X-Ray 3 and the trails of San Lucas and Carara

15th August 2013

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Being part of X-Ray 3 we have been lucky enough to work on the tropical island of San Lucas followed by the Carara National Reserve.

These three weeks have been tough but rewarding; the work on the trails broken up by afternoons in the sun, rice pudding and trying to photograph the animals who hid from us in the trees.

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Our first challenge as a team was to set up camp, the dark clouds in the distance a sign of the foreboding storm. Luckily we were able to set up all the basha beds before it arrived.

On our first day of work, Eric was our day leader, who was able to calmly negate the stresses that the first day on any job inevitably brings. Our work was to finish the remaining section of the path started by Alpha 3 in phase 1. We worked from 6am to 11am every day to finish the path, smoothing out the trail and lining it with rocks – a task achieved by determination and teamwork, all the while accompanied by Nathaniel’s singing.

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The afternoons were welcomed as an opportunity to explore the island and spend time on the beautiful beaches. Sleeping under the stars on the pier will no doubt be the most vivid memory of San Lucas; along with Glenn’s insistence on wearing blue shorts with purple socks and sandals most days – a winning combination!

We moved to Carara for the second part of our phase, and it was the juxtaposition of San Lucas in many respects. The eerie silence of the abandoned prison island was replaced by the noise of the forest and the nearby road – suffice to say Carara is much more on the tourist trail.

Though many things remained constant: the wildlife, porridge and paving of paths – the terrain in Carara was much more forgiving and we enjoyed the flatter landscape when carrying rocks to the different trails: small mercies!

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Mornings and evenings were an opportunity to accompany Tavo for some wildlife watching in the forest. Tours from 8pm onwards proved the most fruitful and resulted in the most animal sightings. However, as 8pm Raleigh time is the equivalent of midnight elsewhere, many chose sleep instead.

A special thanks goes out as well from all of X-Ray 3 to Kato for trying to teach us all Spanish and for putting up with our terrible pronunciation.

Expedition Medic, Kelly, kept us accident-prone lot fit and healthy on both project sites, advocating the generous use of sun-cream at all times.

And PM Jenny was in charge of food organisation. Without her there is a 90% chance we would have run out of food by day 9 – what can I say, we just love those tins of pork and beans!