Field Study and Service-Learning MediaBlog

12 February, 2007

Playa Langosta: Las Baulas National Park

Olive Ridley's Baby Sea Turtle
A Baby Olive Ridley's Sea Turtle. We kept it at camp during the day and released it into
the ocean with it's brothers and sisters at night, when chances of survival were higher.

Leatherback Sea Turtle Baby
Two leatherback babies hatched while we were on site. Like the Olive Ridley's, they were kept at camp until the night patrols. While the shells of all baby turtles are soft, the shells of the Leatherbacks aren't true shells at all and will never become fully 'hard' - living up to their name of Leatherback.

¿Donde Esta la Tortuga?
This was one of the babies that hatched during our time at Las Baulas. I believe that he/she was one of about 65 in the nest that had hatched the night before. This night we sent all of the little babies off in to the big blue to achieve their destiny. They were struggling to wake up that night because I think they had fallen asleep in the day while awaiting the departure (not that they had any idea what was going on). or maybe they do-- once they started to awaken from their slumber that night on the beach, they just charged right into the ocean-- those lil troopers. they have to be one in a thousand to make it back here to lay their eggs in 30 years-- good luck little buddies!

Voluntarios on a Mission This was right before we left to go on our second to last night of patrolling the beach. When patrolling beach, we walked up and down 3k each time, 4 times a night. The patrolling period was 3 hours long and there were two shifts- one from 7pm to 10pm and a second from 10pm to 1am. When participating in the second shift, we take the temperatures of all the nests along the beach. On this night we were the second group and on the last leg of our walk we came across a mother leatherback-- no a rock-- no, it was a mama leatherback! I was jumping up and down and so excited as she was hurling herself onto the beach. We ran up the beach to wait for her. This process can take a while, so we sat quietly staring in the dark, trying to make out what was going on. All of a sudden we realized that she was turning around. "Why?" we asked Alejandro-- he explained that the tide was too low and that it was too difficult for her to make it to the part of the beach where it was safe to lay her eggs. He also said that she would return. The next night we saw another mama and assisted her in the birthing-- it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life! I loved this project-- every single thing about it-- even the incredibly rustic living conditions, I could seriously have stayed forever.

Taking Tortuga Measurements This picture was taken late at night on our final patrol of the beach. We came across this leather back turtle in our last 100 yards of patrolling. It might be hard to see in the picture, but we are measuring the size of the turtle and catching her eggs in a bag. We relocated them just a few yards away so that they were out of reach of high tide. Sami is really the only person in the picture. She counted 147 eggs. However, only 45 of them were actually fertilized.

Relocation of Turtle Eggs
This photo shows Sami relocating the eggs we got from the leatherback to a safer place. She carefully took each individual egg and placed them in a hole that our guide had dug just a few yards higher up on the beach. It was a very interesting experience for all of us. In fact Sami was asleep and we ran back and got her so that she could see a leatherback sea turtle before we left the next morning. It was quite an adventure that will never be forgotten.

Las Baulas National Park
You see this small building right when you walk up to the park from the street. This particular building is the kitchen. Attached to it are; a sink (for brushing your teeth) and a shower. The sink can also be used to wash your clothes. It is very rustic, but great because you live a simple life.

The Tide Pools at Las Baulas
This is where you live the camp site and have a beautiful beach. As the tide goes out, tide pools form. Here, you can find many species. For instance, there are crabs, eels, starfish, sea urchins, and other tropical fish. You can easily make it out to these tide pools to catch your own tropical fish!

Las Baulas: The Hangout
This is a picture of me, Eddie, Dani, and Chris. This is were we would hang out at night before or after our night patrol. Here we would play cards, talk, listen to music, and possibly homework. Eddie was our guide/leader for night patrol. I miss this spot more than ever! This night we went out for patrol at ten so this was around eight.

Living Conditions: The Bunk Beds
This is where we slept at Las Baulas. There is a thin mattress above wood slates. It was very important to strategically place the woods slates. If you did not, you would have a very uncomfortable sleep. There were ten bunks here, but there are six more bunks on the other side. The floor is dirt too. It looks bad, but it was a blast if you could believe it!!!

Authors: Sami Nichols, Chris Coats, Devon Howard, Anne Christoff