February 01, 2011

New Years, New RAs, More ISV Groups, and Good Times in General

After a longer silence, which was due to an increased work-load in the project, I have finally found the time to update this blog.

We had busy days over Christmas and New Years with little or no volunteers at all, only half of the staff, and quite a few nesting females, which took their toll on all of us, and when we were finally able to welcome the next two ISV groups in January we were excited and relieved to the same time.
Jean, Elmar, Tiziana, Laura, Ash, Chris and Cody getting ready for NEW YEARS!

The count of our females has gone up to six nesting Leatherbacks with 16 nests, and seven (identified) nesting Blacks with18 nests.
The first nests of our blacks have already hatched, all with a very good hatching success, only our fist Leatherback nest is letting us wait. It has today already 62 days, and still no sign of any hatchlings. But well, we had a lot of rain this season, so it might be just late.

In the beginning of January we had our third arribada since we are here, but it was only a small one, and the whole thing was over in only three days. The last arribada just came a few days ago, and we still have females coming-up during the afternoon and nights, and again a lot of females getting stuck in the river, which we are getting out with the help of our volunteers.

On January 14th our two new international research assistants (RAs) Karen and Benny arrived to replace Cody and Ashley who had finished their time in the project. Also Elmar, our student from Holland, left together with Ash and Cody, to fly back home and finish his project for university. We are all missing them!!
But Benny and Karen have already found their place in the project, and have already had the honor to receive nicknames awarded by the local assistants, for whom this is a favourite past time activity. Benny seems to have a lot of similarities to a certain character in "Surf's Up" ;-).

During the past weeks, we have also continued to clean the sand around the hatchery with the hope that we can maintain this area free of Olive Ridleys for once during the off-season. The hatchery itself was also a little bit modified, because under the Japanese roof to many flies hid from strong winds, so we opened the roof, and kept only a part of it. Further more our ISV students helped Gredy with his Olive Ridley excavation, which was a disgusting but very interesting business, according to them. Also we have managed to organise a couple of beach clean-ups, in the parts of the beach where the people from the Ostional community do not clean.
Jono, Sarah, and Harrison opening eggs during the excavations.

Lauren, Vinita, Rhi, Andrew, and Jess showing off proudly their collected plastic trash.

The station also hosted a little symposium on Olive Ridley turtles, where people from different nesting beaches in Costa Rica and Nicaragua came to present their results and ideas.

Well that I guess summorized the most important happenings of the past month, and now we just have to wait for our nest to hatch, and for our Princessa to come back (she is due tonight).

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