To the end of that beach and back

21 06 2010

From Saturday-

I think if I eat one more coconut or drink the juice of one more pipa, I may have an issue.  I cannot resist honing my machete skills with the huge, husky cocnuts that fall from the trees (look out!) here in spades.  I have shamefully used coconut to help ease me out of the mango dependence I developed in Mastatal…I can only hope something just as splendid and healthy can take over when I get home.  Hmmm…lets see…multigrain cheerios?  Now that is a craving I could stand to satisfy!

Time, as predicted, has flown by for me at La Tortuga Feliz, on this island that has a local community, but has no name.  Endless opportunities for reflection exist around every corner – while guarding the hatchery at night, or just as the sun peaks up (if you are not busy relocating and digging a green turtle nest of releasing leatherback babies), during the 14 km of beach walking in total darkness each night patrolling for turtles, during yoga in the morning, beach time in the afternoon, or a gentle kayak down the canal that splits the island.  There has been no shortage of time to think, and I am still happy to say that I will be leaving Costa Rica with more questions than answers.  A wise and good humored physics teacher taught me repeatedly that there is no better way than the one full of wonder.

Speaking of wonder makes me think of the awe I am still in from my first encounter with a full grown, 1.7 metre long, leatherback turtle nesting.  A dinosaur in a trance, focused solely on the 100- some eggs she has carried  gently up from the sea, dragging her massive body across the sand with incredible strength and determination.  It is determination you can see right from the first day in a turtle´s life, when it crawls up from the nest and arrives at the surface, however exhausted, it´s flippers start propelling relentlessly.  It is going to reach that ocean!

It has been very peaceful working with turtles this past week, however physically exhausting and sleep deprived.  Young or old, you have this moment with a baby or a mother, and you know they are both coming from, and about to set off on, an incredible adventure, being tested by about a zillion obstacles along the way.  The one thing that does get in the way of peace is the poachers.  Turtle poaching (all kinds for their eggs, and green turtles for their meat) is a long tradition here and, though illegal, is still abound.  Many times I have walked past a group of poachers on the beach at night…and the rule is whoever gets to the turtle first gets to work with it, either to save it or poach it.  It is sad, but a lot of progress has been made in the community.  All of the project´s local guides, who accompany volunteers on beach patrols, used to be poachers.  Instead, they now can make a living by doing just the opposite.

The ocean tides certainly have a way of pulling things out of a person.  Each time they sweep inward, it is as though they seep inside me and tug out of me a new thought, question or emotion on the way back out.  So as much as I have been thinking in the past week, I have been feeling more.  It is sort of like a midnight beach patrol…without light and the ability to see, your senses end up turning inward instead.  Feeling my way in total darkness, I always make it to the end of that beach and back.

So, while I leave Costa Rica (tuesday morning) with more questions than answers, I also leave with more feeling, more emotional direction, than either of those put together.  The greatest thing Costa Rica has probably given me is a new sense of posibility…the absolute knowledge that doors are opening for me in all directions, all the time…that my life is made of choices.




14 responses

15 11 2010
Aaron Griffin

Hello again, I just wanted to thank you again for sharing all about your travels. You were so right when you said our lives are made of choices. We have the choice to make a difference with our life or not. Reaching out to others in need is so rewarding. Being a part of the bigger picture of life is really living. Thanks for all you have done, you are truly an inspiration.

5 10 2010
Lola Solano

Your writing makes me feel like I am right on the beach with you. Poor turtles having to worry about poachers. I don’t know what I would have done if I was in your shoes and passed a poacher. It is strange that you say you have guides that used to be poachers but now they are on beach patrol. If they are not stopping the poachers then what are they patrolling? Well, I see that you replied you are safe at home. Did you get that big bowl of multigrain cheerios? Take care! Any more adventures in your future?

4 10 2010

Wow, this post made me feel like I was there walking along the beach in the moon light searching for turtle shells right along with you. I am glad that you seem so excited and inspired and never ready to take a break in all of your post. I hope that you got home safely and obviously you are very busy lately since you haven’t posted since June. I am sure you will be full of things to say when you do post again.

20 09 2010
Brittany Estes

Hey Morgan,
I have really enjoyed reading your post and seeing all the great pictures you have taken. Costa Rica seems like a beautiful place and I hope to get the opportunity to see it one day too. Keep posting pictures and great stories because I love reading all about them.

11 09 2010
Crystal Raper

Hi Morgan,

I truly enjoy reading your blog about your travels to all these wonderful countries. It seems like an experience everyone should have. How you talk about the turtles and them going on an incredible adventure. I laugh it was funny when you talked about the coconut. I have never been a fan of it, but I think its great on you go to different places and try new things. It is assume reading all your great adventures you have, and I hope to read more soon.

Thanks for sharing about all your different travels!!!

8 09 2010
Angelica Scott

Hi Morgan,

I laughed when I read about your coconut issue; I tried fresh coconut in Hawaii and didn’t like it at all to start off. Wow you seem like you are having the time of your life and really are getting to do things most people dream of doing. I love your passion for the native animals just as much as I love your passion for the kids and the people you meet. When you leave Costa Rica I know that you will find another amazing place and I hope you take every one along for the amazing journey.

26 06 2010

Love the way you ended this post – what a great time in your life this must be.

I hope you’re safely back home.

27 06 2010

I sure am feeling ‘up’ right now. I hope you are too!

Home and happy. Have a fantastic summer!

22 06 2010
Elizabeth Sells

I’m glad to read about your continued adventure. It would be heart breaking to have to just walk by a poacher in action and not be able to do anything about it. I would have loved to hear more but I know that you must leave. I think as we go through life, for every question about life we have that we figure out the answer to there are another three questions that arise. These questions keep you continually searching and that searching deepens your sole and makes you a more complete person. Good luck on your search. You are just embarking on the amazing journey of life.

25 06 2010

Thanks for your comments Elizabeth and for the encouragement!

21 06 2010
George Couros

Hey Morgan,

I have been reading your posts as you have been gone. Seems like you are having a great trip while you are away. Just reading your post I am craving a mango but I will have to settle with my starbucks.

Life is definitely full of questions and it takes forever to get the answers it seems or sometimes they are temporary. The whole fun of it is that there still ARE questions. Wanting to learn about yourself is a great sign of a great teacher because it shows you are a great learner.

Thanks for sharing about your trip!

25 06 2010

I think you are absolutely right: questions are so fun and really create a more vibrant life! Thanks for your comments and for following along.

21 06 2010

Hi Morgan,

Another great update, full of new insights. In particular, I am fond of your last sentence which sums up so well the major lessons you have learned in Costa Rico. It seems it took me a few decades to arrive at the same revelation.

Looking forward so much to your homecoming and, meanwhile, thanks for all the great and descriptive updates.


25 06 2010


Thanks for commenting! I’m glad you enjoyed the posts. Can’t wait to see you and talk about it all with you in person!

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