Trip Start Mar 07, 2008
29Trip End Jun 14, 2008
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Left Cahuita on Monday and headed further up the caribbean coast to a remote town (village perdue) called Parismina. The journey in itself was quite an adventure.
La Semana Santa (the Holy Week - Easter / Paques)is just about to begin here in Costa Rica. This means all the Ticos (Costa Ricans) are on their main annual holiday and travelling throughout the country. Anyway, ended up in various buses with loads of local Ticos and got to meet a number of them along the way. All of them were incredibly friendly and nice. We practiced our Spanish with some women who found Nick's spanish particularly amusing! which worked in our favour as one of these ladies (who was particularly big) ended up running down the road screaming after our next bus which had just departed (it was quite a sight)
We arrived in Parismina by boat. It's an island surrounded by mangroves / sea next to Tortuguero National Park. The island was amazing... only 2 cars, thousands of street dogs and super-chilled (super-relax) locals. We realised quickly that the few gringos around town were all volunteers on the Turtle Project (trying to help sea turtles survive). The big Leatherback Turtles in particular are under serious threat (grande menace) of being extinct within the next 10 years.
Before long, we got talking to the organiser of the Turtle Project and ended up working one day building the Hatchery (secure area where the volunteers place the turtle eggs away from predators and poachers / endroit pour proteger les oeufs de tortues des braconniers) and then patrolling (patrouiller) the beach at night. The chances of seeing a turtle were incredibly low as its early in the season, the moon was bright and there were no clouds (they like to come when it is dark).
After 3 hours of painful walk in deep sand we finally saw and approached one hurrah! We were the first ones there, which was even more incredible
The turtle then filled the hole with its flippers before returning to the sea. We then walked up the beach to find a safe spot (un endroit sur) for the eggs (away from the predators and poachers), dug a hole and I -Nick- got to place all the eggs carefully in it. Mission accomplished. Hopefully in 2 months, a bunch of happy little turtles will be swimming back to the sea to live a happy life! all thanks to us (hmmmm...)! Unfortunately, we couldnt take any photos as flashes scare the turtles away, so nothing to show you but picture from net of a leatherback.
So that was our turtle experience
Overall, Parismina was a really cool place. Completely off the beaten track (a l'ecart des touristes). Met loads of locals, spoke loads of spanish, found out loads about their environment and their way of life!
As much as we loved it there, we are now looking forward to moving on to La Fortuna next to the Arenal Volcano and its springwaters and waterfalls!
Audrey & Nick