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01Jun14

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Turtle Refuge 3

In between Playa Barrigona and Playa Sámara is Playa Buena Vista, a beach typically only accessible during low tide and because its river-locked. The woman we’re renting our bungalow from, Cindy, took us there today to check it out.

When we arrived, we started on the other side of this muddy river. Since it was raining pretty heavily this morning, it was deeper than usual, but only to about mid-thigh. We took off our shoes and got some mud between our toes.

 

Rio Playa Buena Vista

 

Up the river (to the left) live crocodiles, but Cindy said the crocodiles don’t come down this far. Phew. She said it’s so muddy and cold because it originates up in the mountains, then meets the ocean just to the right…

 

Playa Buena Vista 1

 

There were only two other people on the beach, and we took a walk while she told us about how most people don’t live near or even visit this beach because it’s difficult to access. She knows it well and likes to come visit because it’s quiet. By this point, the cool temperature from this morning’s rain has worn off and Chris and I are sweating like crazy.

 

Playa Buena Vista 2

 

The other thing this beach is known for is turtles! There are several species of sea turtles that lay their eggs here, most of which are endangered. Sometimes the causes are human-made, such as turtles eating plastic bags, being strangled with fishing nets, or being poached for their shells. Other times, it’s things like raccoons eating their eggs. About half way down the beach, we came across this turtle refuge.

 

Turtle Refuge 1

 

Turtle Refuge 2

 

The volunteers live in the cabins behind the refuge. Every day, they watch for turtles laying eggs. Then, they go dig them up and bury them in this fenced off area.

When the lizards would get close to the fence, a couple dogs would bark to scare them away!

In the evenings, they check to see if any baby turtles have hatched and help them make their way into the ocean. Once they’re in the ocean, it’s up to them to survive. They estimate that only one out of every 100 do, both because of natural predators and human-made threats. We chatted with one of the workers, who said today is the first day of the breeding season, so soon all the space they have will be full.

Afterwards, we took a nice (but also really hot!) walk along a jungle trail where Cindy pointed out different plants and little critters. We saw a really huge, full-sized crab wandering around, along with lots of lizards. Here she is being a hand model.

 

Cangrejos

 

She also showed us some trees that grow a type of almond, some cotton plants, and the seeds of this spiky plant — it looked a little like a dead venus flytrap — that people turn into jewelry or bead curtains.

We still continue to be amazed by the nature that’s all around us and are realizing just how nature-poor our lives were, even living in a place like the San Francisco Bay Area with all its open space. At first I thought all the critters would creep me out, but they’re really not so bad. Except scorpions — those are always bad.

 

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