We apologize for delay in entries and will try and get caught up today.
After breakfast today, we were given the opportunity to travel into the actual town of Tamarindo for shopping and sightseeing. (Because we have been working mainly at night, we forget how hot the days actually are but we all are enjoying being out of the winter weather!) This area is very rural but still has a very large tourist presence due to the nesting habits of many of the large sea turtles. Because this is a national park, all areas are heavily regulated including the fact that no tourists can be on the beach at night. As volunteers for the Leatherback Trust, we are given specific shirts to wear, can only patrol in groups of 3 of less, and our team leads must be certified for each section of the beach. No white light can be used at all as this has the potential to disorientate the turtles and the new hatchlings. There are special permits for certain tour groups so non-volunteers may have the opportunity if a sighting happens. For those fortune enough to be with such a guide, they must wait outside of the park and if a sighting occurs, then they are radioed in, process to the nesting area, with the strictest of rules, especially where they can stand, the number of tourists and again, absolutely no photographs.
We are approaching the end of the nesting cycles for these turtles, so only 2 have been seen over the past 4 days. So far both Dale and Karen have witnessed a leatherback laying eggs so now Carol is waiting for her opportunity.
1045 PM: Our nighttime patrols have been assigned some we all head out to our designated areas. Our feet are all hurting due the sand that still seems to find its way into our shoes, plus the struggle of walking at high tide in the soft sand, but we are all willing to suffer through, in order to see this magnificent animals. We all take turns watching the hatchery, as these babies are almost ready to emerge and the raccoons also are aware of this. They are becoming extremely bold so we are all working very hard at protecting these new babies.
As the end of our shift approaches, we realize it has been another night with no leatherback sightings, so it is time to walk back to our van, shower, and crawl into bed, with the hopes the the next night will be more fruitful