Turtles all the way down
Mar 7, 2018
Up at a reasonable time and off to Central Park for breakfast. Stop in a small place at the edge of the square and have an omelet and some fruit. Also Negro tea. The we head off to but Kitty a pair of sun glasses as hers had vanished somewhere.
Back to the room then off to the chocolate museum! We found it and paid the admission and discovered it wasn’t the chocolate museum after all! It was the archeological museum. Actually, it was quite well done with good informative plaques and many examples of historic – pre-Colombian pottery – small bowls where people ate individually and communal bowls for larger groups. There must be an amazing number of artifacts available (latest discovery in 2014) and there were actual historic pieces representing animals tied to strings so kids could match the figure with accompanying photographs! Quite worth the visit.
We did discover “The Chocolate Museum” which turned out to be a small store and restaurant.
Back to the hotel and we sat down to have a coke. About 12:15 our transport arrived and off we went. Van was quite full but there as AC so no problem. The ride lasted about three hours with a couple stops. As we drove down the road Volcano Conception was visible in the distance. Highest volcano in Nicaragua at 1610 meters. Its last eruption was in 2007. It is so high that there is actually a cloud forest at the top!
We finally got to San Juan del Sur and were dropped at our hotel – the “Beach Please Hotel.” As the name implies it was quite the low rent place. Our room, right next to the entrance, had no windows, no hot water, no table lamp, and one 6”x6” picture on the wall! A nice bed though.
We dumped our stuff, got a map (which was much harder than you would imagine) and headed down to the beach to see what we could see. The beach itself was very level and in a “C” shaped cove. This made the breakers come in as perfect waves – which is one reason this place is known for surfing! There was a big statue of Christ overlooking the beach, a fishing boat being repaired on the beach, and lots of restaurants/bars right next to the beach. Hardly anyone on the beach as well.
Then we walked into town looking for a place that offered tours and, after some groaning that there were no places, came upon a place called “O’Shop.” While mostly surfing and fishing there were a couple of interesting things and we decided on one for this evening – the turtle release. It was about 4:00 and the tour was to start at 5:00 so we stopped at a Thai restaurant next door – Pad Thai was quite good an unusually fast – but we were a bit late. Interesting entertainment was a sound truck that passed by a couple time. Very loud!
Stopped back at the shop and asked if they could pick us up in our hotel “across from the doughnut shop.” No problem. We grabbed stuff and waited and the drives finally showed up around 5:20. Off we went.
We stopped to pick up three folks who were going out to one of the resorts (workers0, then, after a couple stops, we picked up a lady with a Mother’s Day cake – she was having trouble with it on aa a passenger on a motorcycle. Dropped her off then picked up three soldiers who were going to the barracks behind the nature center. We finally got there about 6:30 – just after sunset.
We walked up to the center and there were about eight baskets of Ridley’s turtle babies – about 25 in a basket. We couldn’t take flash photos but it was an amazing sight. We got to take two baskets each and walked down to the ocean, At one spot where a channel had been carved by the waves we let the turtles go. As the waves came in one or two would swim out and a bunch would be washed further up the shore. We then would move them closer as Kitty held the light to guide them to the sea, but it was quite the process. It took about an hour until the last turtle had vanished into the ocean. Of the 100 turtles one or two should make it.
Then we walked along the beach looking for nesting turtles – and found none, we did come across several baby turtles – perhaps the returns of previous releases? The remarkable thing was the stars – very very bright! We could even spot the big dipper- but we could see only the dipper itself and not the handle! There were a couple other people on the beach but the only sound was the crashing of the waves.
Then a really bumpy ride back to the hotel where I had quite the stomach upset, but otherwise a grand day.