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Pacuare Reserve
Costa Rica Family trip - turtles and rainforest, pacuare

Caiman on the river bank in Costa RicaCaiman on the river bank in Costa Rica (Laura Lovato)
Woke up early to find volunteers coming back from the morning patrols. People were excited because there were pancakes for breakfast, which was a treat. We had a visit from a mica snake (non-poisonous, see pics) in a bush by the lodge, with one of the resident cats hassling it a bit. It was a beautiful snake. Later on it ended up on our front porch, but one of the guys kindly relocated it for us. Maria and I were coming back from breakfast early. We got about three steps from the top and I saw a black line lying on the porch. I grabbed Maria and pulled her down a few steps. The snake popped his head up to look at us, from behind my hiking boots! He was not aggressive at all, just exploring, but we beat a hasty retreat. We went back to the kitchen and explained the situation. One of the guys went out to the porch. James followed a few minutes later to find the guy coming back. He said he moved the snake. When we got back to the porch we found he'd only moved it from the middle of the porch to the corner of the porch! Still not entirely comfortable with that... ahem... we enlisted Kate and her far superior spanish to explain we'd like the snake off the porch. She did and the snake found his way back to the jungle.

I imagine it was a good snake to have around -- eats rats and other pests. It was just a little too close for me, however.

We played in the surf that morning, and the girls found some fruit they could break open and use the shells as containers for their 'treasures'. The surf was pretty high so we only went in up to our knees. After lunch (awesome curried veges), Scott and another guide took us on a jungle hike. The jungle starts about 15 yards from the beach. We couldn't believe all the living creatures we saw -- frogs, crabs, lizards, monkeys, all sorts of exotic bugs, and even an eyelash pit viper, safely coiled on a branch by the path (couldn't see his face, though). One of the spider monkeys must not have liked the looks of James as he lingered behind taking pictures, and started throwing sticks and fruit at him! Must be a macho thing. Scott mentioned that sometimes the monkeys throw poo, so we quickly moved on. On the way back from the walk we went to do another nest excavation on the beach. Again, the kids loved it, even though we didn't find any live babies (boo hoo). Maria opened all the undeveloped eggs herself and helped categorize all the eggs. Scott was telling us about the International Sea Turtle Society, with annual meetings around the globe. There's a neat web site we checked out when we got home with some info and updates if you google 'international turtle conference'.

We were tired when we got back, so after dinner (pasta with a creamy sauce) the kids fell asleep before our nighttime patrol. Kate went with us and our guide this time. On patrol we found LOTS of hatchling tracks, but most of them we missed by what must have been less than an hour. At one nest, there was one little turtle who got left behind. His eyes were not yet open, so he wasn't quite ready to strike out on his own and we re-buried him gently back in the nest. On the way back, we saw fresh tracks out to the ocean, so perhaps that was our little guy making his move. The nighttime walks are tiring and James carried Sirena on his shoulders some of the time. Generally, though, the kids were troopers and walked the whole way.

Went to bed very tired.

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