Monday, January 11, 2010

It begins!

As you know by now, the new year has brought with it a new location for the expedition and a new group of volunteers arrived on Friday to experience the National Park location for themselves.

With snow storms and icy conditions delaying some people's arrival, intern Molly awaited their arrival at Gaudy's Hostel in San Jose, whilst Country Director Dave and intern Sam. We haven't completely escaped the unusual weather many of you are experiencing back home, with torrential rain around Tortuguero for the best part of three weeks the volunteers were told to expect real rainforest conditions! Luckily enough, as they borded the boat to take them into Tortuguero National Park conditions were dry and a few people even got the suncream out.

Within minutes of setting off the new recruits were already spotting wildlife, and some of the more diligent even had their field guides and notebooks out writing down what they saw. A host of kingfishers, herons and egrets became par for the course with the whole boat soon chorusing "great egret!", "snowy egret!" and "little blue heron!". As we reached the park, those quicker to react were also lucky enough to spot a troop of spider monkeys and get an eyefull of a howler monkey, suspended by its tail, feeding on leaves.

Heading south towards the base the clouds hung like a curtain between the trees over the canal, and with no way around it, everyone prepared their freshly packed ponchos and rainjackets for their first test. "We're really in the rainforest now!" shouted Richard above the din of the downpour, but the rain was short-lived and by the time the volunteers reached the river mouth at Jalova conditions were dry to begin the hike to base.

Everyone settled in quickly and took some time for introductions and to take in their new surrounding. So far everyone seems to love the setting of the new base and the rustic homely feel of the place; especially our beautiful new kitchen/dining room, which will also be the setting for many of the lectures during training week.

While the volunteers settle in and begin their training, the staff are finishing up with the unpacking & organising, adjusting to life at the new base and working on battery power (on the porch no-less!).

There has been a little bit of free time for the guys to have a look around too and, with the interns taking charge of setting up the new Incidentals study, they've already managed to amass a good list of species, including a beautiful red-eyed treefrog that hung out with us on base all day and a three-toed sloth just meters above the forest trail for all to see!

As the sun sets over base each night people have a bit of time to digest the day's training and get to know each other around the candle-light. And if they are really lucky, Helen will put on another games night of study species Pictionary!

A big thank you and welcome to the new volunteers and well done to the staff for all their hard work in setting up the new base!



Anonymous said...

A sloth? Really?....well then, good for everyone who actually got to see it!

Dom G said...

Glad to see you're all settling into your new home. Will the north beach still be patrolled in the absence of GVI volunteers?