Thursday, February 26, 2009

Making friends with the POLICIA :)

Today we started our Directed Research projects. For my DR, I am working with one of the professors (and 2 students) investigating the role of sea turtle NGO's and community groups in enhancing local environmental awareness. Basically we go around different towns handing out surveys and/or doing interviews. Dining out is also a big theme of our project (I had delicious sopes and fries today!!!)

Today we surveyed people from San Carlos. My partner, Alyssa, and I spent most of our time chatting it up in the police station and giving the officers the surveys.

The station is hilarious. There is one small room with a single desk and a TV (which was playing "The Nanny" in Spanish) and a one cell...and that's about it. All in all we had a lot of fun. I definately need to work on my Spanish though.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Me and Lizzie with the giant cactus


Me tagging "Michael Jr."


Right now I am laying outside on a hammock relaxing and reflecting on the past 2 days of camping...

The trip was full of firsts for me.
My first time camping, unless you count sleeping in a tent in numerous backyards.
My first time playing backgammon...I won!
My first time peeing in the wilderness....sorry guys had to mention that one.
My first time seeing/touching a sea turtle...actually 10 sea turtles :)

So much stuff happened so I'm just going to begin with the most exciting things...

  • I rode a sea turtle.....It sounds kinda weird, but I did. When we release the turtles you walk them out to the water and when they start to swim you can hold on for a little ride. Of course you have to let go fairly quickly so you don't hurt them but it was still probably one of the coolest things I have ever done.

  • I measured and tagged my first turtle. The camping trip was specifically for turtle monitoring. Each night we had three 4 hour shifts that would go out to check the nets for sea turtles and anything else that got stuck (we caught two sting rays that we released). You have to check them every two hours so that the sea turtles don't drown (normally they can hold their breath up to 6 hours but when they are stuck in a net... its less). Then in the morning we measured and tagged them. The ones in the bay are juveniles so they were between 45-60 cm long and 16-25 kg (sorry I'm not sure about the conversions but they were pretty big and heavy. I'll post photos soon.) They are such amazing and beautiful creatures. When you see them it looks like they are crying but don't worry they aren't sad they just secrete concentrated salt water through their tear ducts to regulate their salinity.

For anyone who is wondering they were Chelonia Mydas or "Green" sea turtles.

  • I named a sea turtle. If you caught a untagged turtle on your shift you had the chance to officially name it. My shift caught one. We named it "Michael Jr." after my darling boyfriend. I love you. We also named one of the other ones "Luna" because it had a barnacle that looked like the moon.

  • I saw three shooting stars. My shift was from 8pm to 12am. Since there were only two nets to check twice we spent most of the laying back on the boat staring up at the starry sky. It was gorgeous... and freezing but still so amazing.

  • I learned some Spanish. With 4 hours and not much do I spent most of the time trying to have a conversation with Chilaco (one of our pangeras-boat drivers). Although I think most of the things he taught me I shouldn't trust. He's about my age and pretty funny. He spent most of the time trying to teach me to say that Sam (the staff on the boat with us) was a witch....but I caught on. He also likes to sing a lot...not very well I might add. I can't explain how funny have this guy standing up on the boat, belting Bob Marley "One Love" and "No women no cry" in a thick Mexican accent in the middle of the night.

  • We wrote a haikus for one of my classes. Some were pretty, others were deep, and some like mine were just kinda silly.

I can not go to pee
There are spiders everywhere
How traumatizing!

We also went swimming and snorkeling, built fires from cactus wood, played lots of "mafia", ate Mexican marshmallows (strawberry flavored...very weird), had class, went for a desert walk lecture, saw a coyote...and much more.

Monday, February 16, 2009

We are going camping for the next couple days in Banderitas to do sea turtle monitering. Very exciting, but unfortunately I will not have any forms of communication until Thursday night.

Saturday, February 14, 2009