Leatherback Season

By BobbyRica | August 24, 2012

Tortuguero-National-Park

And so here I was, far from Stefani’s impetuousness and Eva’s warmth, taking all the sunlight in and in the company of my hippie friends. I’m in an ecopark, but not as a tourist.

The call came from an old classmate, who had now become an active conservationist. It’s leatherback season in Tortuguero National Park, and as much as the tourism angle has helped highlight attention and garner support for the turtles, poachers remain a huge problem. And so I’m here, not to enjoy myself, but to help out.

Tortuguero-National-Park sign

But really, my friend lucked out when it comes to careers. Hard to say lounging on the beach, getting a tan could be considered being at work, but I did pick a good angle to monitor a large enough area comfortably. Other volunteers and conservationists helped surround the area, so I didn’t have to worry about missing a detail or two too much.

Yes, I did have to do some paperwork, tracking down where the turtles had roamed off too and counting heads and things like that, but all in all, things weren’t too bad for me.

Later in the day us volunteers met up again to take additional instructions and preparing for some of the females preparing to lay eggs. We were to take the eggs to the hatchery, help raise them, and release one year olds back to the ocean later on. The whole time, we had to keep an eye out for poachers and natural predators.

tblturtle

I wasn’t having a vacation, but I was enjoying some lovely company among the volunteers. What can I say? I just have that way with women. Of course, the odds were way too stacked compared to all the other boys, most of whom were genuinely more interested in helping out. Maybe I distracted one too many ladies from what we were supposed to do, but heck, if it made the job fun, it couldn’t have been too bad, right?

I wasn’t really looking, but unwittingly found myself attracting company throughout my short little non-vacation. There are a lot of unromantic little details, but you know, picking up the eggs, bringing them to the hatchery, watching turtles grow and helping feed and raise them, all that stuff is unwittingly romantic. If you can get past all the odd smells and liquids and textures you had to deal with, you could get some sweet honeymoon time out of it.

I didn’t really pick anyone up, but got way too close. Sara was a little more delectable than Eva, but admittedly, both of us weren’t particularly looking for something, just leaning towards it. To my old college friend’s annoyance, I was drawing her youngest charge away from him, and so I got the talk to leave it alone so she could focus on her thesis.

GreenTurtleHatch

The last day of the program, my friend invited me to a small going away party. After a tender kiss and some sweet goodbyes with Sara, I joined Mr. Conservation Director for a few drinks.

“You know, I have to say, turtles are kind of romantic.”

Roberto laughed in disbelief, and then taking a moment to look at me, in completely sincerity, nodded and said, “I agree. Very romantic indeed.”

(to be continued)

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