Review: Research Assistant for Latin American Sea Turtles

I spent ten weeks as a research assistant for Latin American Sea Turtles (LAST) on their Osa In-Water Project. This is one of very few projects that aims to study sea turtles in their foraging environment rather than on nesting beaches (which only make up 2% of the life cycle, and where you can only study adult females and hatchlings). I worked with hawksbill, green and Pacific green turtles. The project also has a mangrove reforestation element, and aims to work with and within the local community.

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LAST Week Ten: Pura Vida!

Our last day off was spent swimming and sunbathing and generally being very lazy and soaking up the Costa Rican sun. Then it was time to say goodbye to our volunteer, with only a couple of days before we got to meet our replacement research assistants. Some toucans turned up in our papaya tree and the macaws seemed even more numerous than ever, just to remind of us of how incredible our home for the past ten weeks has been.

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LAST Week Seven: Hazards of the Job

In the past week we’ve built a mud pit, entertained a group of nearly 30 kids for a day, visited Corcovado National Park, watched whales from shore, and I got bitten by a turtle. When I mention hazards of the job, I’m not entirely sure if I’m talking about the turtle bite or how spoilt I have become about seeing incredible wildlife.

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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!

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LAST Week Four: Finding Our Rhythm

So I’ve been here for a month now, and as usual the time has flown by and is only getting faster, with just another six weeks to go on the project, which means I’m halfway through my total time in Costa Rica.

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LAST Week Three: Whale Watching and the Blue Flag

For most of this week, we haven’t had any volunteers, which is an interesting change of pace but in some ways a necessary one to catch up after a hectic first fortnight. I’ve enjoyed having time and space to sort myself out and get to grips with things better, but am now feeling ready to welcome the next volunteer who is arriving in a few days. 

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LAST Week Two: Another Day in Paradise

The second week started with our first zero turtle day. I’ll try not to complain too much about a day sitting on a beach in Costa Rica, but it is frustrating! There was only one volunteer with us and I felt quite bad for her, but she’s here a while longer so hopefully she’ll have plenty opportunities. On the boat journey back we saw a pod of dolphins playing very close to us, which made up for it as far as I’m concerned.

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LAST Week One: In At The Deep End

Yesterday marked the end of my first week at the Latin American Sea Turtles (LAST) Osa project. I’ve already learned a lot and have a much better idea of what the next nine weeks of my life are going to look like!

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