Ocean College

How to get along with snakes

Date: 08.01.2019

Author: Sophie

Position: Talamanca, Planet One World Farm

Drinking a lot of water in the humid and hot climate of the rainforest is very important but it doesn’t have only advantages… Today I woke up at 5:30, because I had to pee again. At this time, it is already bright outside, so I decided to set up my hammock on the balcony. Sitting there, enjoying the view and writing diary is my favorite thing to do in the morning. 

After a while, everyone was awake and we ran to the tables when Ken shouted that there is hot chocolate for everyone. Hot chocolate, cornflower pancakes and plantains, those are our favorite things to have and today we’ve got all of them for breakfast. Energized and motivated we packed our stuff for the hard walk through the rainforest which we’ve planned on doing today. 

With my safari hat and walking stick I looked like a scout sliding up and down the muddy hills. Surprisingly, I haven’t had any aching or sore muscles from yesterday (we were carrying buckets and bags loaded with stones to rebuild a path for Ken). You might already know, but rainforests have a huge problem with illegal deforestation, hunting and occupied land. Our task for today was to patrol an area which belongs to Ken’s neighborhood, to check if there are illegal paths, perches or other traces from illegal activities. 

After one and a half hours, we found the first illegal path used for wood removal. Also every 200 meters we made knots with plastic strings around the trees to show the criminal that this property gets controlled very often, so that they stop with their crimes. While I was marking the trees with those white elastic bands, I didn’t only feel like a scout, but also like a mother which is preparing a scavenger hunt for a birthday party. 

At 2:30pm, we decided to have lunch at a small clearing on a primary rainforest island next to a huge tree (60+ meters). Adolfo showed us which leafs to pick and how to fold them, so that we had plates for the food which Juri (Ken’s wife) gave us. It was rice, cornflower pancakes and soucages packed in banana leafs. Delicious! 

We heard the rain while we were unpacking our food and most of us started to put on their rain jackets but we had luck: because of the thick shift of leafs we didn’t got wet at all! After lunch we continued walking deeper into the rainforest but after 30 minutes Adolfo stopped and looked at us with a very sad impression on his face: we’ve found a little clearing where lumber thieves have cut wood. 

Six of us got machetes and together with Ken and Adolfo we cut everything around that area to build a place where the drone can fly to. We had to chop three trees, because otherwise we wouldn’t be able to spot the new built drone place from above. Of course it’s very sad that so many illegal things are happening in the rainforest but at least we got to know how to use a machete and I can tell you: that’s fun! 

Doing all of that took quite some time and it also started to become dark very quickly so we decided to go with Adolfo back to Ken’s house (four people including Ken stayed in the forest a little bit longer to set up some camera traps). You may think that we’re crazy but you can actually see small lights moving around on the floor, branches and leafs when it’s dark outside. 

Those lights belong to spiders: the light from our head torches gets reflected by their eyes and because of that it looks like moving lights. It looks amazing, I can tell you! Now I’m extremely tired like every evening and I will go to bed very soon because I will need enough energy for the day tomorrow.

Good night!

Side note for everyone who is afraid of snakes: snakes don’t bite if they have no reason to bite you. We saw quite a lot of snakes during this time here (through Niki’s legs there was a venomous snake passing by, I accidentally stepped on a small snake and many more encounters with these animals) and nothing happened. When you treat them with respect and keep a safety distance of minimum 50cm, you should be safe. 

PS: Gute Besserung an meine Oma und Grüße an meine Familie. Ich hab euch lieb!