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Trail Volunteers Join Camp  Osita

After 6 weeks of high intensity travel through Central America, I arrived at Camposita. The turtles, primates and big cats conservation project in Costa Rica practically wired me to expect the unexpected - or at least feel a constant uncertainty and excitement. I was one of 5 volunteers who opted to do the Central American ethical trail before the placement at camp. The trail involved an adrenaline fuelled, non-stop adventure, starting in Mexico City, and travelling through Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and finally Costa Rica. Practically everyday on the trail involved at least one “I cannot believe I am actually doing this” moment. Whether it be in response to jumping off a rock into a cave illuminated only by candle light, hiking up a volcano in a hailstorm, climbing hundreds of stairs to reach the top of Mayan ruins, tearing it up on the dance floor at a local bar to the Spanish top 40 or exploring Caribbean coral reefs. Moments of pause were rare, adrenaline was always pumping and sleep was mostly reserved for long bus rides.

Transitioning into a more constant ordered and less chaotic way of life was challenging. Although life at camp was far from “normal”, falling back into routine of any sort was not easy. The Costa Rica camp is set in paradise and I absolutely loved stumbling on and learning about a variety of animals on survey but I yearned for the uncertainty and absolute randomness of the trail. One morning, I decided to take a solo walk across the beach. I had my iPod in and was staring at my feet and paying little attention to my surroundings. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of some abnormal movement ahead.  I looked up to find the biggest turtle I had ever seen struggling along the beach. We had been assured a few days before that we had almost zero chance of sightings as it was not laying season. We had also been told that turtles usually only emerge to lay eggs at night.

I starred at it for a few moments, its presence on the beach completely defied logic and was totally random but the turtle was definitely real and was one of the most beautiful creatures I had ever seen. I was overwhelmed with excitement. Pumping with adrenaline, I sprinted back to camp to tell the staff and other volunteers what I had seen. They were mid-lunch when I arrived and literally dropped their forks to race to the beach. We all stood in awe watching an Olive Ridley turtle nest in broad daylight.

The sense of adventure and constant suspense of never quite knowing what could happen next has been reinstated in me since. You just never now what you may find living in the Costa Rican rainforest. The little rare, abnormal unexpected sightings keep everyday here exciting and unique, even within routine.

By Joni Symon - Central America Trail and Costa Rica Volunteer

Find out more about Costa Rica Big Cats, Primates & Turtles Conservation.

Check out what volunteer in Costa Rica are up to right now!

See more from our volunteers #Frontiervolunteer

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