Before I started this adventure, I had a few thoughts on how it would be and how much I would learn and experience on this trip.
Let me tell you at once, all has been tripled in the ways of overwhelming me!!
This tiny spot on earth, known as the Jalova region in Tortuguero National park has had an enormous impact on me. I’ve gained tremendous amounts of knowledge and will never be the same!
Let’s start with the people, shall we?!
The people who run this place, are all dynamic and passionate about their work.
Ernest, the boss as I like to call him, although he is never really bossy, just direct and right to the point, does a h… of a good job running Jalova. With his humor and wit he inspires everyone on base. You can ask him anything and he’s also willing to share of his worldwide experience.
Max, the assistant leader, is maybe the most caring gentleman I’ve ever met! He will do anything to make your stay as pleasant as possible.
Alex, the crocodile-dundee from Australia , is responsible for the jaguar-project and also the main «river-man», taking us out on Canal-surveys. He seems like a tough guy, but is also really sweet and he makes you feel safe, even in encounters with crocodiles on the flood.
Andres is the turtle man(head of turtle-project) and is passionate and very caring about his turtles! His partner-in-crime, Susana, is turtle-assistant and shares his passion for these animals.
Molly who has left us right now but is coming back, is the sweetest person ever! She is head of butterflies and biodiversity. I will never forget how she with the patience of an angel, helped me pass my test…finally!
These are the staff members, then you have a bunch of hardworking interns on base. Describing everyone would take to long, but let’s just say they are all just lovely and doing a splendid job for the greater good!
So as you can see, we volunteers are well taken care of and are all so incredibly lucky to be here at Jalova!!
For the different surveys, they stretch from early morning until late at night and are all giving us unforgettable moment, seeing wildlife from within. The animals I myself have seen so far (I still have 10 days left), are numerous!! Just to mention some: sloths, spider monkeys, howler monkeys, turtles, agoutis,crocodiles, caimans, red brocket deer, beautiful-coloured butterflies, various frogs , lizards and spiders, One! nonvenomous snake and of course hundred of tropic birds!!
Not to mention the fresh jaguar-tracks on the beach, right next to my hammock! Luckily I am there at daytime only, so he can have it at night!
There’s so much I would want to share of my amazing time here at Jalova!
Let me try to pin some of it down by giving you a few highlights;
We are at the end of turtle-season here now, so at first I was a bit sad that I wouldn’t be able to see so many turtles…the big ones have all left by now…But there are still the little babies hatching and let me tell you, they blew me away big time!
Seeing those adorable little fighters running for the sea, is purely magical! They are just the cutest little babies ever and totally left on their own in a tough and challenging world, being on everyone menu… You just have to cheer for them!! Me, I fell in love!
Adventures on the flood:
Some of the most exciting surveys for me, were the ones were we paddled the canals.
On our charming boat; «Porridge», we roamed the rivers in early morning hours, often watching a beautiful sunrise. Besides spectacular birds, we quite often came across a crocodile or two, sunbathing on a sandbank or «jumping into the water» not so very far from our canoe…Very thrilling indeed!
You see and hear different kinds of monkeys quite frequently here.
The absolute peak of this, was when a big family of Mantled Howler monkeys decided to pay our base a visit and stay for a couple of days. We got to see them really close, with little babies and all, and although they make the sound of little devils, they are absolutely beautiful!
There’s more to come!