ShelbySkinner's Travel Journals


  • 27 years old
  • From Yellowknife, Canada
  • Currently in San Jose, Costa Rica

My adventures through Costa Rica, Peru, and Ecuador

Weekly updates of my trip

Samana dos son las Tortugas!

Costa Rica Tamarindo, Costa Rica  |  Sep 28, 2014
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Well a lot of amazing things have happened during week three of being in Costa Rica! 

On Sunday I went to town with another volunteer who is from Germany. We went to a beach town called Tamarindo which is full of tourists and had pizza, ice cream, and a few well deserved beverages! We also did some shopping and I got a nice tank top, some postcards, and coffee.

On Monday night I saw my first turtle lay her eggs! It all happened within an hour of her emerging from the ocean. First she digs a body pit which isn't usually very deep. She does this by moving her front flippers back and forth to redistribute the sand around her. Then she starts digging the egg chamber, which is a little less than a meter deep, using her back flippers. Often the turtles will leave the nest if there are too many roots or other things in the way. This was a good spot so she decided to lay her 77 eggs. They came out one to two at a time and landed in my hand, probably one of the coolest things I have experienced in my life! The eggs are about the size of pool balls and are soft so when they drop they don't break. The female is in a trance-like state so she doesn't even notice us taking her eggs so once she is done laying them she starts covering up the nest and then heads back to the ocean. We take the eggs and relocate them somewhere else on the beach so poachers can't find them. This was a busy night for us as we had three turtles lay eggs on the beach so we didn't get back to the house until 1:30 in the morning. So far I have seen black, green, and olive Ridley lay theireggs on the beach.

I also had my first swim in the Pacific Ocean! The water is much warmer here than it was in Cabo! The waves on the beaches near the house are really small so it makes for easy swimming. There are also really strong currents so you have to make sure you don't get pulled out too far! I have spent three days in the ocean and could stay in the water forever.

We also did a beach cleanup this week. There is so much garbage that either gets left on the beach or gets washed up on shore by the tides. I partially cleaned Playa Njesus and completely cleaned Playa Real. Playa Njesus is a 30 minute walk from the house so it was very long and awkward walk home. Playa Real is a more popular beach so most of the garbage is left behind by people. I picked up two big garbage bags worth of water bottles, flip flops, bottle caps, and styrofoam! I only cleaned about a quarter of playa Njesus but I could have probably gotten three bags of garbage off that beach, it is really sad.

On Thursday Sofi left after spending four weeks volunteering with las Tortugas. She is heading back to Germany to study pharmacy in university so I wish her well! We also got a new volunteer Matilda who is from Sweden. She speaks very good English so it was nice to have someone to talk to plus she is super friendly. Matilda is also joining me on my outing to Ricon de la Veija National Park to do a canopy tour, explore the volcano, and spend some time at the hot springs and spa :) Matilda followed me around on Friday to learn the ropes. We spent an hour swimming in the ocean on Friday and I got the worst sunburn of my trip so far! My shoulders, neck, and back were as red as a lobster but hopefully it turns into a nice tan eventually!

I can't believe I have less than a week left in beautiful Costa Rica! The people have been great, the food is amazing, the sites are incredible, and I have been really pleased with the turtle program! I am really going to miss the pastry truck that delivers scrumptious sweets; the lemon and chocolate cakes are to die for! I can't wait to come back! Next update will be from Peru! Ciao!

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