Curious what it is like to be a RPT volunteer? Especially during turtle season? We thought you might be, so here’s a little something to give you an idea.
First, the backstory: The beach hatchery and camp have already been built, in anticipation of the arriving sea turtles. Volunteers and staff are scheduled for night patrol shifts. You were on a late afternoon patrol yesterday, so you slept in your comfortable room at the Reserve’s main building…
7am: Your alarm goes off. You hit snooze.
7:09am: The alarm goes off again. Okay, okay, time to get up. You walk down to the bathrooms to take a shower and brush your teeth. After getting dressed, you grab your tablet and head into the main room.
8:30am: You are sitting in the main room, having grabbed a quick breakfast and now sipping on some fantastic Costa Rican coffee. Other volunteers come in and out, saying hello as they grab their breakfast. You are checking your email on your tablet, and letting your friends and family know what a great time you are having.
9:00am: It’s low tide at the beach so you head off with a RPT staff member and a few other volunteers to take measurements for the erosion study that will ultimately help the
11:00am: You head back to the Reserve and help out in the Butterfly Garden. There will be a group of school children arriving in the afternoon.
12pm: Everyone gathers in the main room for a hearty “tipico” Costa Rican lunch – today it is rice, beans, veggies and fish. As everyone eats, they share stories about themselves. People also share ideas of what you might do on your free day (waterfalls, diving, hiking, etc) It’s a fun way to get to know your fellow volunteers.
1pm: You have a little bit of time this afternoon as you are signed up for a night patrol. You decide to take a quick nap and then meet up for the afternoon bird walk.
3:30pm: Adrian takes your group on a beach birding walk. The variety of birds you see in that hour and a half walk is amazing. You never knew birds could be so interesting!
5pm: You are back at the Reserve and grabbing a bite to eat for dinner. Then you head to your room to put on your night clothes and grab your red light headlamp for the night patrol.
6pm – 9pm: You walk the beach with several other volunteers and a RPT staff member, on the lookout for nesting turtles. As you patrol the beach, you hope that maybe tonight will be the night a nesting turtle arrives!