What a magical two weeks in Rio Oro! After a somewhat disappointing first few nights where we trudged up and down the beach and saw absolutely no turtles we finally got a good dose of those tortugas. We were there in the lead up to the full moon and walking along the deserted beach beneath the starts and moon, so bright it almost seemed like daylight, was in itself a very special experience, turtles or not. But it was definitely exciting finally seeing our first turtle crawling up the beach. Although she took a little detour and went for a swim in the lagoon before writhing around in the mud, she finally made her nest, laid her eggs and returned to the sea.
Rio Oro is nothing if not a beautful and relaxing spot. After often exhausting night patrols our days were spent competing to be the President (and avoiding being the scum) at cards, beading and weaving colourful bracelets, pampering ourselves with mud masks in the river and most often the hours were whiled away with a book in the hammock under the trees.
When we weren´t relaxing though there was plenty of hard work to be done. Walking barefoot through the jungle during the monkey senso after the rain turned the path into a mud slide, seeing baby toucans and hearing monkeys howling through the trees, flying down the road in the middle of the night with three people to a motorbike, attempting the bachatta at the local bar (and failing miserably) and running along the beach like a crazy person in the pouring rain trying to defend the precious tortugitas from the hawks and crabs that would appear out of nowhere and try to snatch them away were just a few of the highlights.
We went for the turtles and stayed for the good times. This project might be all about conserving turtles, and yes, you´ll feel pretty damn good when you manage to scare away the hawk that was inches from stealing a tortugita just seconds from getting its first feel for the ocean; but you will leave with many more memories of the people, the place, the snacks, the laughs and all the other weird and wonderful goings on that you can´t help but think will make a great story when you get home.