Monday, June 27, 2005

Backtrack on Days

June 15

Today we left early in the morning for Sierpe which is right by Corcovado and mangrove trees.

We stopped by Cerro de la Muerte on the way which is a high peak/hill on the way. It was pretty awesome but b/c of the high elevation it made everyone out of breath as we climbed up the hill. We learned about various species there and a lot of the botany we learned last semester came in handy (darn). We looked for Quetzals which are this awesome kind of bird, but we couldn’t find any. We also looked for this one salamander that used to be uber-abundant in the area. They said that it used to be that you could turn over just about any rock and find like three, but we weren’t even able to find one which was really disappointing b/c we suck and secondly b/c they are so scarce in the area nowadays. We ate lunch facing windows that had hummingbird feeders a foot away from them so I got to see them up close. They’re so cool, but they’re pretty evil to eachother.

We drove a bit and got to Sierpe. We had a lecture at 7pm by Priscilla about the mangroves. We also got to pass around a Caecilian and for you guys that haven’t taken zoology and those of you who have forgotten, it’s an amphibian that looks like a big earthworm. It was really slimy but really awesome at the same time. During the lecture the program paid for our drinks so everyone ordered beer except for me and everyone was like, “we should have class like this all the time” b/c it was so nice outside and awesome. Mangroves are pretty neat by the way.

June 16
We went to the mangrove forest in a boat. We learned about them and about other animals we saw on the way (bats and snakes). My favorite thing was that we got to climb all over the prop roots of the red mangrove. It was AWESOME! I’ll post pictures later. Unfortunately, I was the only person to fall in and earned the rank as being the clumsiest person on the trip but I can deal with that considering the fact that it’s true.

Then we took a boat to Corcovado beach and pitched our tents right on the beach. It’s really nice there, but really in the middle of nowhere. It took 2 hours to get there by boat. We stayed at the biological station. We had a free afternoon so we just played on the beach and jumped the waves.

June 17
We hiked for about 3 hours in two groups. We met at a cool spring and all went swimming in the freshwater b/c it was so hot out there. It was a great time. It felt so good that a whole bunch of people decided to go back, but Susan (my tent mate) and I decided that we didn’t really feel like it so we went to look at the tidepools and just chill. I sat there quietly with my feet in the water and saw lots of awesome fish. The coolest thing I saw was a black and white eel try to get this fish. (it didn’t) We also saw scarlet macaws roosting in a tree right on the edge of the beach.

We went to the tide pools as a big group and learned about the brittle stars, sea roaches, sea cucumbers etc. It was pretty cool (I guess)

That night at 7pm (it was dark there by then) we went to a swamp to look for frogs. It was sooo muddy. We didn’t really find much but I would say that part of it had to do with the fact that last time they said they saw 3 poisonous snakes. So everyone was more worried about that I would say. We did find this one frog as big as my foot and a snake fell on Peter’s head so we got that one too. (tired)

June 18
Today was the long Corcovado hike. It was 7 kilometers both ways. It wouldn’t have been so bad but the whole thing was really hilly. To make matters worse, my toe killed like crazy all the way back b/c I bent back my nail at the airport and it got infected in the swamp. So I walked for 4 hours on something that hurt worse than my kidney stones. Alan and Javier (my professors) walked the whole way with me as I limped slowly. Damn it sucked.

The hike was to La Llorona beach which was awesome. It was gorgeous there. There was also a stretch of beach in between of the bouts of forest. It was amazing. I took some great pictures of the rocks there.

June 19
We went out to an island. On the way, dolphins jumped in the wake of our boat. That was sweet. Another really amazing thing that I saw was a manta ray do a back flip out of the water. Scientists think they do it to get rid of parasites, but they’re not really sure why. Regardless though, it was so cool. We got to the island and learned about island demography and how and why there are less species there and how to tell the difference between the forests. I just relaxed and read Cat’s Cradle b/c my toe still hurt.

Afterwards we came back and I kept reading my book in a hammock looking out over the ocean. Well I got so absorbed that I didn’t notice that a whole bunch of people had left to go back to a different cool spring. We so I got up and went there and it turns out that it was a skinny-dipping and rum party organized by our professor! Well I didn’t partake in either activity but it still was fun sitting under the waterfall in my swimsuit. Stephanie didn’t go naked either :).

Current Music: people trying to balance on a rope tied between two trees

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