Hold on to yo' butts

2:08AM - DECEMBER 2, 2008

"Whatever you want to do, do it now. For life is time, and time is all there is."--GLORIA STEINEM
Not real sure where the time went today. I was up around 6am. Had a little something to eat and took a walk down the North side to try and find some sea urchin exoskeletons. The only one I found was the broken one that I found days prior. I found some other shells for the necklace that I want to make when I return home. Hopefully I can find a craft shop for some twine, wire, beads, secure fittings. Feels like such a waste since I have all that stuff back in Lebanon, but if I want to make belated Christmas gifts, I don't really have any other choice then to purchase new equipment. What else did I do today? I marveled at the new shifts of beach from the night's before tide. Crazy how many times the landscape has changed since we have been here. It keeps moving once I've figured out the best sector for shells, and I find it interesting how the types of shells that wash up change based on the type of tide. I laid out about an hour and half before it got cloudy. Spent most of the day reading and then finishing the "Water" chapter in The Fifth Book of Peace. I decided that I am going to send the book to my mother when I send her shells after my return to Okayama (there is a lizard moving around in the rafters and it is making cute chirping sounds like a velociraptor from Jurassic Park).

Later, Sarah and I did exhumations. The sun went down and I read under my mosquito net until it was time for patrol at 7:30pm. We came across poachers tonight. Alan said that they tried to hide a particular nest we had come across by creating amateur man-made tracks to replicate a rastro in a different direction. You can't disguise real rastros unless you sprinkle them with sand. Even still, we would notice the color variation and their footprints in the sand. They also propped a piece of wood behind a nesting female to camouflage her presence. Idiots. They are working ahead of us.

We removed the board and tagged her; collected the data, recovered the nest, and made sure that she made it back into the water safely. The rule on the beach is "finder's keepers," or "first come, fisrt serve." We got another nest before them, too. I worry about what they would do while the mother is there. Someone told me that they chase her back into the water to keep her from covering her nest, since they are in such a hurry. It has to be so stressful for the mother. We are officially in leatherback season, now. They are much more sensitive to interference and may not lay at all if bothered. They can take over an hour and half to dig, lay, and bury their nests and are generally 70-90+ cm deep (~3 feet) and extremely difficult to find. Margarita said that a group of hers in Columbia took 4 hours to dig with shovels to find the nest. Can you imagine a big gaping hole from one huge fucking sea turtle? I hope I see just one (and at least one of each of the other species of sea turtles). I just don't want to be the one that has to book-it back to camp to retrieve the chip scanner. I'd probably have an asthma attack in this heavy air.

It's almost 3am and I am sitting here in hatchery duty until 4am. Sipping my hot cocoa with possible traces of leche. The hermit crabs keep making quite a ruckus. They climb in and on everything--in the compost bucket, in the stove (even when lit), on the shelves, counter. They are everywhere. I wish I had a dollar for how many I flick off the counter in a day.

I am feeling sick from dinner. Dinner was only rice and stir-fried veggies. Everything that everyone makes is with sunflower oil and it's been making me extremely sick. I should probably skip dinner and opt for oatmeal instead. I'm trying not to take many rolaids here and have been avoiding almost everything with dairy. Sometimes I don't know until after the fact, if no one tells me. It's my responsibility, though. I would never really expect anyone to remember. Alan offered me a cookie today. It was nice. People definitely do not think about what ingredients are in foods the way I do. Most don't even think about butter as being dairy, and don't know the difference between that and margarine. Not like I can much tolerate margarine, either. After all, it is made with oil.

Tomorrow, Sarah and I are walking to a different town that is next to San Francisco de Coyote to explore. We talked about going to Coyote, but it is too soon for me to go back. I don't want the luxuries of the supermarket and internet to become a necessity. I really need to feel like I am here. It's more important for me to do without--it is why I came here, aside from my turtle responsibilities. Someone called us "turtle people" the other day. It was cute. I still can't believe that I am doing this like the same people I looked up to growing up on the beaches in Florida. Crazy.

I have these handful of songs that keep playing in my head. How I miss my music. Right now it's "Run in the Front," by Dear & the Headlights. And earlier, while I was on patrol, the rastros reminded me of train tracks across the beach and it was "Train Wreck," by Mat Kearny. Other days it is that "brother" song by Citizen Cope, or India Arie's "queen" song.

There is a big fucking iguana that is scrambling to stay on the rafters above me. I dread anything falling on my head, especially something alive with claws and teeth. This candle and hot chocolate is making me hot. I wish the stars were out like they were earlier so that I could mosey on out to the water. I almost said "mosey on out to the sand," which would have been silly because there is sand everywhere. I think that this is a difficult living to get used to--being dirty and smelly all of the time, having sand and biting ants in your bed, lizards overhead, scorpions, snakes, and thieves. Tico thieves. This is why there must be two people in camp at all times, and preferably awake, but that cannot always be the case. Maggie is currently here, but Lucas is gone MIA for some unknown period of time. I like it better when there is more than one dog here.

I am on hatchery until 4am... redundancy. Forty-five more minutes and I can go to bed if there aren't any hatchlings. It really does sound like Jurassic Park in here. It kind of is, surrounded by all of these ancient reptiles.
"Dont be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated; you can't cross a chasm in two small jumps."--DAVID LLOYD GEORGE
I am still feeling so horrible right now from the lunch that we had over 7 hours ago. It was seasoned rice and blackbean burgers that were, of course, friend in oil. I will totally be skipping dinner. I awoke at 2am with some of the worst cramps I have ever had, still from lunch. I thought I was going to be sick. I took 9 rolaids and still no relief. I dreaded patrol, but by the last 1-2k of the 8k I began feeling better. Moving always helps. Still, I think I will probably skip tomorrows main meal to prevent this from happening again.
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