Sometimes an epic adventure springs forth from an unplanned and unexpected experience. It’s that experience that shouts “drop everything you’re doing and let’s go”. Welcome to day three of my bucket list adventures, something we didn’t plan… because we didn’t know it was going to happen.
Every year in Nosara, beginning in late July, a special force of nature creates a truly remarkable spectacle that can only be seen in a few places around the world. We are fortunate to have one such
place right here in our backyard, The Ostional Olive Ridley Turtle Refuge. Turtles come from thousands of miles away to the beach where they were born to lay their own eggs. It’s nothing you can predict and there’s no way to know how the turtles communicate with eachother to return to the same spot at exactly the same time, but when it happens you drop everything you’re doing, grab whatever means of transportation is available and go see this phenomenon take place.
Two years ago we had a terrific group of families unrelated to each other staying at Tierra Magnifica. Our gardener who lives 7 km up the coast in Ostional came to work and whispered to Erika that the
turtles were arriving. Not just 10 or 20 or 30, but thousands. There were some activities planned for the day but we talked with the families and suggested that we rearrange their schedule because it was something that they needed to see. We booked a bunch of ATVs, enough to carry everybody over the mountain side and along the coast to the nesting beach. The excitement immediately electrified the air around the breakfast table and everybody began to look around for the things they needed to bring, asked questions about what to wear, and started to prepare for the adventure we were not expecting.
We had an awesome ride out of Nosara rolling along cattle pastures and through the forest. We splashed through rivers and barreled up hillsides that tumbled back down to the seaside. It was a
feeling of letting loose, leaving everything planned behind and taking off with no preconceived notions except that we were racing off to witness an authentic miracle. We were a pack of riders, just like when I was a kid taking off on an amazing adventure on a Saturday morning with friends on bikes (we never did make it to China though).
We all rolled into the little seaside village of Ostional. There is nothing touristy about this place, no lines, no buses, no ticket takers; no hotels or souvenir vendors; just a sleepy little village with locals strolling about and a few curious rustic travelers who had heard that the turtles had arrived. Our gardener was our guide and lead us to his house just 50 meters away from the beach. We walked out onto an eerily quiet beach even though the wind was gusting and the waves crashing. There was this mystical air in the place we’d walked into, it seemed empty but something was happening there. My first reaction was “where were the thousands of turtles”? I didn’t see
anything like what I had expected to see. But then I noticed a large rounded ancient object emerge from a wave. It was a turtle, maybe 80 pounds. Then I recognize two more than 10 and 40. As soon as my perception had adjusted to the reality I recognized, I realized that there were hundreds then thousands of turtles emerging from the ocean or on the beach or up in the reeds just above the beach digging pits and laying eggs. Some were slowly making their way back to the ocean. There was no noise except the blowing of the wind, the crashing of the waves and the curious voices within our small group. This scene created a sense of isolation for us even though we were surrounded by the turtles. All this was being done in their own silence, it was something that they simply had to do.
We broke into small groups and gathered around individual turtles, giving them enough space so as not to be disturbed. The female Olive Ridley would dig the hole with her back flippers then while staring forward in a meditative trance, she would lay up to 120 eggs in the hole. She then returned the sand with her back flippers, pat it down, then slowly turned her body back around and made her way back to the ocean. We were told that the male turtles accompany the female turtles on the journey but were waiting in the ocean just a few meters off. So the two would leave their nest and venture back thousands of miles from where they had come. I remember wondering if the pair talked much on the way home and if so what did they talk about? “How did it go sweetheart? Are you tired? You look tired, maybe we should just float for a while?.” “Nice work up there darling, how many did you lay? You look thinner. Did you see Mrs. Yurtle while you were there?”.
We rode back to TM and continued on with our audible day. That night, as we gathered on the beach for a sunset and bonfire BBQ, I couldn’t stop myself from looking back at the waves washing up on the beach, expecting with each roll to see a large black rounded creature emerge slowly. That was a particularly mystical night, and yet another epic day.
Yesterday I shared with you a Super Natural Adventures video clip that we created about ants, to put more visual color to the picture I tried to paint with that blog post. I invite you to click on another link of my son, William, at age 7 doing an episode about the turtles HERE to learn more about the Olive Ridley Turtles nesting.
Each of our 8 Adventures are available for booking. If you’re ready to go, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to plan your trip today!