Written by Emily
Today began in an intense fashion, as I was screamed awake by Howler Monkeys as usual, but then immediately informed by Rachel's manic recounts that she had experienced a waking nightmare the night before, in which I had drowned horribly. Delightful. A mightily healthy way to start my day.
The main excitement today came very much in the form of new volunteer arrivals. Among them was a young American guy named Matt. However, these and any other details of his life/personality/like and dislikes were instantly grossly overshadowed by the fact that he was wearing a pair of TOE-SHOES. Now, this choice of footwear takes some explaining. Basically, imagine gloves, but for your feet, made out of wetsuit material, and bam, you're imagining Toe-shoes. I think our fascination with them can only be expressed through this dialogue-
Me-'So, your name's Matt? And you're from the US- WOAH! OMG look at you shoes!!'
(everyone else cranes to get a look in, and awed sounds of amazement are heard all round)
Matt-'Yeah, my shoes...'
Me-'They've got like, like, holes for each toe! Like toe socks, but toe shoes!'
Matt-(Nervously laughs) 'Yeah...'
Me-'So, what are they like to wear?'
Matt-'Er, pretty much like having bare feet, like if you walk over a rock you can feel it'.
Me-'So, in many ways, they're completely pointless.... But still, bloody hell, look at them!'
After this fun, we were introduced to Sue, a middle-aged woman on a wild, travelling whirlwind tour of the world. Once a nice conversation between Sue, me, Rach, Rachel, Abby and Archie had passed, generally about the joys of being British, more excitement came. Elias, after having spent the past few days in San Jose for a jungle-life reprieve, strolled back on into the station, bringing gifts for Rach and I. Purely because of our constant nagging requests that he share the San Jose wealth and bring us back some proper, fat-laiden food from his trip, Rach was presented with a packet of gummy snakes, and me with a family biscuit selection box. I had never experienced that same level of joy. Rice and beans could funk off.
Presently, it was 3 o clock, and Hatchery-work time. Luckily, as the sun was at this point mega scorching it's way over the beach, the work that had been lined up for us to complete was nothing short of a doss. In order to compress the sand, we were required to simply walk up and down the hatchery for the full two hours, lending a strange poultry-farm vibe to the day in general. We passed this time by singing obscure songs from the Mighty Boosh with Abby, which was found funny and endearing by the locals, staff and other volunteers at first, but as the time wore on, the looks of annoyance began to wear through. Seeing that the out- of -tune racket was growing tiresome, we decided to find new ways to irritate our fellow workers. Looking around at the pile of discarded flip-flops and water bottles, i spied an opportunity. Toe-shoes had released his feet from their sweaty, indivdual prisons, and had left his precious footwear lying around on the sand. Rach and i instantly leapt our way around various other plodding bodies to the hatchery entrance, and grabbed a shoe each. Lopsidedly, we slopped our way back over to Toe-shoes and continued our conversation with him as if all was normal. It took an excrutiatingly long time for him to register our badly-hidden smirks and to realise that his shoes were out and about on different feet, but he took it fairly well, only commenting 'you know, most people just go 'hey, nice shoes man', you guys have been at it for a full 6 hours now!'
Poor old Toe-shoes and his famous last words. He was stuck on late night patrol that night with me and Elias for mocking company. As the patrol crept by and the Toe-shoes jokes flowed free and easy, more and more turtles were being found. Out of sheer desperation we can only assume, Chris decided to tend to the turtles with young Toe-shoes for help, and to send me and Elias up the beach to check for any more. This truly was a spectacularly bad idea on her part, as due to late-night hamock times, both of us were feeling groggy and sleep-deprived to the absolute max. Instead of doing our job and searching for turtles, what we decide to locate instead were comfortable logs to sleep against, and wholeheartedly ignore any nesters that happened to come our way. After having literally fallen asleep against a log in the wet sand, we were jolted awake by the sound of voices and leapt up in an incrimiating manner, desperately trying to look official and not at all like we were simply dossing and sleeping on the job.
Unbelievebaly, Chris fell for our c*** and bull story about a Menai (local police) officer engaging us in conversation and stopping us from returning to the original turtles in time, and let us continue to wonder off by ourselves for most of the residual patrol. At one ridiculous point, we were so occupied by scouting for decent-sized, sleep-friendly logs, that we actually almost tripped over a fully grown, leatherback turtle and were only alerted to its presence by a large, spluttering snort that it let out, presumably to stop us both crashing down onto it's moistened shell. It truly was a hearty example of how not to save turtles from extinction.
So yeah, the patrol ended in the usual sandy bed way, me terrified of what masacres and hellish deaths Rachel's dreams would bring that night...