At last here we are with our very own blog and it feels great to be communicating with you in this new way. For anyone who hasn’t been to Ilha Grande to take part in The Island Experience, I’m Martin, officially known as the Program Director. To those who know me, I’m all kinds of things – the wild man of the jungle, aspiring film maker and musician, sailor, the list goes on. Basically, I love making, doing and being involved whatever is going around me!
As this is my first blog entry it got me thinking about the idea of first times. Is it amazing how, when we face new challenges, we grow more than we can ever realise at the time. When most of our guests arrive on the island they are facing a least one first. Maybe it’s their first time in Brazil, travelling alone or taking the plunge and booking an adventure program holiday. Seeing how people interact with an environment which is unusual to them and the benefits they gain from this is a very special element of my role here. From trying new activities to eating in a different way, for me, it’s a privilege to take a small part in their experience.
Recently, after spending some considerable time perfecting my island lifestyle, I decided to put my explorer’s hat on again and head off in a new direction myself. Together with Adrianna, my partner and the programs nutritionist, I went in search of new places to run our program for a few weeks during each year. We went up to Central America and found ourselves in love with the beautiful Southern Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. Here we found the same stunning scenery and enchanting nature that we enjoy on the island, with the injection of some different and interesting cultural flavours. And of course, we both enjoyed lots of new experiences which gave us a new perspective on things we thought we knew.
One example was an interaction with nature that we had not previously encountered, despite living on an island inhabited by the mammal in question. The Howler Monkey. Here on Ilha Grande, these wonderful creatures live apart from humans, having been hunted by them in the past they keep their distance meaning that most visitors only hear their call through the jungle rather than actually seeing them. At the Jaguar Rescue Center in Playa Chiquita near Puerto Viejo, we were able to come into direct contact with some baby Howlers, not to mention a host of other incredible species who needed rehabilitation before release back into the wild. It was a magical day and we learnt so much more about the Howler, as well as making new friends with sloths, frogs, snakes, wild cats, raccoons, anteaters, marsupials, and reptiles! For me, it was such a special moment to have a baby Howler cling onto on my head. I would never imagined how that would make me feel, it really bought out a protective and paternal instinct in me. I admit, I was pretty tempted to put that little guy in my backpack!
We can’t wait to return with our program guests in September and October this year, to see how the project is going and introduce human friends to animal friends.
First times, are indeed, good times!
For more information on the Jaguar Rescue Center visit their website – http://www.jaguarrescue.com/jag_site/Home.html
And for full details of our Costa Rica program see – http://www.theislandexperience.com/locationCostaRica.htm