different sessions of surfing lessons. Personally I went in confident, but once the beach was visible I was in shock by the wave size. After a few struggles, I stood up. Once I understood how I did what I did I was capable of standing up nonstop. And believe me I felt like I was surfing Maverick. After four hours of surfing and hanging on the beach, we had lunch. Our lunch was served in a banana leaf. After the delicious lunch, we went to a small town for some cookies and shopping. At first multiple of my friends and I thought the mentors would be keeping us on a leash, but we were pleasantly surprised to find out that they trusted us and gave us a large amount of freedom. In the town, I personally got a few cornrows and a grilled cheese. Today was filled with many adventures and new experiences.
Sstudents digging organic yucca and picking organic plantains for dinner tonight.
Living on an organic farm has been really great for the students both educationally and healthwise.
Students work with the local staff to feed the chickens and collect eggs for breakfast.
Students and local staff pose before heading out on a turtle patrol. We found a turtle nest and buried the eggs in a safe spot!
Days 7 and 8
Hola! The last two days have been an absolute blast! Yesterday the gang woke up around 7 and had a really yummy breakfast! Early in the morning we went on a long walk on the beach to collect and plant mangrove seeds. Mangrove trees are so important to the environment here because they act as a sponge and help filter the water before reaching the ocean. Once we were done planting the seeds we went back to home base and had a very nice resting time. During this period I had an amazing two hour nap! I was able to take such a great nap due to our dance instructor being late. Once he arrived I had a blast learning different types of dance. Some of the different types of dance that we learned were salsa and bachata. I got really into this activity, it was so tiring! After this lesson we went straight on another turtle walk, this was sadly a bust. No turtles today but I am still grateful for the first turtle we saw.
Today, bright and early, everyone was up and ready to go on another walk. The walk was very tiring, probably the most physically draining out of all the walks we have done. After we walked to the cove we had a really great beach day! I had the opportunity to snorkel for the very first time! It was pretty cloudy but I still saw a bunch of fish and it was so pretty! After beach time we walked back home in the pouring rain. After we showered we had a great game of soccer and volleyball with the family on the farm. Everyone here is so nice and amazing! Today is the last day and I am so sad to be leaving my new friends in Gandoca! Costa Rica has been such an amazing experience that I will never forget. I have met so many different people that I am so grateful for!
-Hewan Weldai! 😉