How to start living "Pura Vida"
So here I am two weeks into my internship in Caletas, Costa Rica working with sea turtles and I am absolutely loving it! Don’t get me wrong it’s long hours and hard work, but it’s all that I wanted and then some. Since I will be mostly here for a while I thought I would break up my posts into something a little different: I will do posts mostly about the work that I am doing here and how to live remotely in a sustainable fashion (thinking of my friend Suzie here).
So here we are in my fist post from Costa Rica, and I thought I could tell you all about my daily routine.
In the morning, I usually wake up around 7:30-8:30, and for those who know me well that might come as a shocker. I love my sleep and I absolutely love sleeping in, but with the temperatures we see here (around 90-100 °F) it is very hard to stay in bed without producing a nice pool of sweat. Thus, I rather get up and get going on my day and chores. At camp we all have different jobs everyday: some clean up, some cook lunch, some burn trash, others collect water for dishes, watering hatchery nests, etc. The jobs are there and they never end, so even though you have time to loaf around and read a book, you also have to make sure you get all of your chores done for the day.
Usually we eat lunch around noon, which leaves the afternoon open for activities and exploring. So far, I have only gone down the beach to the rock pools in the north of camp. There is also a big estuary south of camp where the river Bongo empties into the ocean. These are all within walking distance from camp so they make a good afternoon walk. There is also a bar nearby with internet, about a 45 minute walk, and a restaurant with a good view of some howler monkeys, only an hour walk. I have yet to visit these places, mostly because I am still getting used to the schedule at camp. On the flip side, I have already finished my first book.
In the afternoon, we have exhumations which is just a fancy way of saying digging up old nests. If we have a nest that hatched the night before or early in the morning, we have to dig up the nest and examine the remains. While the job itself is a little stinky, sometimes you can come across some hatchlings that are still alive and are just a little stuck. We then go through all the eggs that still have something inside them, and classify them according to stages of development. Once we are done counting up the eggs, egg shells, and classifying the unborn hatchlings we toss them into the ocean (circle of life) and then usually I head into the shower for a rinse off (you smell pretty bad after cracking eggs open for 40 minutes).
Our shower is pretty rustic: you grab a bucket and fill it up with some fresh water and bring it into the small enclosed area we call the shower. Here, with some help from a small bowl, I pour some water over my head and commence my shower. Due to the nature of this shower, I have given up on shaving pretty much anywhere, so here I salute my cave woman self.
After my shower, it’s usually dinner time and we all sit down at the table and talk about our days and what we want to do on our days off, funny stories about our home towns and the like. This all leads to the real work: patrols and hatchery shifts. During patrols, a team of two or more walk the assigned beach section north (2km) or south (3km) sometimes both for a grand total of (10km) and check for turtle tracks, nests, or an actual turtle. If we find this elusive creature, we then measure it and tag it. Before I got here, they would move the nests to the hatchery, but since the season is almost over and everyone will be leaving at the end of march, we no longer relocate nests to the hatchery. Hatchery shift is kinda like babysitting: you sit there and wait for the babies to wake up, but you yourself cannot really sleep because you have to be attentive. If you are falling asleep, well you better put on some alarms. If babies start coming up then you collect them and count them. So yeah its exactly like babysitting. Most shifts end around 5 am and then your day ends/starts all over again.
I guess what I miss most of all would have to be cold food, like yogurt or cold water. I guess I never really knew how good I had it with cold food now that everything I eat or drink is room temperature. But besides that I can’t really complain I wake up because it’s warm out and I hear the waves crashing nearby. Hopefully you can all come visit the amazing Nicoya peninsula and see all the wonders that this place has to offer.