JANUARY 2, 2009
So last night was kind of nuts. It was my night off, and we had turtles that needed to go down to 32, so I walked with the S patrol. I dropped them off, and took a nest and a bucket from the patrol to carry back for them. I took some time for myself, laying on this flat piece of driftwood that I like to visit to look up at the stars and moon. I had a lot on my mind and laid there a good 30 minutes before I felt like I had gotten most of it out. Let it go. So I walked back in peace, got to camp and set the nest in the hatchery. As soon as I had finished, Miguel comes running down, "We must go! There is a Baula at 40! We have to run!" A Baula is a leatherback. That's right! So I put on my shoes and we ran to 40--about 2 km south.
She was there and she was enormous, though Miguel said she was small for her size; 146cm long is all that I recall. She kept moving up and down the beach, a total of 4 times with 4 holes that she had dug. She looked so prehistoric that it was a little frightening. Our lights were going and we were frantically looking for Alan who had the scanner (never trust Alan. He ran with us, but ran 1000m too far out of excitement and ended up breaking the goddamn thing). She never ended up nesting. Slinking back into the sea like some lochness creature. I did get a picture, though I feel bad because I am sure our lights and commotion sent her away from nesting. There were too many of us and order had been forgotten at that point. She was beautiful.
We sat there while S patrol finished their patrol to 50; watched the orange moon set into the sea, and contemplated how we were going to explain to Joel that Alan forgot to wake him up for the momentous occasion. So, so cool though. Reminded me of why I am here.
I just got back from a walk down to S to see if the tracks were still visible after high tide last night. There were only a few visible areas, but none like we saw last night. Last night they were beautiful corkscrews in the sand. I walked the shallows looking for sand dollars and found one nice specimen. Here I am back to find everyone hovered behind binoculars pointed toward the ocean. Whales. They saw whales. Humpback whales, and spouts and water splashing from their pectoral and caudal fins. After watching for about 10 minutes I saw a breach. The guys went down to the water to hear them. Chris confirmed they were humpbacks by their voice; the colony, about 1/2 mile out. Incredible.
Sarah took Nathaniel's family down the beach to release turtles, and wouldn't you know it, that a lora came up to nest. These kids are going to remember this for the rest of their lives. A Tico family came soon after and it was so great to see them running down the beach with excitement to see the lora. This is what it's all about; just a great feeling. Today has been good.