Monday, May 21, 2012

Day 5: Manzanillo

Cleaning up the Beach
We had an amazing, filling breakfast with eggs, sausage and bread that gave us energy for the service project ahead. We headed down to the gorgeous Manzanillo beach and met our guide, Cristian. He was a park ranger that took care of the Gandoca Beach and made sure the sea turtles were protected during their nesting season. In order to ensure that these animals have a safe environment in which to lay their eggs, our service  project was to clean up the beach.
We each split up and took an area of the beach to clean up. We found bottles, plastic caps, old sandals, plastic bags, and other debris that had washed up on the beach. It was a hot day and the sun was beating down on us. We each filled up an entire bag of trash and used wood we found on the beach to transport our heavy bags back to the lodge. 
Exhausted and hungry, we went back to the community lodge to get some lunch. After eating, we headed down to the beach to cool off and reward ourselves for our hard work with a much-needed swimming session. The water was perfect! The Caribbean coast of Costa Rica is beautiful and full of life. That night the plan was to go out to the beach after sunset and see if we could spot any sea turtles nesting. We had dinner and hung out until nightfall. We wore black clothing and took several flashlights. It was pitch dark, we linked arms and headed towards the beach. We stumbled through the sand until our guide whispered to stop. He delicately flashed his light onto the beach to show us a sea turtle crawling through the sand. It reached the edge of the sand where it met the forest and started to dig with its flippers. It was so incredible to watch. After the whole was deep enough, it began to lay its eggs. This continued for about 10 minutes when it was time for us to go and leave the sea turtle to nest in peace. We were so lucky to be able to witness such an important event in nature that not many are able to experience in their lives. We stumbled back to the lodge, and to bed for a good night sleep because tomorrow is our last day in Manzanillo and one of our final days in Costa Rica!

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