Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Day 10: Turtles, Snorkeling and our Last Night

Everybody was up to an early start. We had to get ready and go snorkeling in the Pacific Ocean. The waking up part of the day was a bit hard on everybody because it was a little earlier than usual due to us having to go to a restaurant for breakfast. By the time everybody was ready, we were all excited for what we were about to do in the coming hours.

We broke into two groups. One group took a speed boat to arrive at the place at which we snorkeled, while the other traveled on a sail boat (it took about a hour longer to arrive at the destination). As we
traversed the gulf in the morning, the weather was very sunny, dry, and exhausting.

Once the sail boat reached the destination, the two groups switched activities. The people that were already on speed boat got out of the water and switched places with the people on the sail boat where they were to have lunch. The group originally on the sail boat got to start tagging and releasing the sea turtles that were caught a few minutes before hand. Afterwards, they proceeded to snorkel and view the sea life, while still keeping an eye out for sea turtles. Then they got to enjoy the delicious lunch as well. By the time everyone was done with eating, the two groups switched boats for the most part. People originally in the sail boat were now in the speed boat and vice versa, however, the sky was cloudy and waves were getting larger at that point. As a result, the way back to the coast was more exhilarating for the people on the speed boats. Now we are waiting for the upcoming barbecue for dinner.

- Amogh and Ravi

       As much as I appreciate Amogh and Ravi’s description, my experience was much less idyllic. As an outgoing passenger on the sailboat I enjoyed myself at first, before becoming thoroughly seasick. I stayed that way until the boat ride back. Tagging sea turtles (while fascinating and amazing) became far more difficult with the added challenge of staring at the horizon as often as possible. And because of the waves, snorkeling actually made me feel worse. Mom, Dad, don’t worry, I feel fine now. Actually, I can’t complain too much. The choppy seas on the motor boat ride to shore almost instantly revived me, and had a great time. As Ravi and Amogh mentioned, we are now relaxing until a barbeque dinner, and reflecting on the trip.
       Speaking of reflections, Ms. Leland actually wanted me to write some deep stuff, not just a paragraph of complaints, so here goes:
       I’ve actually learned a lot about both science and myself on this trip. On the topic of myself, I’ll just say marine biology is not my calling. As for science, I got to see what the scientific method looks like in the real world, and why it is so necessary. I got to create my own experiment based on my own curiosity (instead of following a pre-designed lab) and work through all the problems associated with that freedom. I got to see the rainforest, man! The biodiversity and uniqueness of planet Earth! Most importantly, though, I got a glimpse into what a career in science would be like for me, and I think I like it.



Monday, June 25, 2018

Day 9: El Jobo

Today we we left Finca La Anita to our new destination in El Jobo.  On the way, we pondered our experiences and each of the following are comments/reflections made by the students on this trip.  They are numbered with a name unassigned.  See if you can tell which comment was made by your student.

  1. The food is very healthy, and there are lots of activities.
  2. This trip was a great start to the summer and really helpful in showing us the hands - on experience that we can get in the field.
  3. There were lots of activities that were unexpected.
  4. The trip has been a great experience for me. Except for the infection, that wasn't so enjoyable.
  5. You've never felt true discomfort until you're digging out ant fungus in a termite nuptial flight, but you've never felt true excitement until you're in Costa Rica.  
  6. Dear parentals, I really like the hiking and waterfalls they are extremely fun!!
  7. I really want a pet monkey and this entire trip has been better than expected!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  8. This trip was an amazing experience but I'm surprised that I've only had guacamole once :((
  9. I tried to buy a huge banana but it was a plantain, at least there are a bunch of dogs here to keep me company
  10. I will never be scared of a Minnesota bug again, also I LOVE all the cows
  11. My abs hurt from laughing, my feet hurt from hiking, but the dogs are really cute, so it's okay.
  12. I have never had so many new experiences in such a short span of time!!!
  13. Lots of little bug friendos. Neat.
  14. I'm not sure if this experience was amazing or traumatizing. Probably both, in the best way possible.
  15. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. 
  16. The cultural exposure of this trip is so cool, I love it here! 

       Greetings and salutations once more! Today it is I, Miah, writing for your favorite Costa Rican blog. Our day today was eventful, to say the least. After some last-minute packing and a final breakfast at La Anita, we loaded into the Party Bus to begin our journey to El Jobo. While the music was questionable, the view was phenomenal and the company was superb (shout out to Felix!). We made a pit stop at Peri, a super-duper-market. Everyone loaded up on junk food (which was hard to come by at La Anita) and cookies, which was quite fun. It was interesting to see who was adventurous and bought Costa Rican snacks, and who went with American classics (I was among the former, because my mother is always reminding me to try things I can't get anywhere else).
       We continued our ride until we arrived at Blue Dream Hotel, a charming (and diminutive) hotel with a wonderful view of the beach. Before we had much time to settle in, we rushed to lunch at Kembly's, a home style up-and-coming restaurant, which I thought was quite- oh wait, I can't talk about the food. I guess you'll never know what I thought... Anyway, the most important part of our day was our ray adventure. We met with a marine biologist named Sebastian, and traversed the (very slippery) beach to Playa Rayas, which literally means "Ray Beach". Suited up in fins, goggles, and snorkels, we searched for, found, and caught a variety of rays, from sting to butterfly. My snorkeling experience was a bit of a disaster, (don't worry Mom, I'm fine), but I think everyone else enjoyed themselves a lot. We also got to measure, tag, weigh, and release the rays we caught, which I liked a lot more. Did you know that butterfly rays are distinct because they are wider than they are long? I do now. It was also cool getting to see what such a large-scale project looks like on a day to day basis.
       To conclude our day, we got a chance to shower, and relax over a pizza dinner (made by Joseph and Ravi), which I am currently consuming. Thanks for tuning in to the best research trip blog in El Jobo, and don't forget to guess who wrote each of the numbered comments above!

Miah 🦆

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Day 8: Science Presentations and Waterfall

Folder for Day 8 Pictures




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hello world. first time seeing internet in years i forgot the feeling of touching the keyboard this is weird. djhsfjhksjhksg

I started the day off at 6 AM counting.  One thing I learned is that counting is much more difficult than I thought it was.  I started counting with accents and Allan, the graduate student, remarked, "What stung you?" and "When did you get to bed? 2 AM?"  I didn't reply.  When I got to 97, I was pretty proud of myself because my data was going to work out.  Actually, it didn't end up working out and I was accused of p-hacking (manipulating data to get desired results).  I was pretty disappointed and we get ripped on by three teachers for our presentation.  

After our beautiful final presentations (which we will share with you at home (except Alex who may or may not make it in a Culver's uniform)).  We were told we would be rewarded be a nice relaxing hike to a waterfall.  This hike was promised to be much shorter and enjoyable than our last hike two days ago.  

After lunch, we got to go on a nice tractor ride that got tippy!! which made some of us a tad nervous, and our tractor driver found it funny that we were nervous because we were fine! after arriving we got to go on a beautiful hike to the waterfall. we had a nice muddy walk and had to cross a river to get to the waterfall. most of us were nervous of getting our socks and boats wet but that didn't end up mattering because most of us got soaked later. Even though the walk to get to the waterfall was further than expected but made the waterfall so much better. 

After stumbling down the rocky wall to get to the waterfall, we got to swim in the waterfall. it was super refreshing since most of us were sweating from the hike and personally I hadn't been cold this trip till the waterfall!! we got to swim and feel the current pushing against us, and jump off the rocks into the the waterfall! since the walk to the waterfall was steep we didn't bring our backpacks down with us so we didn't get pictures with the pretty waterfall. since most of our socks got wet during walking across the water, most of us kept our socks on during swimming! definitely a weird thing to swim with socks on!

The hike to the waterfall was fine.  The hike back took it to another level (it's like how Pablo takes four wheeling to another level).  The rain transformed a slippery terrain into a disaster zone.  One by one, like leafcutter ants, we filed up the incline.  I heard exclamations left and right as I took my first step up the incline.  My foot slipped immediately and I knew this would be a fun time.  We were told initially that we shouldn't grab the trees because of eyelash vipers, but I was totally avoiding that rule at this point.  I grabbed any brush I could find as I traversed the mucky terrain.  To be honest, I was both traumatized and amused by the experience.  Something is to be said about having a collective experience with everyone, even if it was not the easiest.  I, like most people, would have done it again (maybe vlogging this time).

Well, that was our final full day at Finca La Anita.  We hope you enjoyed our blog.  Adios amigos!

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Day 7: Science

Folder With Today's pictures

Portrait Pictures of all students

Hi this is Ravi and Max. This is Day 7 of our Costa Rica trip. Today was our most rigorous science day due to us spending at least eight hours working on our experiments and developing our research, which was quite helpful because this was practically our one true day to research. Because of that, we could genuinely feel the time crunch and pressure of finishing our projects. So far, though, it was a great day where we spent the whole day at Finca La Anita. We will have to blog tomorrow because we are currently facing technical issues and are busy preparing for tomorrow's presentations.
Sincerely, Max and Ravi

Friday, June 22, 2018

Day 6: Rain forest hike and cooking class

Folder with Days Pictures and Videos

Hello everybody! Today's blog post is brought to you by Jordan and Meredith Hedtke. We started off today extremely early at 5:30 am with tired yet excited faces. This morning we woke up to a surprise for breakfast...PANCAKES!!! YAY!! After breakfast we piled into vans and drove to Rincon de la Vieja National Park. We went on a tiring (but totally worth it) hike that lasted around five hours total. Halfway through the hike we got to take two refreshing breaks. First at the hot springs which smelt like huevos (eggs... for you non speaking spaniards). We eventually got past the smell and enjoyed an unforgettable experience. The water was super warm and pretty in color (great for those insta pics). Our second stop was the waterfall. In contrast to the hot springs, this water smelt sooooooo much better and was wayyyyy colder. First time ever being cold on the trip so far. Even though we had many falls on the rocks in the water, everyone survived and agreed it was one of the best activities so far. Throughout our hike we saw MONKEYS. More specifically, spider monkeys and howler monkeys. They're sooooo cute except for the part where they threw their feces at people. We had a fun time trying to get the monkeys to howl at us.

The second part of the afternoon consisted of our science research experiments. We had lots of fun working on our projects, especially for one student. Tara unfortunatly got stuck in the quick sand-like mud. The longer you stayed in the mud the further you sank in the river... she learned that the hard way. Everyone agreed their experiments are coming along well.

The last part of today we went to a cooking class! We all helped prepare one of the best meals so far. Throughout cooking, we got a couple of spanish lessons here and there since she didn't speak any english. Let's just say there were a lot of hand gestures. We made chicken, tortillas, cheese, plantains, veggies, and salad. The food was amazing and at the end we had a little dance party.

Overall, today consisted of a lot of walking and we are all going to sleep very well tonight!

Meredith and Jordan

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Day 5: Horseback Riding and Science (AND THE GREAT FALL)

Hello everybody, it's ya boiz Amogh (the smaller brown one) and Alex. We're here to update you on the daily grind. The Wayzata peoples' (the better school) day started with a regular delicious/healthy breakfast at 7:30 contrary to the Chan/Chaska/East Ridge day which started at 6:00. If you are wondering, today was the best day in terms of climate, it was not too hot nor cold with a gentle breeze. In other words the day was perfect except for it.

The saddest part of the day occurred during breakfast. So up until today we had two professors working  and guiding us. Today at breakfast Professor Adrian Pinto revealed that he had external business with work. We all gave pinto our best wishes and a card with everybody's signatures (including the signature of the person who took the fall) to show how grateful we were.

Now jumping into the part of the day that makes your 💲💲💲 worth. At 14:00 we started day 1 of science research projects. We started with our research groups (including the fallen member) and examined the petri dishes to examine fungi growth. Afterwards we setting up the experiments (the final experiment), taking preliminary tests, and starting the lab notebooks (they track the progress of the experiment). Everybody made significant progress and had a great time. 

After breakfast, we went horseback riding and received an amazing opportunity to view the Costa Rican landscape. We started the experience with pairing up students and staff with horses based on experience level. The tour went well with the horses taking the students along the path. Overall, basically all the students were completely OK. The horseback riding was one of the most eventful activity that happened all week long. 

Oh yea and one more thing, one of the horses acted up. After the picture below was taken half the students started going back (they figured out how to move their horse). One horse started to follow the first group then decided to stop on its own accord. This particular student felt alone and lost in between two groups. When the second group started heading back Pablo,  ( the owner of the Eco-hotel in which we are staying at ) who was accompanying us, helped the student move his horse. The horse moved, but not in the way the student wished. The horse went into full gallop in a fraction of a second and went AWOL. The student had no idea what was going on and was taken aback. The horse was heading straight for the trunk of an enormous tree with the student loosing his grip on the horse. He let go of his grip and slipped off the horse with five feet between him and the tree. He rolled away just in time; however, he was not free of consequences. He walked away away from accident almost unscathed. I sat down because I was seeing back dots everywhere and there was a ringing in my head. Mrs. Leland and the other staff showed great responsibility and took me to a local hospital to get checked up. The doctor said that I would be perfectly fine and that I showed no symptoms of a concussion or anything else. 

P.S I'm ok, I'm writing this right now, and you can see me in the picture above (on the right).

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Day 4: Science Day

Folder for Day 4 Pictures

Hey guys, welcome back to our blog. It's Olivia and Tara hitting you with the hottest news from Costa Rica. Today for breakfast we had the classic eggs(huevos) , rice(arroz), and beans(frijoles) mixture with some classic mystery juice and the always popular white toast with butter, jam, and cacao nibs(sugar-free, all natural, ground up beans, straight from cacao plants). Today was a full day of science, from 8:30am to 9:30pm. After breakfast we dove straight into some science. Andy(a professor from the University of Oregon) talked to us about possible topics for our research projects, including water quality, biodiversity, and, of course, the ants. After that we plucked some fresh fungus from the newly retrieved ant colonies from yesterday, we put the particles on a nutrient rich agar plate. The saying, time flies when you're collecting fungus, definitely applied to this situation. Then we did some riveting worksheets for about an hour and half and had some lunch. For lunch we had rice with chicken and vegetables, as well as perfectly pureed black bean, and some salted banana chips. After that we had a little break so Pinto and Andy could create our research groups. Most people went to the pulperia to get some snacks and ice cream, but Tara, Olivia, Joseph, Anna, and Sara decided to go on a lovely adventure through the Costa Rican rain forest. Olivia, Tara, and Joseph saw a bullet ant nest on their walk by the river. Bullet ants get their name from their sting, which feels like a bullet bursting into your skin, which makes even grown Costa Rican men cry. After that we did some more science until 9:30pm and walked back to bed.

Hasta luego friends! Till next time,
xoxo Tara and Olivia