Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tortuguero

September is sea turtle season. I live 5 hours from the most important nesting site of the endangered green sea turtle in the Western Hemisphere (second to only Australia in the world): Tortuguero, Costa Rica. So last weekend, we decided to go check it out.

It was a short trip, but we accomplished a lot! Saturday morning we got up bright and early at 5:30AM to head to San Jose to catch the first bus out of town. We took a bus from San Jose to Cariari, then another to La Pavona, and finally we had to take a boat taxi through the Tortuguero canals to reach the island.




There are no cars in Tortuguero so it was immediately a nice change of pace. Even with only one main dirt pathway through the town, Ashley and I immediately knew that this was somewhere that we would want to visit again. We quickly found our hotel for the night (with the help of our tour guide friend that we met along the way!), Miss Junnie's Lodge, and double checked that we had a reservation for a turtle tour that night. 

We spent the afternoon exploring the island and the beach. Just by chance, we stumbled upon the BIGGEST IGUANA THAT I HAVE EVER SEEN. You may not be able to tell in these pictures but I was blown away! 


This iguana was probably the size of a small dog, no joke. 



The ocean water was such a gorgeous ice blue. 



When we were walking along the shore, I was just in awe of how the water was so many different colors of blue all at one time. 

Finally, it was Saturday night- the reason we came to Tortuguero-- to go out on the beach and watch the sea turtles!  


It is a weird feeling to me that I don't have pictures of the very best part of the trip. But in order to respect the turtles, they're not allowed! We left our hotel at 9PM, dressed in all black. We felt like spies sneaking through the forest, waiting for our chance to go out to the beach. 

After they're born, sea turtles head out into the Carribean to find their feeding grounds. Once they are of age, they return to the exact same beach where they were born to lay their own eggs. 

"In the open ocean, sea turtles encounter strong currents; they have only modest vision, they can only raise their heads several inches out of the water, and there are often no visible landmarks. Even with these limitations, sea turtles regularly navigate long distances to find the same tiny stretch of nesting beach where they were born. How they do it is one of the greatest mysteries in the animal kingdom.." 
[-Torgtuguero Sea Turtle Conservancy]

When we got out to the beach, we immediately saw two large sea turtles heading back into the ocean. Already, I was captivated by their beauty and grandiosity.  Next, we were told to head down the beach where we found a large mama sea turtle digging her nest and laying her eggs. It was stunning. After laying at least 100 eggs, she began the exhausting work of flinging sand and covering her nest. After we watched her head back into the ocean, we had to head back off of the beach. 

I cannot wait to go back another time to hopefully see some eggs hatch!



The next morning, we took a beautiful canoe canal tour from 6-9. Here are a few of the sites we saw!





We got out of the canoe to find a poisonous blue-jean dart frog-- of course I had to hold him!
A golden orb spider-- much like the one living in our backyard back in Santa Ana...
A cayman that we spotted on our tour! 
Waving good-bye to our tour guide!

Finally, after a boat ride, 4 buses, and a taxi, we made it home Sunday night. It was a quick stay-- 
but such a beautiful one!


"You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you." 
[Nehemiah 9:6]







1 comment:

  1. Wow! So beautiful! I LOVE the ice blue ocean! Breathtaking!

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