Our expedition had been launched at the suggestion of Lana Wedmore, an ex Operation Raleigh adventurer who has built the amazing Luna Lodge, harmonizing with nature deep in the rain forest. One of our projects was to assist with the refurbishment of the turtle hatchery for the Sea Turtle committee of Corcovado. This group, mainly consisting of volunteers, is doing valuable work to protect four species of sea turtle that lay their eggs on the long silvery beaches. We were fortunate to find a freshly born Hawksbill Turtle, not previously found in the area.
Our major job was the construction of a footbridge on La Leona trail that leads into the park. Our Engineers, assisted by most of the team and helped by some of the local gold panners, tackled this. Gary Gomez of Luna Lodge, a man of many skills and enormous physical strength, played a leading role in the project. A 10 metre site was selected by the Park Director, Etilma Morales, who aimed to use stocks of illegally cut timber, that had been confiscated by her staff. The hardwood decking arrived, but a problem occurred over the two 12 metre main beams. A landowner had agreed to allow Gary to cut up a fallen tree on his property, but under Costa Rican law, a special permit was required even though the tree was dead. The necessary permits were obtained but the owner claimed he needed another. Three days of negotiation and long phone calls to San Jose produced the additional permit, but then the gentleman decided his lawyer must study all the documents and finally declined to provide the tree! Patience and time were running short by now, so to overcome this obstruction, Lana and Etilma obtained two costly 12m alloy girders in nearby Pt Jimenez. These were rushed to Carate and using a friendly villager’s welding kit, the girders were cut to size and holes burned for bolts to be placed through them. Gary got very little sleep for several days.