The Costa Rica Diaries: The calm before the storm

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The number of turtles arriving in Ostional has been increasing.

We knew a series of sleepless nights were impending, despite the fact we were worn out, getting irritable due to the heat and each of us bearing an impressive number of insect bites. If our original plan had followed through, I would currently be lounging by a pool, definitely with yet another book (how I’ve got through ten already I don’t know) and hopefully a cocktail.

However, with more turtles deciding to lay their eggs and the quarter moon looming, we knew the chance to have a weekend away was slipping through our fingers. Luckily we were offered a compromise and instead we were told to have the afternoon off to have some downtime before a potentially busy weekend and we all trotted off to a neighbouring beach.

That day’s form of transport was not the minibus we have all grown to know and love (mainly for the aircon) but the back of a truck. The thrill seeker in me loves the more relaxed attitude down here, as we felt the wind in our hair and we braved sitting on the edge of the trailer until my pins and needles got unbearable after we all rammed ourselves in. Growing up I spent most of my time in cars that repeatedly beeped at you until you had your seatbelt on, so the stark difference was astounding, and much more fun. (Sorry Mum)

We got to the beach, had a couple of beers, and a couple of us braved the much more fierce waves of this part of Costa Rica. We got to chill, laugh and enjoy each other’s company after a tense few days and we returned feeling much more elated and calm.

So when we heard that the arribada could happen that evening, we were sent into disarray. No one knew what procedures followed, us folks in homestays had no idea when we would need to be at the research station, and it was an even worse scenario for those without internet. We woke up tentatively the next day to find that nothing had changed and we had another day to ourselves other than the usual night patrol.

Yesterday we ended up playing football on the beach. I discovered a hidden goalkeeping talent, we bonded with the other volunteers that hadn’t come from the university and I accidentally injured an Italian guy’s shin defending my goalposts.

This morning, people who aren’t ridiculously heavy sleepers like me were woken to a siren at 5am, announcing the arrival of more turtles, announcing that eggs can now be collected. Families rushed out of their houses to make the most of the opportunity and locals offered their help in the event that is what Ostional is known for. I woke up three hours later to a series of messages in our group chat.

Today we woke up to an arribada.

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