January 26, 2015

Second period of the season!

Since the beginning of the project there has been new people coming and going, new volunteers and new staff. At the beginning of January new research assistants arrived to work at the project, Sarah, Callie and Christina, coming from North America and from Australia. This second blog is written by them:
Greetings from beautiful Ostional!  We can’t believe we have already been here for 3 weeks!  So much has already happened.  At the start of our second week we got to witness our first nesting leatherback (Baula) and arribada of olive ridleys (Loras).  So far this season we have had 19 nests total from 4 leatherbacks and 8 blacks (Negra).  The hatchery has had 8 leatherback nests and 11 black nests, and currently there are 6 leatherback and 4 black left.  So far this season the hatchling success has been incredible – our last leatherback nest hatchling success was 82%!

We’re about to say goodbye to our first group of 17 ISV volunteers.  They have been helping us on patrols, with hatchery duty, hatchling releases, and exhumations.  And have been great fun to have around!  We’ve been able to take day trips to explore some amazing places around Guanacaste and have had a great time around the base with community soccer games and kitchen dance parties.  It will be sad to see them go, but we are looking forward to meeting the next ISV group and more independent volunteers coming.

The people of Ostional have welcomed us into their community with open arms.  They’ve joined us on some of our day trips and the volunteers are enjoying spending time with their homestay families.  We are participating in a community spay/neuter clinic to help with the overpopulation of stray dogs, which we hope will also have a positive impact on the nesting turtles by reducing egg predation.

 It is currently dry season, which has been living up to its name with not a drop of rain. The days are quite hot but it cool down considerably at night, just in time for patrol. The night patrols have been amazing and during breaks we always try and learn new constellations.  The shooting stars and bioluminescence in the sand always give a magical feel to walking the beach at night.  “Sunset o’clock” has become a daily ritual of heading to the beach to watch the spectacular display of colors.

We have really loved our time here and are looking forward to the next 1.5 months and all the inspiration, challenges, and experiences that it will bring!

Christina, Sarah & Callie