Written by Emily
31st March, 1st April, 2nd April
The morning after the first patrol saw Rach and I jolted violently awake by the sound of about 6000 howler monkeys screaming at each other, after very little sleep, feeling rank, skank and damp and highly entangled in our voluminous mosquito nets. The first words i heard from Rach that morning, were a detailed reccount of the first of many dreams of pure insanity that would plague her Gandoca nights for the full 10 days. The details of this dream I can barely recall, but I do remember that they terrified me to my inner-most core.
After a shockingly amazing and artery-clogging breakfast of fried bread and peanut butter, slices of fresh pinapple and green plantains, we felt ready to face the day. A shame really that until our 3pm hatchery duty, the day consisted of nothing more that an anneurism- inducingly cold, rainwater shower, and then about 5 hours just laying in a hamock with a book. Due to a severe lack of reading material on Rachel´s part, she was forced to succum to the dangerous persuit of dipping into none other than......The Twilight Saga. The hours passed leisurely, only interspersed by casual conversation with a few of the other voluteers, Rachel, Abby and Archie, who are all fellow English cool kids.
The main highlight of the day came when Elias decided to clamber into the hamock that Rach and I were occupying, causing alarming cracking sounds and splinters of wood to fall from the station floor above. On seeing this, Archie began to swing himself furiously back and fourth, whilst chuckling at the dangerous situation, only to cause his own precarious, threadbare hamock to become detatched on one side from the flaky floorboards above, sending him sprawling and crashing to the dusty, ant and crab-populated jungle floor. Many lols ensued.
Soon after this, it was time for our very first hatchery duty, which involves two hour´s hard labour, seiving sand, digging holes, marking out areas and clearing the beach of general, turtle birth-hindering debris. After about two seconds of seiving, using giant, 1m long seives that require two people to shove back and frowards, and my arms were pretty much on strike. The general upper-body weakness that i so irrtatingly possess casued me to soon be relegated to the much less strenuous job of emptying the seive as it became full of shells, leaves, ancient fossils, historical arftifacts, coke cans and dead animals. Soon though, the work was done, and all volunteers, staff and locals cruised off on the 20min beach walk back to the station for a rice and bean dinner.
That night´s patrol took a turn for the bizarre, when me and Jairo were merrily strolling along, enjoying a highly one-sided Spanish convo, when we stumbled across a tortuga. No sooner had i rummaged around in his spacious rucksack for the data sheet, than we were joined by about 30 american tourists, literally out of nowhere, crowding round with their ´flashlights´, peering mega into the nest and right up in my grill and asking every question about turtle welfare under the sun. Most of these questions i had simply no hope of answering, and so i found myself fabricating some highly questionable answers that definately would not have stood up to any scrutiny or internet research. After a while of this, i was growing agitated, mainly due to Jairo´s constant sighs and jabbering into his walkie-talkie. It was at this point that i took a stand, feeling like a hefty fraud, and told the americans to stand back, switch off thier torches and be silent as we needed to tend to the tortuga. Official.
The next few days passed in much the same way, the only highlights being Joao, one of the staff member´s purchase of a shiny new hamock, which he became mega protective over and screamed at anyone who should let their gaze fall anywhere near it. I also experienced a revelation, on the subject of the sexy, sexy fashionista combo of socks-and-crocs. After swearing blind that i would never put my feet anywhere near a pair of crocs as long as i live, i found myself on my third night patrol, not only wearing a bright blue pair that had been kindly let out by Rachel (not Hunter, other) who was leaving to San Jose for a few days before returning to Gandoca, but with a pair of knee high, grey socks to complete the fashion fail wholeheartedly. I am eternally glad that flash photography on patrol was strictly prohibited. Other than that, our lives for these few days involved a hefty amount of rice, beans and poker. Good times.