LAST Week Six: An Abundance of Turtles

We had a record-setting week, with the busiest ocean day yet, but otherwise it’s been fairly relaxed with a small opportunity to stretch some mental muscles that I have enjoyed, and now I am sat in a hotel in Puerto Jiminez with hot water, (admittedly a bit rubbish) wifi, and a tour to Corcovado National Park booked for tomorrow!

It started out with a cancelled ocean day due to a very unusual morning thunderstorm. Instead we finally finished off the last of the remeasurements for August, about in time to start the ones for September.

We’ve switched our days off to Saturdays, so the following day C and I cycled up to a canopy tour place near La Palma and went zip-lining. It was good fun, with glorious views and monkeys in the trees, although in terms of adrenalin, cycling back down the hill on our terrible bikes was the height of it.

On the next ocean day we went to a beautiful beach slightly further away and caught four turtles. was able to take some pretty cool photos as I have decided to make a bit more of an effort to get photos of turtles, with only a month left to do it.

In the usual strange way of the world, I was just complaining to some friends and family about how I have “become stupid since university” (translation: I don’t challenge myself the way university challenged me and I need to get better at that) when the biologist suggested we try to put together a report on the mangroves, which are usually barely touched up on in the quarterly reporting process. So a lot of time this week has been devoted to sitting with a huge data set on Excel, teaching myself how to use Pivot Tables and thinking about the best ways to pull out information that is valuable and interesting. This has been frustrating but ultimately rewarding, even if it hasn’t revealed much other than where the important gaps in our knowledge are.

We spent a morning helping at the local recycling centre, which is currently the only recycling centre in the whole area. We worked mostly with glass, separating it by colour into massive barrels and then smashing it with, in essence, a heavy bit of metal on the end of a long stick. It was really interesting to see how much work needs to go into recycling here where there is no infrastructure to support it.

But, of course, the highlight was our l record-setting day. We had a volunteer for the day who was coming on an “Airbnb experience”, and he became our lucky charm. It was a beautiful day, which we started by spotting a humpback whale and her calf, who were relaxing up at the surface of the water for a long time. We spent fifteen minutes watching them before going to set nets.

As we were dropping the net, three turtles got caught in it – a smallish hawksbill, a moderately sized black, and a massive black who turned out to be 92kg.

93kg black turtle!

Working the three turtles took us to 9.30 and we had a lull where we relaxed on the beach and watched the spider monkeys who were also hanging out there, before it rained turtles through the afternoon – first one, then two at the same time, then as we were working those, another two at the same time.

With a day like that, I would have been more surprised if we hadn’t had a turtle caught in the net while we were pulling it up, and of course we did, an aggressive hawksbill who luckily didn’t manage to bite anyone, especially as we were all pretty tired.



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