Monday, January 19, 2015
We started the day with a five hour very bumpy bus ride. Along the way we stopped for lunch on some private grounds where the gate guard was excited to show us a poison red dart frog, all of about 1/2 inch, which he keeps in a hollow bamboo section. He also pointed out 2 3-toed sloths. On the grounds is a kook tree which is called the big belly tree by locals because of the enormity of the trunk and root system. It is also the tallest tree in the low lands. As re approached Tortuguero and the waterways we left the bus for a water taxi. It was an hour and half ride to the lodge. A beautiful ride in a warm humid climate.
Our lodge is actually composed of many small cabins some with multiple rooms, some single. We are in a complex with Romie, Vern and Shirley. After settling in, Nacho took us by boat to the turtle conservancy. There is really nothing to see except a video about the efforts to protect the nesting grounds and tag the nesting females. We walked down the black sand beach to the town of Tortuga, a single long street of small one person craft shops. Most things were crude coconut carvings or she'll jewelry. About 500 people live here totally dependent upon tourism.
After dinner we attended a lecture by a local gentleman whose father was one of the first settlers of Tortuguero. He gave the history of the settlers, the expansion of the lumber companies and finally the appearance of Archie Carr, an American who came to save the turtles. As a result of his efforts President ... took position of 25 miles of coast line, declared it protected. Carr also spent much time and energy convicting the locals to save their land. Now they are very vigilant in doing so.
Christy and Wayne