Costa Rica in 3 weeks, Part 1: Border Hopping and Tamarindo

I’m finished most of my internship at the butterfly gardens and just had 3 weeks to travel before a two week volunteer stint at Cano p
Palma research station. I started by going to San Juan del Sur in Nicaragua, then spent a week in Tamarindo surfing, climbed in Cachi, snorkelled in Uvita and spent a week at The Yoga Farm in Punta Banco. I’ve been a terrible blogger and haven’t been keeping up at all, so I’m going to write this in three parts, breaking it into:
1. Nicaragua and Tamarindo
2. Cachi
3.Punta Banco

Nicaragua and Tamarindo

San Juan del Sur is a very touristy town in Nicaragua so I probably shouldn’t have been surprised to learn I was sharing a room with 11 frat guys, or that one of them had shat on the floor the night before. The area surrounding the town is quite gorgeous though! I spent a bit of time on the beach my first day, then hiked around more on my second day, got a little bit lost, but figured it out and had a pretty great time overall.

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So this is what was taped to the bunk next to me when I arrived

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A nice beach, with a very large Jesus statue looking out over the town

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About a 45 minute walk from town, or a 2 hour walk if you’re me and accept a ride from someone who has no idea what you’re talking about when you say petroglyph and takes you to a suburb..but either way you can find a beautiful river with a large petroglyph.

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I don’t know very much about it, but it is amazing to look at!

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Hiked back to town then up to the Jesus statue where the view is amazing!

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Me and Jesus watching over the bay

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A few of the guys in my dorm went on a booze cruise, came back and promptly passed out after drawing on each other drew, then puked and peed their beds. Nice work gentlemen. My bunkmate let his friend who peed in his bed join him in his bed as long as he promised to “respect my bunkie, you’ve gotta be nice to my bunkie because she’s a marine biologist and I love her”. So that was funny.

After an early morning border crossing, which was mad hectic and involved a 2 hour line up in the dusty heat, I was en route to Tamarindo.

Tamarindo

I spent a week in Tamarindo at Witches Rock Surf Camp. When i arrived I barely had time to put my things in my room and throw my swimsuit on before my first lesson. The waves were pretty big on my first day, and i may have overstated my surfing experience en espanol, so my instructor kept chucking me on big waves. It was pretty sweet, I dropped in on a few pretty good ones and intimidated most of the guys in the camp. We had a 90 minute surf session everyday plus some type of tutorial like surf safety, surf etiquette, history of surf, science of waves, and a couple video analysis where we essentially watched the best bails and rides of the day from where we were secretly filmed in the bushes.

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So ready to surf

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An afternoon tide pool exploration turned into putting sea stars on our heads

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Check out the cute nudibranch!

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Surfing in the river mouth, the waves were kind of small after the first couple days but we still had a great time

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Coconut on the beach

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My roommate was into crossfit so we did WODs (workout of the days) in between surf sessions

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Barnacles!!! Yes I am 3 exclamation marks excited about barnacles. I got to show people tide pools and explain the joys of barnacles to them. Most people don’t realize that there is an animal in that little cone structure. Well, usually, unless a sea star or something has eaten them.

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A visitor at breakfast

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We had an infinity pool which was actually pretty nice to relax in. I’m normally against pools next to beaches, but I came to accept it as something pretty wonderful

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We were able to watch Robert August shape a custom surf board, he has done over 35,000 of them!

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Shaping that board

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Last day with my two favourite instructors, Axel and Maria

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Our surfer stances. My favourite lesson from Maria was how girls need to pop up slightly differently because we have “the boobies” and the booties.

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Some of the crew on our last night

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And i now have a surf diploma, pretty much going to frame it next to my BSc.

So surf camp was a pretty killer time. Worth it for sure, if anyone wants to go if I recommend you you get $50 off or something. I tried out my new surfing skills in Punta Banco and got smashed by the huge waves, but to be totally honest, I deserved that. The waves were really big.

Next up, Cachi Crags and Uvita!

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Monteverde: the first 2 weeks

Costa Rica has been such an adventure so far and I’ve only been here for 11 days. I’ve been giving tours of the butterfly gardens during the day, reading a lot, hiking and have even gone out dancing a couple times. On a scale of one to terrible, I’m pretty much the worst at dancing but I’ve managed to get by, mostly by finding guys who are half decent at leading and then just smiling and laughing a lot when I screw up.

Climbing on a big fig tree I found on a hike near the butterfly gardens

Climbing on a big fig tree I found on a hike near the butterfly gardens

The tours at the butterfly garden are so much fun, I basically take groups through an arthropod room tell them all about tarantulas, scorpions, beetles, cockroaches and a few other neat things then we go through 4 butterfly gardens. People come in from all different backgrounds so sometimes it’s a little difficult to communicate and I end up doing a lot of weird interpretive dances mimicking scorpion mating…but I think I get the message across! We try to kind of make it funny, but the language barrier kind of annihilates some of my jokes. That and there are definitely some major cultural differences when it comes to humor. So far, I’ve found that German people either think I’m the funniest thing ever, or they just stare at me like an idiot whenever I try to be funny. There is no middle ground.

Some Owl butterflies at the bar. They eat fermented fruit all day, they are the alcoholics of the butterfly world.

Some Owl butterflies at the bar. They eat fermented fruit all day, they are the alcoholics of the butterfly world. And they suffer the consequences, only living for a few weeks!

I had my first day off on Friday, hiked for a solid 8 hours, got kind of lost on a trail, which ended up being really nice because I found a big fig tree! Then I hiked Cerro Amigos, which is this pretty big elevation gain, but it’s worth it because the view is supposed to be aaamazing, except for when it’s cloudy, which it was. So I got a wonderful photo of the inside of a cloud…

Check out that view! Top of Cerro Amigo. I wasn't willing to wait around long enough for the weather to clear up. It was a great hike though, 1842m up!

Check out that view! Top of Cerro Amigo. I wasn’t willing to wait around long enough for the weather to clear up. It was a great hike though, 1842m!

I then went to the bat jungle. It was amazing, I learned so much and am pretty much going to be the hugest entomology/bat nerd after this trip! It was great because one of the guys who works there let me and the other volunteer join him mist netting the night before, so I’d seen a few bats in the wild and learned a bit before actually going for a tour. The mist netting was so much fun! We went out two nights in a row, set up very fine nylon nets along trails and then checked them for bats every 15 minutes or so for a couple hours. We saw a striped palm viper, which I walked right past in shorts so thankfully it didn’t bite me! An orange kneed tarantula, an orange mouthed arboreal tarantula, and 3 silky short-tailed bats. The animals in this country are amazing!

Check out how cute this bat is!

Check out how cute this bat is!

So in summary, everything is amazing and here are a bunch of photos:

The beautiful Julia butterfly

The beautiful Julia butterfly.

Some owl butterflies getting it on.

Some owl butterflies getting it on.

The Asthma beetle. Thought to cure asthma when eaten it turns out they actually cause it by chewing stuff up and making dust!

The Asthma beetle. Thought to cure asthma when eaten it turns out they actually cause asthma by chewing detritus up and making fine dust!

When a caterpillar turns into a butterfly, it makes a crysalis out of it's exoskeleton and turns into goo inside, then completely reforms into a butterfly.

When a caterpillar turns into a butterfly, it makes a chrysalis out of it’s exoskeleton and turns into goo inside, then completely reforms into a butterfly and emerges!

You can read all about how inside the chrysalis it is just a pile of goo, but there was one that wasn't hatching, sooo we cut it open to see for ourselves! Yup. Pile of goopy wet brown stuff.

You can read all about how inside the chrysalis it is just a pile of goo, but we had one that wasn’t emerging, so we cut it open to see for ourselves! Yup. Pile of goopy wet brown stuff.

Coffee and a sunset before bat research assistance time!

Coffee and a sunset before bat research assistanting time!

Striped palm viper that we walked right past!

The striped palm viper that we walked right past!

"Fishing" for an orange mouthed arboreal tarantula with a katydid on a leash

“Fishing” for an orange mouthed arboreal tarantula with a katydid on a leash

Hello beautiful day! Cerro Amigos.

Hello beautiful day! Cerro Amigos.

No hike would be complete without some impromptu yoga!

No hike would be complete without some impromptu trail yoga!

Totally biffed it on the way down, then I had to walk through town with a questionable looking brown mud stain on my shorts/legs. Good times!

Totally biffed it on the way down Cerro Amigos (super steep), then I had to walk through town with a questionable looking brown mud stain on my shorts/legs. Good times!

Congratulations on making it all the way through my hiking/arthropod photos, here is a cute little mammal. It's a Coati!

Congratulations on making it all the way through my hiking/arthropod photos, here is a cute little mammal as a reward. It’s a Coati!

So, Costa Rica is great. Public education is a blast. Seriously considering doing a masters in science education (apparently Laurentian University has a good program). I’m hoping to organize an event for the young naturalist club here in the next couple months. They are a group aged 6-13 and I’m thinking I’ll probably go for an ethnobotany lesson or something, but I’m not entirely sure yet. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

With love from Costa Rica, see you all back in Canada (or wherever) soon!
Christina

To Monteverde!

I arrived safely at The Monteverde Butterfly Gardens and have started to settle in and learn my way around a little. It was a bit of an adventure getting here though! To preface this post, I was not very prepared for this trip. I forgot to get a typhoid fever vaccination, I didn’t learn nearly enough Spanish, and I bought the guide book at the airport.

I flew out of Vancouver and had a brief stop over in Los Angeles before my overnight flight to San Jose. Once out of the airport in San Jose I completely disregarded my friend’s advice about only taking the orange cabs from the airport and hopped in a Honda Accord with a taxi driver who spoke English quite well. We went through probably the sketchiest area I have ever been through (that being said, I am not that well travelled) and I was dropped off at a Spanish speaking bus station, near the Coca Cola bus area.

Waiting at the bus station forever

Waiting at the bus station forever

Once I’d successfully purchased a ticket, in Spanish (I was pretty proud of myself), I had 5 hours until the bus arrived. I figured I’d have lunch and use the internet at the little cafe near the bus terminal. The good news is, it was $3 USD for a latte and a lunch thing, the bad news is I’m a vegetarian and I think I ate chicken. I just pointed at something behind the counter as I was failing epically at reading the menu. Turns out it had chicken in it, or pork, I’m not entirely sure to be honest. But on the bright side, I now know how to ask if there is meat in things. I then proceeded to hang out at the bus station for 5 hours while diligently guarding my bags. I had to pee, a couple times. You have to pay 200 colones to use the washroom, someone had peed all over the floor, there was no seat on the toilet, and there was a man fixing the sink. So I essentially did weighted squats with my 65L backpack, while trying not to laugh. And I thought I wouldn’t get in any exercise while traveling!

A kitty friend I made at the bus station.

A kitty friend I made at the bus station.

The bus ride up was all Spanish speaking people, lucky for me there was one German girl with broken English and she translated a few things for me. Including “there might be thieves, watch your bag” which the bus driver had tried to get across by pointing at my bag and making a sad face with a pretend tear drop after I confidently told him “No hablo Espanol moy bien”, which is probably spelled worse than I pronounced it. Once on the bus with my bags safely stowed I fell asleep for about an hour, then I woke up and we were driving through these gorgeous forests with huge green trees. We went through a few small towns and then drove up a winding dirt road for about an hour to get to Monteverde. I took a taxi up to the “Jardin de Mariposas” and met everyone. It’s me, another volunteer, the owners, and their 11 year old son all living at the gardens. I have my own room for now, but will be sharing with another female volunteer who is arriving in a couple weeks.

The volunteer quarters, well kind of. This is the kitchen/other volunteers room.

The volunteer quarters, well kind of. This is the kitchen/other volunteers room.

I had my first day, followed a tour, walked through the gardens, memorized some butterfly names and facts, learned how to do a few maintenance type things and attempted to make empanadas.

Just to be clear, I’m not a totally ignorant tourist…I didn’t really think I’d need much Spanish to get to the butterfly gardens and thought I’d just kind of wing it, but for the rest of my trip when I am traveling I’m planning to actually learn to speak enough to get by.

Not a bad view from the balcony

Not a bad view from the balcony

Only the coolest beetle ever: the elephant beetle. It feels soft like velvet.

Only the coolest beetle ever: the elephant beetle. It feels soft like velvet.

An owl butterfly in the low altitude garden

An owl butterfly in the low altitude garden

Silver crysalids from which glass butterflies will one day emerge.

Silver crysalids from which glass butterflies will one day emerge.

A stingless wasp colony

A stingless bee colony

Turns out I have curly hair! Me in my room.

Turns out I have curly hair! Me in my room.

I’m excited to be doing tours and working here for the next 2.5 months! I’ll probably be blogging about neat insects and stuff for the rest of my time here, there is a lot to learn!

Love to Canada from Costa Rica, hope you’re all enjoying winter!

P.S. I saw a tucan and a white faced monkey today! I didn’t get pictures though.

Kayaking the Broken Islands

The Broken Island Group is a beautiful group of islands between Bamfield and Ucluelet. The outer islands shelter a large area from the open ocean, so although you are in the middle of a large inlet of the open ocean it quite calm compared to the large channels around it.

A map of the broken island group, the smaller square is where we did our kayaking, see below.

An outline of our trip, the red line is our first day (which was a round trip) and the pink line is our second day. Notice the attempt to go between Benson and Clarke. It was a very windy day and the huge waves and strong winds from the open ocean made our original trip plan too dangerous.

My friend Mo invited a few friends from Vancouver to join us in Bamfield and the 6 of us rented kayaks from Broken Island Adventures. We took a water taxi out and set up camp on Gilbert island.

Home sweet home on Gilbert island

A sealion near our campsite on Gilbert. He was chasing a little school of fish and was so fun to watch.

Our first day we paddled to Wouwer to see the great tide pool. Our lack of map reading skills, combined with our inability to decide whether to go by compass directions or the shape of islands on the map made our journey there pretty hilarious, but we made it!

Getting ready to leave for Wouwer island

The hike in to the great tide pool, you have to beach on one side of the island and hike to the other side.

Mo in the great tide pool, she brought a whole wetsuit and I, in true unprepared Christina fashion, went in in my undies. The great tide pool is a huge tide pool that you can actually snorkel in! There are some amazing creatures in it, including moon snails.

A nice paddle back to our campsite with the wind to our backs and we soon had a nice little fire going and a lovely little camp dinner.

A gorgeous sunset on our way back from Wouwer

There was an amazing bioluminescence bloom this August. Bioluminescence is created by plankton which will give off a blue-white light when disturbed. Most of the other girls hadn’t seen bioluminescence before and wanted to swim in it. I’d already gone skinny-dipping in the great tide pool and wasn’t keen about getting back in the ocean, but remembered a canoeing trip I’d been on through the bioluminescence last year and came up with a better idea. After convincing Mo we hauled our kayaks down the beach and into the ocean. We paddled through the bioluminesence, leaving trails of light behind us and glowing balls where our paddles touched the water. The further from shore we got the more brilliantly the water glowed. Fish swam below us, creating streaks through the water. Occasionally an entire school would swim beneath us creating a wave of blue-white light. There was also a meteor shower the same night. There is no way to capture or describe how magical and amazing that night was. We paddled around the inlet watching the stars, the trails left by our kayaks and paddles, and searching for schools of fish for at least an hour.

A general idea of what bioluminescence looks like. It was completey dark except for the stars and the water was very still, so it would only light up when we moved through it. *

The next morning was foggy and damp, we made breakfast and I went out for a quick paddle around the island while the rest of the girls got ready. I stayed quite close to shore and paddled around Gilbert and a neighboring island. It was a beautiful peaceful way to start the day. When I got back everyone was ready to go and the fog was starting to burn off. We were planning to make our way over to Turret Island by going across Coaster Channel. The idea with crossing this channel is hugging the shore of the islands surrounding it, which makes for a long trip.

A foggy morning paddle

Coaster channel was quite choppy and when we were picked up we were informed that we probably shouldn’t have crossed it in those conditions. Luckily we made it, and even more luckily the other girls talked me and Mo out of attempting to go around the open ocean side of Clarke island as we’d planned.

The girls in Coaster Channel at the start of our day long paddle

This doesn’t do it justice, but this is what we were going through in Coaster Channel on the way to Benson. It was choppy with huge swells and we would occasionally have waves break on the fronts of our kayaks

The beach at Benson Island, an important First Nations archaeological site, where we stopped for lunch

A magical little mossy forest on Benson island

I was happy to be finished our day of paddling

We were picked up by the Broken Island Adventures water taxi and safely brought back to Bamfield where we enjoyed dinner and promptly passed out, still feeling the waves moving our bodies.

* Photo from http://aquamarinediscovery.blogspot.ca/2008/10/dinoflagellates-bioluminescent-algae.html

Back to Canada

I left South Africa and the game reserve on July 18. The last week, and my entire time there, was amazing and I miss it already. During our last week we did a lot of road repair, enjoyed another breakfast at the lodge, and had a massage in town before and a few fantastic braais. Eda gave me a lot of her photos, but the USB I put them on isn’t working so hopefully I can convince her to email them to me…there are a lot of them and they are large files though, so we’ll see.

Kim, who is one of the people running the volunteer program, wanted me to go on a game drive before I wrote my final exam for my field guiding course. We’d been driving around every morning and seeing all of the animals but it was interesting to get a different perspective on it by having a field guide. It helped quite a bit actually. I wrote my exam the night after the game drive, and it had lots of theory questions which we learned in class but there were quite a few practical questions as well. I recieved my results a few days later, they are quick markers, and passed with 83%. So I just have to register with DEAT and I can be a South Africa field guide.

We also did a night game drive, so we were able to see the animals at night which was really interesting. We saw lots of rabbits and were hoping to spot some porcupines, but they were all hiding. We did a rifle handing course. We shot a .22, 308 and a 410. It was a lot of fun. I still have bad aim, but my grouping is good so hooray for small victories.

My favourite animals were the cheetahs. I have pretty much decided that my masters or PhD project will involve conservation genetics, but I would love to work with cheetahs as well. They are very interesting genetically as they went through a population bottleneck, meaning at one point there were very few left so they are all very similar genetically. This poses a problem as low genetic diversity can lead to many problems in a population. For example, if a disease were to enter the population it would likely affect all individuals.

I loved all of the animals though, and although Canada is beautiful and I’m happy to see my family and friends I am really missing South Africa!

My plan as of now is to finish my biology degree, I graduate in December, and then head back to South Africa. If I can find a job I would really like to work as a field guide for about a year before beginning my masters or PhD.

I’m in Princeton until Tuesday when I leave for Bamfield then I will be back in Kelowna in September, so see everybody then!

Much love,

Christina

Game lodge time

I’ve been at the garden route game lodge for just over a week now. We get up and feed the elephants at 630am then go out on the reserve for the morning. We find inyunga the cheetah who is out on the reserve with her babies and record their location, watch the sun rise while we take our coffee break surrounded by this gorgeous landscape and amazing animals then spend the rest of the day doing anything that need to be done. Sometimes we feed the cheetahs and clean their enclosures, clean the elephant boma, repair roads or remove alien plants.

There are two other volunteers: eda and bianca. They are both from Germany. Eda is just learning English and we have some really funny misunderstandings because of it. The three of us work with liezel and the four of us just pretty much spend the entire day laughing, I have usually almost peed my pants from laughing so hard at least twice by breakfast time.

Mostly this is just pictures because I’m too lazy to write a whole thing and i have to study, so enjoy!

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My first day out we found inyunga and the cubs eating an impala

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Giraffes!

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A live puff adder, much prettier than the dead one I found at the nature college

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We did a tour of the reptile center

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A glass of wine by the pool! There was a staff party and no guests in the lodge on Monday so we were able to relax by the pool for the afternoon

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Buffalos looking for food

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Morning coffee break

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Fixing a fence around a protected tree, milkwood, so the animals don’t eat it.

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Bianca and eda

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Time to feed the cheetahs!

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Killing some invasive plants with machetes

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We got to have dinner stay in the chalets at the lodge. Best ever.

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Bianca me and eda headed for dinner and drinks at the lodge

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We went to knysna for the weekend and i went for a morning canoe trip down a river just out of town

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A bird on the river, it let us get very close before taking off

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Back at the game lodge on our morning truck ride to feed the elephants

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Baby cheetah!!

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I loove these guys

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Some road repair

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Eland morning

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Annnd more giraffe
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Hungry cheetah

So south Africa is awesome… I tried to extend my fliht departure, but it would have cost to much so I’m back in Canada on the 19th. Excited to see everyone and hear about what’s been going on there!

Much love,
Christina

Khaki fever, puff adders and graduation

My time at the nature college was so wonderful. It was a lot of lectures, a lot of field work, and a lot of studying. But I appreciate this area so much more now.

The other people in my course were all so fantastic. There were seven of us; Rose is a birder and reminded me of mom, Lorna called me ‘pet’ and always had a hug or something nice to say, Landi is studying nature conservation in school and has the perfect personality for tour guiding, Jaunita works on expedition ships and is very well travelled, Paul is a hunter and has done anti poaching work in Tanzania, Richard just sold his B&B and wanted to get into guiding, and Wendy is hilarious and is definitely going to have entertaining tours, I wish I could see her in action. Our instructor John was so knowledgable, I get the feeling he could survive quite nicely for a long time if someone were to dump him out in the woods. And Jaques is this hilarious Afrikaans guide who gets soooo excited about everything. He has this amazing ‘african hillbilly’ accent and I will never forget the way he yelled ‘ETHICS’ when talking about a guide driving over a quartz field.

I have had some of the best running of my life here . First the ostrich incident I mentioned in my last post, then a few days ago I found a dead snake. I flipped it over and took a picture. John identified it as a puff adder and told me about thanatosis. Sometimes snakes play dead….luckily mine was actually dead or I could
have gotten a nice dose of cytotoxin! I was really enjoying a nice short run one day when this spribgbok darted out across the road.
So I stood there thinking “oh no…why is this thing running? There must be
something chasing it…” there had been leopard tracks the other day, and they were far away, but i patched myself out and decided
to turn back. I ran a few minutes back towards the college and I saw some
ostriches running then they stopped on the road ahead. Again:
what were they running from? I sat down and waited until they moved and then a snake darted into the bush beside me. I jumped and just ran at full speed for about
5 minutes completely missing the turnoff I should have taken. So I went all the
way to the paved road, which is a ways away, and in the end I accidently ran for about an hour and a half.
Short run day indeed.

For my assessment this morning I had to give an hour long tour to Landi and Lorna while John followed and assessed me. He was watching for client handling, general knowledge, interpretations, awareness and just generally how I was doing. I talked about spiders, lichen and sybiotic relationships, mistletoe, the poverty bush and num num tree, ostriches, porcupine dung, aardvark burrows, mima (termite) mounds, the San people, how to tell direction, adiobatic cooling and rain shadows, bird identification, quartz vein formation….you can discuss a lot in an hour! I lost a couple points because I was discussing a midden (a pile of dung to mark territory) and apparently there were some baboon calls that I didn’t hear or acknowledge. I also apparently sounded a little uncertain about some tracks I identified as “probably steenbok”, so I got docked a couple points but managed to score 90%. Which I feel pretty good about considering I have been here for two weeks and have never seen these plants/animals before.

But it’s over! I have a written test, which I am not worried about, then i am a CATHSSETA certified field guide. Everyone left happy, and we all piled into our respective vehicles and said our goodbyes this afternoon. Jaques and his wife nadia drove me into town. During the drive we had a talk about HIV and ‘khaki fever’ (when “foreign girls make it a mission to hop into bed with anything wearing khaki” and get HIV). I knew the rate of HIV was high here but it is ridiculous! One of the bigger universities has a 1/3 rate of infected people. Also, the president apparently proposes that if you have sex with an HIV positive person you can just have a hot shower. He did it with an HIV postive prostitute so it obviously works. Jaque, his wife Nadia and I had lunch before I went back to the Garden Route Game Lodge. Jaque’s last words to me; “keep in touch, and don’t forget; khaki fever is real!’ I got back to the game lodge, had the best shower of my life, a glass of wine to celebrate and the fire was just started for a braai.
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Paul, Wendy, rose, Richard and landi on the bakkie
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A blackback jackel. You can tell its a blackback jackel and not an aardwolf because of the way its claws are away from the toes and point straight ahead, also because there are two lobes on the pad and the back two toes are more or less parallel. Fun facts.
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Checking out some tracks
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My friend the puff adder – definitely dead
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Landi and Jauni watching some birds
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The little brown ones are South African shelducks. I used them in my assessment, thankfully they were on this lake because they are one of a few I can identify.

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Cave painting in ochre by the San people. The speculated meaning of this one is a woman died giving birth here
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Me and Jauni cooking up a storm, ochre face stripes and mealie pap to make it a very African experience
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A mould fossil of a glossopteris leaf
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Jauni braaing. Everyone here braais everything. Also, fish with apricot jam, try it sometime.
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The best shower in the world. Outdoors, wooden slats, overlooking the game reserve and I brought a glass of wine.

Loving life. Glad to be back at the game lodge, as much as I loved the college I am happy to be surrounded by elephants, baby cheetahs and lions again. Tomorrow I get to do snake handling and elephant darting! So excited.

See everyone in two weeks!