X-Ray 5 are clockwise from top left: Pauline, Jeff, Berny, Daniele, Harini, Flo, Tom, Bella, Cas, Jac, Anthony, Simon, Angie, Hibbe, Iona, Chris and Drew
San Lucas, a beautiful island rich in history and adunbant in wildlife, became home to 13 Venturers and 3 PMs for 19 days as they set out on their environmental project last Sunday. A short boat ride from Puntarenas we pulled up on the shore of the former prison island, slightly uncertain but eager and excited to meet our Ranger to find out how we could help.
The pier on Isla San Lucas where prisoners used to arrive as did X-Ray 5!
Our first job was to clear the old library, which had become a jungle and was covered with litter and debris. Within 2 days we had restored the library removing all of the litter and uncovering the original green tiles. Although the Ranger said that sorting out the litter into groups wasn’t necessary we insisted on separating plastics and metals in order to allow the women on the mainland to earn money from recycling and to make a positive environmental impact.
San Lucas is abundant in wildlife, howler monkeys are currently under threat from poachers
The following day we were given our plan of action for the coming 2 weeks. Our aim is to improve the paths on the island, first by evening out the slopes to make them level and then the plan is to cover it in sand to compact the soil and for durability. The work has been difficult, the soil is hard and the heat is intense but X-Ray5 have been powering through and with great determination and teamwork we have covered 400m in 3 days.
X-Ray 5's camp is right on the water, basher beds are made out of bamboo and a hammock
The Ranger has been truly impressed by the high standard to which we are working to and has congratulated us on our progress so far. Our work will not only improve the island and make it more accessible but also encourages tourism so that visitors can be educated about the prison and it’s history. At one stage there were plans to change the island into a resort but luckily the motion was denied and the island has stayed a conservation area with some restoration of the prison.
The view from camp out over the water which is filled with stingrays and turtles alongside phosphorescence
The work X-Ray 5 have been doing has been really rewarding so far, our hard work has paid off as the paths are noticeably better and we can see the positive impact we are having on the environment. While being here, we’ve had a tour of the prison and heard some of the brutal stories of the prisoners in the past as well as having access to the book that was written by one of the inmates of the prison, the island of lonely men. We all feel extremely privileged to be living on this island and to be helping conserve the environment as well as being part of the work that the rangers do to encourage sustainable tourism.
Today's blog was written by X-Ray 5s Project Communications Officer Bella Jones