Today was the big transition day from the cloud covered forest of Cloudbridge to the ocean swept horizon of Campanario. We were up at 6am to pack our stuff, grab a bagged breakfast and hike down from Cloudbridge to the town below. You can only reach the base of cloudbridge with a 4-wheel drive vehicle over bumpy, rough roads - a trek our shuttle can't make! After heartfelt goodbyes to Greg, our amazing host / guide at cloudbridge, we clambered aboard the shuttle for the drive to Sierpe. We played Disney movie trivia games and giggled the whole way to the coast.
When we arrived, Nancy, the owner-extraordinaire of Campanario met us at the docks. After a delicious lunch of typical Costa Rican foods (including the ubiquitous rice and beans!), we hopped on a motor boat for a ride to the remote, private beach of Campanario. Everyone enjoyed the boat ride through the mangrove system from Siepre to the shores of Campanario. Students were awed by the giant mangrove roots looming from the watery depths. We saw iguanas, green herons (and their fuzzy chicks!) and a troop of howler monkeys! Once we arrived, we had Campanario orientation. Campanario only produces 4 types of trash: kitchen waste, recyclables, bathroom trash, and compost. They produce such little waste that they only take trash to the dump 3-4 times a year! As visitors, we are responsible for our own trash: we bring it in, we take it out. Nancy works hard to illicit a sense of responsibility in the students, to really challenge the way they think about where their food and water comes from and where their waste is going.
After orientation, we took everyone to the beach for a swim test. The water was so uncharacteristically calm, we could see straight through to the bottom - even at 15 feet deep! After all students passed with flying colors, we played around in the ocean until dinner. After a delicious meal, we went back out to the beach for a hermit crab population study! The students were split into two teams and given 10 mins to collect every hermit crab they could in their designated area. There was quite a bit of squealing and shouting, all of which, I'm sure, was integral to the success of the project :) Hermit crabs were counted, and a dot of fingernail polish was placed on each shell. We'll be collecting again tomorrow and keeping an eye out for returning crabs with dots of fingernail polish! After a fantastic transition day, we were off to bed to recharge for tomorrows hike through the Osa rain forests!
Out of the mountains and off to the sea,
we saw howler monkeys in a mangrove tree!
We've collected hermit crabs from a sandy beach
and can't wait to see what else Nancy will teach!
- Amanda and Carley, Instructors