Friday, November 16, 2012

Back In The USA

Doctors here confirmed that I had dengue as well as low function in my kidneys and liver. I spent the next two weeks going in and out of the doctor office getting blood tests and different medications. Luckily, after about 3 weeks, I was completely better and my energy levels were back to normal.

I'm so grateful to ARCAS for giving me the opportunity to work down in Hawaii. I really am going to miss all of the friends that I made down there. I'm also going to miss working with the turtles every day. I don't think I will ever get tired of watching hatchlings crawl their way back to the ocean. It is one of the most beautiful sights in the world. This won't be the last time that I work with turtles. On to the next adventure whatever that may be!


October 10th-15th

I woke up on the morning of the 10th with a fever and the feeling that I had dengue again. Everyone decided it was probably best to go to the hospital and get tested because my fever was starting to reach extremely high levels (103 degrees F).

I stayed at Hermano Pedro, a private hospital, for the next four days. Basically I spent most of the time wondering what I had because each doctor that came to see me said I had something else....dengue, not dengue, intestinal infection, Salmonella, etc. I wasn't getting any better, my kidneys were in extreme pain, and my fever was not going down, so my parents decided I should come home and get proper treatment. I was really upset that I had to leave Guatemala early, but it was nice to get proper treatment in the US.

My plane ride on the 15th was a really sad moment. There are so many things that I'm going to miss about Guatemala.

More Shrimp Boat Destruction

Tuesday, October 9th 

Today, I woke up with a really bad headache. The weather changing so quickly is I think what brought it on. I tried to sleep some more in hopes that it would go away, but no such luck. I was woken up to Sabine informing me of a dead turtle. We all walked over there and took measurements, a skin sample, and buried it. It looks like it died by drowning because the skin was very puffy and filled with water. After it died, it looks like some locals cut her open and took out her eggs because there was a cut by her ovaries and broken eggs surrounding the body. Sabine also said she saw a dead dolphin or porpoise baby. We tried looking for it but couldn’t find it.

The rest of the day was spent relaxing because my head hurt so much. I attempted to make ice cream, but the eggs weren’t fresh, so the yolk was really runny and kept getting mixed with the egg whites. I got so frustrated!! People told me to got rest, so I took a nap and didn't wake up until the morning.

RIP Garza

Monday, October 8th

After crawl counts, I spent the morning with some of the volunteers raking, weeding, and just generally cleaning the parque. There are so many trees here that raking seems to be a never ending job!!

Overall, it was a pretty quiet day. The Garza that we rescued died unfortunately. Bird rehabilitation is really hard, especially when we do not have a veterinarian here. The other bird seems to be doing ok, so fingers crossed.

Later in the afternoon, it started to rain for the first time in forever! It rained on and off until about 2 or 3 in the morning. When I went out on patrol, it was pouring! We stopped one of the buyers who had already bought 7 nests and got the donations from him on the beach. I don't trust that he gives us all of his donations, so I think it is better to get them from him right away. We also bought one nest from a very nice parlamero. We ran into another parlamero who wanted to sell to us, but we only had 45Q and there was 70Q worth of eggs. He didn't want to sell us half the nest. We asked him for a donation though and he also said no. If he wasn't going to sell to us, he would sell to someone who doesn't give donations so that he would get more money. It was pretty frustrating. 

Animal Spa Day

Sunday, October 7th

This morning, we did a mass animal cleaning. Some of the volunteers scrubbed the algae off of the shells of the freshwater turtles. The rest helped me wash the dogs. Paco, of course, was a hassle. He hates water, so he kept squirming out of our hands. We eventually got him clean and dry though. Paca was much easier. At first, she struggled because she saw how much Paco disliked it, but I think she ended up not minding in the end. Afterwards, we cleaned the wounds of the two birds we found in the mangroves. I ended up joining the volunteers in scrubbing off algae because there were a lot of turtles that needed to be cleaned. I also helped Sabine rake a bit around the park and pick up all of the leaves and brush.

Hard at work cleaning those turtles

 Cleaning the Garza's wing

Poor guy...such a deep wound.

Later in the afternoon, we made the rope that we use for hatchling releases longer, so that it will reach further along the beach. Before it was just too short! The rest of the afternoon I caught up with Facebook and emails.

Tonight on patrol there weren’t too many turtles, but I was still able to buy a nest. I’m hoping Glenda is able to get some more money from the Administrative Office because we definitely have the ability to buy more nests with more money.

Monterrico Hatchery

Saturday, October 6th

In the morning, a couple volunteers and I put more palms on the hatchery. Every time there is a large wind storm the palms get blown around even though we tie them on...the wind is that strong! It looks a lot better now luckily. Some more volunteers went to the mangroves and came back with another injured bird! We think it is some kind of dove. 

Feeding our new little friend

Afterwards, Sabine, Judit, and I went to Monterrico. We had a nice relaxing lunch with licuados (a watermelon one for me). Later, we visited the Monterrico hatchery. I was hoping to find out more about why parlameros have been preferring to donate and sell their eggs to them. I was surprised by their facilities. Everything was nice and new. We also saw about 100 hatchlings in a small holding tank waiting to be released at 5:00pm. You are supposed to release them right away, but this hatchery holds onto them in order to make money for tourist releases. We questioned them about it and they swore that the hatchlings were from the morning. We have at most 20 hatchlings from the morning, so I could tell they were lying and that they came from the night before. After talking with the employees, we shopped for a bit. While we were in Monterrico, Glenda left again for her vacation days.

One of a few holding tanks...poor hatchlings

On patrol, Bobby (a volunteer) and I found a turtle!!! It was so exciting. We were jumping up and down and hugging. The nest was 101 eggs, which is pretty respectable. Alonso, one of the buyers, stopped by and was shocked to see that some gringos had found a turtle. All he kept saying was “Bueno suerte” or “Good luck.” I told him that it was my 4th turtle that I have found and he seemed surprised. It was a great night!

New Bird Rescue

Friday, October 5th

Like it seemed on patrols, hardly any turtles came up. I only found 5 tracks…that is the least amount of tracks I have found since the beginning of the season. In the morning, Sabine and I helped Mariachi dig the roots out of the corner of the small hatchery. He dug up the sand and we sifted through it. We took out any roots, egg shells, or rocks. Now that the trench is around the hatchery too, I think that the roots will die.

Some of the other volunteers went to the mangroves to collect water samples for the mangrove research project and found an injured bird, a Garza or an egret. They took it to the local clinic to have its neck sewn up because it was ripped open by a fishing line. It seems to be doing fine after its little operation.

The Garza checking out is new home with the iguanas

In the afternoon, I went to Alice’s for Spanish. I ended up just staying there for dinner. Glenda and her mother came as well. We had pesto pasta and garlic bread! It was so delicious. It has been forever since I have eaten pesto it seems like. It was also nice to get out of the park for awhile. I was supposed to go on patrol tonight, but Glenda said to rest. I have done crawl counts for the past week, so I think she wanted to give me a break. It was nice to sleep a whole night for once.