Golfo Dulce- “The Sweet Gulf”

After lunch we left Luna Lodge, drivers drove us to the next place — Golfo Dulce. That was a long way. People bought some snacks and water when we crossed the supermarket. We solved the “food trouble”, and arrived at Golfo Dulce at 2:30 pm. It is a beautiful place near the sea. We lived in wood houses, although the surface was not good, however inside was very clean. After everybody got their room and checked in and then had a meeting. Their staff told us some rules about there, tomorrow’s plan, and taught us about their history and knowledge about fish.  Today was very easy, and tomorrow will be a great day!
~ Oscar Zhang

Dolphin Observations and Data Collection in Golfo Dulce

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DolphinVideo   

Today we were able to bring the notes from David’s lecture yesterday into the field and gather our data about the dolphins of Golfo Dulce. We were split into three main groups with Chris, Caly and I as the leaders. Chris collected the information about the environment every 30 minutes, Caly took notes of the dolphin’s behaviors in intervals of two and five minutes, while I wrote down the information about the encounter of the dolphins. It took a couple hours to find our first group of dolphins. It was cool to see the dolphins up close. Quickly the work became challenging, the dolphins were distracting and the heat became a burden. After about an hour of the encounter the dolphins, we headed to a small beach to experience the water. We snorkeled to see some fish and only a couple corals at the beach. Coming back, I did not have a good time. As much as a good nap feels after being in the sun, I experienced the removal of my lunch over the side of the boat. We pulled to CEIC and were free to prepare for the next lesson on sharks taught by Hazel. She thought that it would be best that we learned a little extra before diving into a shark dissection. We learned basic anatomy to understand and be able to distinguish the pieces of the body. We then headed for our dissection of a young juvenile scalloped hammerhead shark. Personally, after my morning I did not really want to participate, but when would I get another chance like this. I put my gloves on and dove in after the shark was opened. We fiddled around with the insides of the baby shark and determined which organ was which. Making it easy to move on, cut a sample for David and keep cutting into the shark. We split into the heart cavity, then cracked the skull to view the brain. After finding most of the fun things you can in a shark, David put it away properly and we were ready for our next lessons on coral. There were a lot of things on coral preparing us for tomorrow’s snorkels. We learned what threatens them, what they are and what they can do for the surrounding organisms. The day was full of work, but was fun and full of new things about sharks, dolphins and coral.
~Mendi

Finding Peace

This is the last morning for us to stay in Luna Lodge. We had meditation on the yoga platform at 7:15 a.m. It was a brand new experience to mediate in such a peaceful and quiet environment. With the rising of the sun and the posture of sun salutations, we are aware of all the movements from just a tiny thing and the sound of the forest. This left me with a deep impression that it is really different from doing yoga at school in Gandhi hall than meditating in the tropical climate.

We all had a good time at Luna Lodge. Then we packed up all our things and got ready to depart to Golfo Dulce. I think it will be a new experience for all of us to research for Dolphins, shark and all marine things.
~Ronnie

Flora Of the Rainforest

~Oscar J. – Flora Identification and Sketches

Calethea Lutea
“Cigar Plant”

Heliconia Lathispatha
“Bird of Paradise”

Costous Sp.
“Sour Cane”

Unidentified.

Trichospermum Galeottii
“Guacimo Blanca”

Unidentified Fern

Passiflora Vitti Folia
“Passion Flower”

Musa Sp. (species) Banana

Capsicom Sp.
“Bird’s Beak Pepper”

Welcome to the Jungle- Corcovado National Park

On Saturday morning I woke up from my mosquito-netted bed just before seven o’clock, just in time to have a good breakfast at the Sirena Research Station. The rest of the group and I ate a full meal because we knew the day ahead would be tiring, but rewarding. After breakfast we met up with our guides “Forta” and “Jungle” Jim and split into two groups each traveling in a different direction down a loop trail, with the idea that we would meet in the middle. I went with Jim and our group set out to find the Tapir which is an endangered species that resembles a pig, but with a prominent prehensile nose trunk. Tapirs like to wallow in the muddy swamps by the trailside, however that day they were not present. Although we didn’t get to see a Tapir we were very happy to be able to stop by a river on the trail and view the wildlife that lives in and around the flowing water of the Sirena River. Within minutes we were able to see Crocodiles drift just below the surface, expertly camouflaged as logs floating in the current. We also were able to catch a glimpse of a bull shark, the only true shark that can swim in fresh and salt water. After heading back to the research station for lunch we all split up. Some if the group stayed back for free time while I and a few others took the opportunity to take a hike to a swimming spot up the Claro River. The hike was one hour, hot and very pretty, and when we arrived we all jumped right in. The water was warm and clear and the bottom was sandy. Everyone who went stayed in for a very long time and when it came for the hike back, we took a different route choosing to walk along the beach as the sun was setting. When we arrived at the beach next to the research station it was 10 minutes to sunset and we all watched the sun descend below a cloudless horizon. After the sun made it’s final descent we took the last leg of the hike back to the research station where we tiredly ate dinner and headed towards bed. I was so tired after the long day that I fell asleep within minutes with the sounds of the rainforest playing in my ears.

~Emory Wolf

Leaning In – The 25K Hike To Corcovado National Park

Today is certainly the most difficult day of our trip. We hiked from the Luna Lodge to the Corcovado National Park. The hike was especially long, ranging to a distance of 25 kilometers. The approximate time to cross the trial was around 6 hours. We woke up early in the morning and were ready to go at 6:30am. At 7:00am, we reached the entrance of Corcovado Park and began the hike. For the first few kilometers, we were walking in the forest. After 15 minutes, we walked on the beach. It was rather cozy since the sun was not up high. We reached the first resting station and took a short break. Then, we re-entered the forest, hiking along the beach line. We saw some anteaters looking for ants in the tree trunks and branches. We also found four spider monkeys hanging on the branches. As the sun got strong, we walked for an hour, then on to the beach around 10am. It was quite hot, so we put some sunscreen on. As it reached noon, unfortunately we had to keep hiking on the beach, it was tough: hot sun, no shade. We found a tree with shade and stopped to finish our lunch box. Time passed noon, we headed back to the forest for about an hour. We suddenly saw something moving in the bushes, first thought it was a group of huge ants moving forward, but looked closer, it was a gigantic snake about 1.5 meter long. We were so lucky to see a snake. From 1-2pm, we walked along the shore, constantly running away from the upcoming tide, which was quite exciting. At the end of the beach, we climbed up the dust and rocks, eventually heading into deep woods. Taking a 30 minute break, we continued hiking into the forest. We saw tapirs sleeping and crabs digging holes. With another 1 hour hike, we reached a shore and took a 5 minute rest. Good news was we were 15 minutes away from the lake. To cross the lake, we toked our shorts up and went through 1 meter deep. This was the highlight of the hike because it was both refreshing and adventurous. Twenty minutes after the river, we arrived at the station. The second we saw a huge grassland with couple of houses were certainly one of the most wonderful feelings we will have once in our lifetime. Accompanying with great fatigue and tiredness, we managed to cross the Corcovado Park on foot. Nevertheless, it was a unique experience that not only gives us awareness of protecting the nature and enjoys Costa Rica’s biodiversity, but also shows us the value of endurance and perseverance.
~Chris

Namaste- From the Yoga Platform to Surfing

Today Stella and I (Marnie) woke up very early to go and climb up the mountain to the yoga platform to see the sunrise. It was so beautiful and it had us both in awe. We got hungry so we walked back down to get some coffee. We chilled there for a while admiring the ocean view while we were talking with Heather and Hazel. We then had to walk back up the stairs to get to yoga by 7:15. After yoga we went back down and had pancakes, eggs and toast for breakfast. We went for a hike on a trail called the Loop of Gold, which heather had started to build 13 Years ago which was the last time she was in Costa Ricawith Ross Students. When we got back to Luna lodge we had time to  relax and gather our belongings before we had to leave to go to the beach to surf. The waves were awful for the more experienced surfers but they were good for the beginners who mostly caught white wash. The surfers with more experience went further out to try to catch the bigger waves, but there weren’t any good waves so we made our way back in to the beach and caught some smaller waves. Since we rented our boards from a hotel near by we had to walk back to return them. We then walked back to the cars got in them and listened to songs the locals listen to. When we got back to Luna, we took showers and ate a delicious meal before we went to sleep for the day.
~Marnie and Stella