Blogging about travel can be such a conundrum. On the road, there usually isn’t the time or the reliable access to internet so writing posts and uploading photos in real time is often difficult. On the flip side, returning home to routines and daily busyness can also make it difficult to sit down and recollect just what it is that one did or saw each day. Even though it’s been several months now since we’ve returned, I wanted to take this moment to post some favorites from the trip.
1. Favorite photo of Scribbler: with her green “hat” in the rainforest. I just loved this moment when our guide talked about how the people of Costa Rica would put these leaves on their heads to keep cool in the heat and of course, Scribbler enthusiastically gave it a go. It was wonderful to travel with someone who so wholeheartedly enjoyed each new experience. Here’s to a child-like heart!
2. Favorite new way of making coffee: the chorreador. Many Costa Ricans still use the traditional way of making coffee by putting grinds into a cloth filter called a chorreador that’s supported by a wood frame, pouring the hot water in, and waiting for the coffee to slowly drip
through. Apparently one has to always use a dry filter and to never wash it with soap, only salt, thus leaving the filter “well-used.” Some of these chorreadors are fancy, like the one Sonia, the director of the language school we visited, used for making us an afternoon pick-me-up but many are simple, like the ones we saw in kitchens in people’s homes.
3. Favorite natural sighting: seeing a green turtle laying her eggs. We actually have not had a chance to share about this experience on the blog yet but one of the things that Scribbler and I got to do was to visit Tortugeuro National Park on the Caribbean coast, which is an area famous as a nesting ground for turtles including the Green sea turtle, the Leatherback turtle, and the Hawksbill turtle. In order to get to the town of Tortuga which was the closest town, we had to go by boat through a canal to reach the coast. There are no roads to Tortuga. All visitors who want the opportunity to see the sea turtles nesting must go with a guide at night to the beach in order to catch a chance at seeing a female turtle laying its eggs. In the right season, you might even catch the young turtles scrambling back to the sea after hatching. We were in Costa Rica at the start of the nesting season and had heard rumors that people had spotted turtles laying eggs on the beach earlier in the week; however, there is never a guarantee with wildlife that they will appear, but we took our chances.
At around 8pm, we put on our darkest, least reflective clothes, met our group and guide, and headed out to the beach. Since we were not allowed to use flashlights for fear of scaring the turtles, we were all pretty much stumbling around in the dark on the sand. However, the most amazing lightening storm was flashing in the sky while we waited for the guide to look around for turtles. The guides could carry a red light, which was not as disturbing to the turtles, and after about 20 minutes of waiting, we were excited to hear that there was a female making a nest nearby and that once she started laying eggs, we could go and take a look.
Adult females weigh about 100-200kg (or about 200-400lbs!) and lay about 100 ping-pong sized eggs each time she nests. Each season, she may come to shore 2-3 times and then not return for another 2-4 years. Female turtles dig a hole in the sand with their flippers and once they begin laying, go into almost a trance so that observers do not scare or disturb turtles in that state.
There were several other guides and groups at the beach so we all waited quietly in the dark, enjoying the sea breeze and the lightening storm. After about 30 minutes or so, the turtle had started laying eggs and so we crept quietly to where she lay to watch. It’s hard to convey what a mystical and magical moment this was. As we watched her drop dozens of eggs into the shell, we felt this profound connection with something ancient and primordial. Turtles can live up to a hundred years and they tend to return to the same site to lay their eggs, year after year, decade after decade. To witness this cycle was truly amazing.
There is so much more that I could share, but I will end here for now. Thanks for following this journey with us, and we look forward to returning again next summer with a group of fellow adventurers!