Today was an early morning after a very late patrol night, and although we were tired we got up to eat and see the water. Around this time is when we really first started being introduced to the other volunteers from around the world- Belgium, London, Maine, Wisconsin, and Costa Rica itself! Breakfast was good- eggs, toast, fruit, and a combination of rice and beans referred to as ‘Gallo Pinto’ (roughly translated to ‘painted rooster’). After our morning started, we went on a short tour around Junquillal to see the hatchery, the reforestation areas, the nursery, and the mangrove. Just in this short time we managed to see iguanas, black hawks, howler monkeys, and a Mot Mot- the national bird of Nicaragua! Following our tour, we ate a lunch of garbanzo beans, rice, and a burger patty. As a few of us did the dishes, the others went to get us all ice cream as a refresher from the heat. One of the Verdiazul volunteers, Ben, presented a short power point over the types of turtles and the many dangers to them before we headed to the beach to learn about finding their nests and removing their eggs on the shores. While the information was extremely interesting and helpful to us all, the heat and exhaustion were diminishing our spirits until we heard the news- the babies had hatched! Nicknamed ‘Lora’ after a type of macaw locals believe to have a similar beak, the Olive Ridley’s were 72 in number. We all took several photographs as we hopped on then bus to return them to their original beach. As they were released, we named them, raced them, and showed them to a young local boy who was excited to play in the sand. After all the excitement, we returned to our cabana and swam in the pool to cool off from the long day. We returned to Verdiazul for dinner, and added a super spicy salsa to our food to try it out! Tonight it is storming pretty hard, so night patrol might have to be put on hold. Overall, Costa Rica is a beautiful country beaming with life in every corner and, even though it’s only the first full day, it has been incredibly rewarding and life changing. 

-Taylor Keeler-


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