Our series of blogs about life in Costa Rica continues…. we have placements in Costa Rica that can last over Christmas, so if you can picture yourself on a Pacific beach in central America next year, then read on to see what you could be doing…
This is the second location of our four- the paradise beach location.
The Paradise Beach
the last 10 days, was strange. My goodbyes were rushed and sad- I had just been developing a really close bond with some of the people here, and it seemed cruelly cut short. Any thoughts of sadness did not linger however, as I was keen to head on to my next placement- the paradise beach location. The idea of a different beach, different people, different project and different community really appealed to me- my current locaton had become comfortable, and I was ready for a new challenge.
The shock came when leaving the village. The surrounding roads had been converted into mud tracks thanks to the sheer volume of water that had thundered down them over the last few days in the deluge. Potholes like craters on the moon dotted the slippery mass of mud, making me feel very happy to be in the back of the 4×4 rather than up front in control. Apparently the drive took twice as long as usual.
Before heading to my new home we went to a small fishing community further along the coast. My next few hours were to be spent on a small motorboat, tackling the colossal Pacific waves on a trip along the coastline to see mating turtles. It was a beautiful sight. We saw two couples. Mating turtles float on top of the waves, moving wherever the sea chooses for them to go. The male is behind the female, looking like he is hugging her from behind. It’s amazing. I was told that it could last for a good few hours. In any case, they paid absolutely no heed to the six of us in the boat, allowing for excellent photo opportunities and a great video.
After the big ocean adventure, the boat headed up the estuary through the mangrove woods. I have never seen anything like it- the trees are very tall and thin, with roots that must be about three metres long, and above ground. They looked like lanky trees balancing on the legs of an overly large Daddy Long Legs.
My first impression of new home was the beach. The house is pretty much on the beach- it’s stunning. From the open living quarters you can see the waves crashing onto the sand and hear their roar. There is a cluster of palm trees surrounding the house, with the hatchery on the periphery, bordering the beach. The beach itself is perfect- about 3km of golden sands, straddled with palm trees. Gazing out over the cliffs in the distance, with the sun setting dramatically over the sea, casting a deep orange glow in the stormy skies, I knew that I would be very happy here.
I didn’t have time to dwell on that thought for long however. A local arrived at the beach hut, saying that a turtle had come to lay her eggs on the beach, and that the village poachers were already at the scene. It is very rare for turtles to come to the beach during the day, and when we arrived a group of maybe 20 villagers had accumulated. They looked relieved at the arrival of the turtle volunteers, safe in the knowledge that the poachers should not be able to get their hands on the eggs. After a tense few minutes, it became clear that the poachers were letting us take the eggs. But they were very unhappy about it. They seemed to think that those eggs belonged to them, purely because they had found them before us. Despite how illegal it is to poach eggs, this family continues. And unfortunately they always will- the police are fully aware that they take the eggs and sell them with an obscenely high profit, yet do nothing. It was then that I realised how different life here would be- we would be racing to beat the poachers to the eggs, who will ransack as many nests as they can. Each night we would have to dig up those eggs before the poachers, and transport them back to the hatchery, where with any luck they will be safe from prying hands.
This is going to be very different. Bring it on.