Dublin High Sea Turtle and Forest Ecology 2014

Dublin High Sea Turtle and Forest Ecology 2014 Blog #8

This entry was written by Adrian Loaiza of Dublin High

Costa Rica day 8. All good things eventually come to an end, and today is proving that true. We’ve had so many great experiences, created so many amazing bonds, and so many extravagant memories for all of us! All kinds of activities; hiking, forest plotting, white water rafting, surfing, zip-lining, long car rides, beach walks, the ocean, hatchery watching, the food, random bug infestations, cool animals, SLOTHS, and even the extra downtime that we had. It all ties together to make it really worth it. But now it’s time to go.

So we woke up around 3 in the morning so we could leave around 4 to the San Jose airport. Our flight was originally supposed to leave between 6-7. We receive our ticket and get news that it’s all changed to 8:15. Ok. But wait. No. How about 9:55. Alright extra hours to sleep. Wait how about 10:30 because a nut on the wheel came off and now we have to change the tire. Thanks Delta. -_-

We finally got on the plane. About 5 hours until we land in LAX. It’s sad, but the closer we get home the happier we get. The only place we really want to be is home in bed at this point. It’s been a long morning, and the eagerness is eating us up.

We landed and theres only a couple things left: customs, airport security, then home. As soon as we arrive in our gate, people are boarding, it’s just perfect! So once we board, we’ve got only about an hour left until were home. It’s such a relief. It’s been a long morning for all of us, and sleep is all thats on our mind.

We landed in SF, CA. FINALLY. Everyone meets up with their families, grabs their bags, and says their last goodbyes to the group. It’s been a great experience for all of us. How often do high-schoolers get to go out of the country alone? There’s so many people that don’t get this opportunity, and we all have to realize how lucky we are. If a trip like this comes up again, it would be great to go. Wherever it may be, at least it’s away from home.

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Dublin High Sea Turtle and Forest Ecology 2014

Dublin High Sea Turtle and Forest Ecology 2014 Blog #7

This entry was written by Adrian Loaiza of Dublin High

Costa Rica day number 7. Our last day staying in this breathtaking country. We have to make the best of it.

Once we were all awake, we went down for breakfast. Another buffet! We got to choose from eggs, breakfast meats, different fruits, and breads. But what really made this morning what it was ended up being able to see PACKS of White-headed capuchins all over the restaurant. Of course none of them got too close, but it was still great to see all of them!

After breakfast, we all agreed to go down to the beach for the last time. We took a shuttle down and as soon as we got out we ran into the water. For a while we messed around in the waves by trying to body surf on rocky sand. Smart, right? Anyways, as soon as we saw a fairly big wave was about to break, we would start to swim towards shore and just let the wave take us wherever it pleases. Besides all the rocks, it was ridiculously fun! A great “goodbye” to the Costa Rican ocean.

After our beach time, we had some time to pack up our suitcases before we had to load them onto the van. After we were all packed and ready to go, we had our last meal at the Punta Leona. It was very similar to dinner last night, with only a few added things. It was still a great way to say goodbye to an amazing resort!

So we are on the road again. But before we go to our last hotel, we have one more big activity, and that is zip-lining! It seemed like such a great day to go zip-lining, until we got about 4 platforms down…thats when the heat really got turned up. Once we got to the zip-lining company, they strapped us all up and we drove a tractor up to the first platform. It was perfectly fine until all of a sudden…KABOOM. The first few strikes were fine and it was safe to go down, but as soon as that thunderbolt hit a couple trees down…we knew we were done. Plus, a tree fell on a line, so it wouldn’t be so smart to go down an occupied line. So we took an occupied line back close to where we started originally and waited for the tractor that hauled us up to take us back down. So rain, thunder, and zip-lining…I say it’s a heck of an end! ^.^

After that experience, we dried up and headed to San Jose,Costa Rica. Since we sorta got rained out, Nacho let us stop for ice-cream and smoothies at a local souvenir shop on the way. A lot of us needed to stop for gifts anyways, so it was perfect. After our shopping haul, we headed back on the road for several hours so we could make it to our final destination: Hotel Costa Rica Tennis Club, San Jose. It was…interesting in that city. For example, just around the corner from where we were staying there was a parking garage. And who was standing there guarding the place? Why none other than a man in a tuxedo holding a shotgun. Just another day in San Jose, right?

We all finally got to load out of the van after hours, and picked our rooms for the little time we were staying. Finally after we settled in, we went down for our farewell dinner. We were all served chicken, mixed vegetables, and mashed potatoes. A good dinner to a goodbye.

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Dublin High Sea Turtle and Forest Ecology 2014

Dublin High Sea Turtle and Forest Ecology 2014 Blog #6

This entry was written by Adrian Loaiza of Dublin High

It’s been a long day. We woke up extra early this morning so we could hit the road. As soon as we got up, we grabbed our bags and packed up the bus. Once we did a head count and were all packed in, we went down for breakfast. It wasn’t too much, just some toast and mixed fruit. Something quick so we could start driving. It took about an hour or so to get down to the beach, nothing too long. As soon as we reached our destination, surfing school commenced. We were given our surf shirts, and taught how to properly get up on a board to catch a wave. We all practiced a couple of times, then were separated to 2 groups, just because all of us at once would never work. We were all given a couple turns each to ride some waves, and everyone seemed to really enjoy it! We all might have wiped out, got smacked by a wave while swimming out, or even struggled to get up a couple times, but it was all worth it!

After our surfing class, we hit the road to our next stay: the Punta Leona. It was going to take a while to get up there, so we stopped for lunch out at an ocean view authentic Costa Rican restaurant. We were able to choose from a small menu, some food items including fajitas, nachos, and seafood. After our settling lunch, we got back on the road.

The beauty of the resort is crazy. Theres so much to do in the so little time that we have. Theres a beach, mini golfing, foosball, and a couple pools! Also, our rooms are separated by country. Some countries were Jamaica and Honduras, or at least those were the two that were taken by us.

For dinner, it was a large buffet! There were all kinds of vegetables, meats, pastas, and a large variety of deserts. That dinner was a great way to call an end to our night. It sucks were only able to stay for one night.

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Dublin High Sea Turtle and Forest Ecology 2014

Dublin High Sea Turtle and Forest Ecology 2014 Blog #5

This entry was written by Adrian Loaiza of Dublin High

Costa Rica Day 5: 8/5/14
Today has been a great day for all of us! We started it out by waking up early in the morning so we could quickly eat breakfast and hit the road again. Once we ate, we hopped in the van and went for about an hour long ride to our next point of interest: White Water Rafting. We were all so excited about this! It’s so hard not to enjoy water rafting! So once we got there, we were told the rules of water rafting, strapped on our life vests, grabbed our helmets and headed towards the water with our guides. The rafts could only hold about 6 people, so we divided up into Red and Blue teams like we always do. We started out by putting the rafts in the middle of the river, and we had to climb in from there. It was a great start, because almost as soon as we got in there was a quick flowing stream ahead of us. So we rowed and rowed, fell a couple feet down every once in a while, and even got slapped in the face by the water. Considering the fact that there were two teams, there was a little rivalry going on while in the water… for example it was a race to the fast-paced moving water. Although once we got to slower waters, thats when it was time to put our paddles to good use and splash water all over the other raft.

After our rafting, we climbed back up to the van. We got some time to look at pictures that were taken, and even got some fresh pineapple! We were given some time to settle down before our next job: volunteering. Our goal today was to build a fence in front of the hatchery out of firewood and logs that we find on the beach. It’s purpose is so that later in the year when the tide really starts to come in, that it will break the tide so it doesn’t flood up, which can really mess up the goal of protecting the turtle eggs. It was really a team effort, and took all of us to make this project happen. In the end, it’s all for a good cause.

The rest of that night was really laid back. We got some down time in the pool, and all just hung out in the cabins. Nothing too big, just being with everyone to make the night worth it.

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Dublin High Sea Turtle and Forest Ecology 2014

Dublin High Sea Turtle and Forest Ecology 2014 Blog #4

This entry was written by Adrian Loaiza of Dublin High

Costa Rica Day 4: 8/4/14
Monday. Today has been different for everyone. The reason I say that is because we all had different shifts with the hatchery. For example, it started from as early as 6 in the morning to 3 in the evening. The main idea of guarding the hatchery was to protect the turtle eggs from being attacked by crabs, ants, and even being taken by poachers. We would also throw out leaves and anything else that might have dropped in the guarded area. We guarded in groups of 2 and lasted for about 3 hours each. It was actually really nice, we got an amazing view of the ocean and it had a great breeze to it!

Our meals today were pretty good! For example, breakfast was just pancakes. Nothing too complicated, but still great! But during lunch we had rice, beans, salad, and green beans fried in egg. For dinner, we were served fried rice, beans, and salad. The fried rice was a bit of a surprise, but still amazing!

Some time after lunch, some of us went back to help with our next volunteering project. We helped pull the weeds out of the walkway, so it could look a lot nicer and more appealing. It didn’t seem like that much until we actually got down and realized an hour later we haven’t even pulled out a quarter of what was there. But we filled up about 2 1/2 crated of full on weeds, so at least something was getting done. But we weren’t over-worked. We had about an hour limit, so we wouldn’t be working all night gardening. We might have gotten dirty and even got bit by ants, but it was pretty fun for all of us.

Later that night, we went on another patrol. It was about a mile longer than last night, but the moon was shining brighter so at least we could see where we were going. We sadly didn’t get to see any sea turtles, but at least it was a good night time beach walk!

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Dublin High Sea Turtle and Forest Ecology 2014

Dublin High Sea Turtle and Forest Ecology 2014 Blog #3

This entry was written by Adrian Loaiza of Dublin High

Costa Rica day 3: 8/3/14
Moving Day! We are finally going to change cabins from the forest to
the beach. Once we wake up, we spend about a half-hour packing before
we pack our things on the bus and eat breakfast. For breakfast, we
were served ham & eggs with pancakes on the side. It was really an
amazing start to the day. After breakfast, we hopped on the bus to
start our ride to the next lodge, The Imperial. The drive up here took
about 3 hours, with a “happy stop” in the middle.

During the car ride, about every one of us fell asleep all because of
the long day we just had. But once we arrived, that was all behind
us…all because of the hot, humid sun. Yes, the rumors proved to be
very real. We knew we would get used to it eventually, but it felt
like time would just slow down completely.

We were given our first lunch as soon as we arrived. We had some form
of pork, a salad, rice, and beans. A great way to start out this next
experience! After our meal, we drove just down the road to our lodge,
where we were given our assigned rooms and key. It ended up being a
slight upgrade! The rooms were bigger, which means more space, and we
finally got wi-fi! Once we all settled in, we grouped together to have
a meeting about the sea turtles, what is done to protect them, and
talked about what we were going to do for the next 2 nights on the sea
turtle patrol. After the meeting, we followed our sea turtle expert
Gabriel to the hatchery where we would learn the rules of guarding the
hatchery and earn how to properly dig a hole specifically for the sea
turtle eggs. Once we finished up, we were split into two teams to go
out on patrol separately tonight, one team would walk starting at 8,
while the other went at 10.

After the quick demo, we didn’t have much time to spare until dinner.
We were given rice, beans, mixed vegetables, and some form of sausage
covered in sauce. Yum! Once we finished our dinners, we headed back to
our lodge for about an hour before the first group would go out on
patrol. When the first team left, we had to walk with our flashlights
off, and the only light we had was the moonlight. Otherwise, the
turtles could get scared off. There wasn’t very much that happened for
either groups the first night. We didn’t really get to see any sea
turtles just yet, so now we just hope that we get to see something
tomorrow night!

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Dublin High Sea Turtle and Forest Ecology 2014

Dublin High Sea Turtle and Forest Ecology 2014 Blog #2

This entry was written by Adrian Loaiza of Dublin High

Day 2 of Costa Rica: 8/2/14
This morning, we woke up around 6:45 to go down for an early
breakfast. We were served eggs, toast, rice, beans, and cheese. After
taking some time to eat, we had about a half hour to pack our daypack
and head out to the primary forest location. Once we finished our hike
up, we quickly continued our forest plotting. Except this time, we
actually marked the tape that we wrapped our tree by the width and
tree number. It was all the same measurements as before, except the
two teams switched places. Red team measured the upper region, and the
blue team went down into the lower region.

After all of the groups finished plotting their data, we went on the
biggest hunt for a vine to swing off of. Nacho said that there was a
vine way up into the forest, and of course everyone wanted to go! So
we went on a 2 1/2 hour adventure through our primary forest on the
hunt for our vine. We ran into some pretty cool animals such a snakes,
frogs, a millipede, and amazing insects that just loved to bite. Once
we finally found the vine, we noticed 2 things: 1. The vine was too
thin to support all of our weight. 2.It was in too much of a dangerous
place for us to swing in. So, we decided to keep on going until we
passed by the first vine again. Once we finally reached it, we spent
about 15 minutes taking turns swinging on the vine.

Once we finished our workout in the forest, we had about a short
amount of time until we would begin to head out to the coffee
plantation. It wasn’t as expected from a plantation. Once you pull
into the driveway, you see a large factory-looking building. But on
the side, they were growing couple bushes for the coffee beans and
some avocado trees as well. We got a short tour of the factory, which
was actually pretty cool! We watched a short video on how the coffee
beans were picked, left out, and distributed to countries worldwide.
Afterwards, we strapped on our hard hats and received a tour of their
factory from our guide Gaby. We were shown all the machines used for
taking the skin off the beans, drying the beans, then bagging up the
beans. When he tour finished, we were treated to coffee of our own
choosing.

Shortly after, we were given the chance to go for a swim in the local
indoor rec pool. It was nice for a public pool and everyone really
enjoyed themselves! From there we went back to our cabins where we
were given some time before we were served dinner. We were served
mashed potatoes, ribs, and salad. It was delicious! What really closed
the night was all of us getting together for a game of 20Q. What’s
left now is to pack up for the next cabin! 😀

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