Week One: Adapting

Trip Start Jan 09, 2012
Trip End Oct 12, 2012

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Flag of Costa Rica  , Limón,
Saturday, January 21, 2012

Ive been at base camp for a week now.  Its been a hard week with lots to learn and lots to overcome!  Its surprising how quickly you can get used to things when you have to.  Cold showers for example.  We have no hot water.  All our water comes from a well which is naturally filtered clean by the sand.  We have a generator for electricity which runs for a couple of hours a day and pumps the water into a water tower for the day.  Washing clothes by hand in cold water is also pretty difficult but like i say, its surprising how quickly you adapt.  And having no electricity is surprisingly easy to adapt to.  The generator is on only a couple of hours each day and is to power  the pump for our water and for the laptops for writing up reports from our work.  So once the sun goes down it goes dark, very dark.  The stars look amazing at night.

And once it does go dark, its not far off bed time anyway as we have to get up at 4am!  Another thing Im having to adapt to.  This week weve been having lie ins as its our first week so weve been up for about 6am to 6.30am most days yet.  Surprisingly im usually one of the first out of bed and am waking naturally when the sun rises at just after 5am.  The 4am starts are pretty tough though.  Thats what I have in store for me most days for the next 6 months from now on.

Breakfast is always porridge (except on saturdays when we have pancakes) and thats ok.  It has to be porridge to sustain us for the mornings work - 15 miles walking on hot sand or through the jungles in these humid temperatures is pretty draining and porridge has been found to be the only thing that does the job.  Lunch and dinner are just bizarre mixes of pastas or beans or rices or lentils (yuck) with various vegetables or fruits.  As we only get food delivered once a week, the food is mixed by what will go off first rather than what tastes good together.  So its not unusual to have spaghetti with apples for example!  Again, somehow Ive managed to get used to the strange foods (apart from lentils so far, yuck) and will eat anything on offer now.  Ive had no meat, junk food, chocolate, crisps etc for a week and not really missed it.  A lot of people here are missing their meat a lot.

The work this week has been mostly training.  We cant do most things without passing various tests first.  Im now a fully trained emergency first response first aider.  I also swotted up on the canal birds and passed the test with 100% so am allowed out on the canals for the bird surveys.  I also passed my jaguar test and am also able to do the jag walks now too which is very exciting.  I have another test tomorrow on lizards/anoles which i still need to swot up on.  This is alongside writing two assignments for my biodiversity BTEC and identifying 11 species on my own too.  I also have presentations to do as well.  So like I say, lots of learning.  Its been hard and hectic but theres been chill out time too.  Mostly we cool off in the sea or go off for little walks and look for creatures.... which reminds me, on my first day I was messing about with some frogs which turned out to be poisonous.  My fingers kinda swelled and went a bit blotchy but luckily there were no other symptoms for me so i just have to remember to be more careful!

Well I only have a few hours in town so Im gonna go find something normal to eat for a change and buy some postcards and things to send.  Itll probably be another 2 weeks before Im back in civilisation again so until then, bye for now.

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Bob Chedzoy on


The journal and pictures are fantastic and we are all following with interest. Sounds like you are having a fantastic time despite the food. Funnily enough I often have rice and lentils or pasta with beans so I don’t know what you are complaining about. However if you want me to send you out some wagon wheels or smoky bacon crisps just let me know.

I have been reading your accounts to the fish and showing them the pictures – they didn’t like the look of the snakes! Everyone is doing a great a great job consoling the fish – but they are missing you terribly.

Hope you have a great week and keep posting



karen.toft on

Glad to har the fishes are doing well! I do think of them occassionally. Food would be great! I can recieve parcels up to 5KG at: Karen Toft. c/o Stephen Meyer. Apartado Postal 139-7200. Siquirres. Limon. Costa Rica. Would really appreciate nice food!

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