Sunday, 27 January 2013


The Ring of Fire not only produces many earthquakes but also volcanoes. We have been lucky enough to many different ones during the trip. A summary.

1. Poas, Costa Rica.
We walked to the top of this volcano. Unfortunately it was covered in cloud and we couldn't see the crater lake even though we were metres from it. The lake is really acidic . It has a pH of 0! It bubbles gases though little geysers all the time.

2. Arenal , Costa Rica.
This is a cone shaped, young volcano. It is less than 7500 years old. In 1968 it destroyed a whole town. Up until 2010 it was one of the worlds most active volcanoes but has since quietened down.
We walked up to the old lava flow. It was really hard to walk on and most of it was pumice. We walked up to a sign that said, " Danger of death . Do not pass! "

3. Turrialba, Costa Rica.
This volcano was close to Finca la Flor. When we were weeding we looked up and saw steam and smoke coming out of the top. The gases are carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide and hydrochloric acid. It last erupted in 1866.

4. Ometepe Island, Nicaragua .
The island is made up of two volcanoes , Maderas and Concepcion.
Concepcion is a stratovolcano. It's cone is almost symmetrical. It rises1610 m above sea level. It last erupted in 2007 with lots of ash deposits. It is still really active and spits out ash and smoke clouds all the time.

We first got a glimpse of Concepcion from the ferry and it looked like it was rising out of the lake. It was huge and a perfect volcano shape. We were really scared when we found out it was still active. We actually drove along the volcano evacuation route that would take us to the other part of the island ( a dormant volcano) to safety.

5. Laguna de Apoyo, Nicaragua.
This is a 200 m deep, 20,000 year old crater lake. We swam in this and it was quite warm because there are still hot gases bubbling up. It is supposed to have healing properties. We hiked uphill from our lodge to a mirador on the rim of the crater. Then we really could see that we were inside a volcano. The water looked really clear and blue. We were surprised that the lake had waves.

Kayaking in the crater lake.

6. Masaya , Nicaragua.
Masaya is a shield volcano. It was Nicaragua's first and largest National Park. It has lots of calderas and craters. The sides are covered in AA lava. Sulphur dioxide is emitted continuously from this volcano.

This was the best volcano ever! After looking round the visitor centre we were transported to the rim of the crater. We could see deep into the crater but we could only stay for 5 minutes because the poisonous gases made it hard to breathe. Any longer they would have got into our lungs. We hiked up higher and saw gas and smoke plumes all over the landscape. We watched the sun setting over the volcano.
Next we walked into a lava tube. We braved the bats as we entered. The tube was formed by flowing lava. As the lava hit the air the top cooled but the inner part kept moving. This created a tunnel hundreds of feet long big enough to stand inside. There was bat poo everywhere.
Now it was really dark and time for my favourite part. We drove to another part of the crater rim,as close as we could to the crater and had to wait in the bus with the windows closed. At the signal we had to run out using our jumpers as gas masks and had to look down into the heart of the crater. It was glowing red. We could actually see the red hot lava. It was fantastico!

Interesting volcano facts.

There are two types of volcano; explosive ( ash explodes into the air) and effusive ( the lava kind).
There are three main volcano shapes; cinder cone,shield and strato volcanoes.
Pumice is a volcanic rock. It floats and is used al over the world to scrub feet!
There are 1500 active volcanoes in the world. Most of them are in Central America.
Volcanoes are born, grow old, then die.
The planet Mars has the tallest volcano.
If a volcano erupts you should stay inside so the ash does not overwhelm you.
Volcanoes are named after Vulcan , the roman god of fire.
The loudest sound ever recorded was from a volcano.
Inside the volcano the hot red liquid is called magma. When it reaches the surface it becomes lava.

Technical terms.
Caldera - a cauldron like feature due to the collapse of the cone.
Aa lava - stony rough lava that blazed when it was hot.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Ometepe Island

Martes 22 Enero


Ometepe Island is in the middle of Lake Nicaragua. We had to get on a ferry to get here. A man carried our bags on his head. We had to curl up really small as there was not enough space to sit down properly. We watched The Three Stooges on the TV, it was really funny. The boat rocked a lot and the waves crashed against the boat. Dad got wet as the water came inside. I felt really sick . It was really hot and hard to breathe. I liked it when someone opened the door and the water came in because there was also some wind. It was really crowded and noisy. When we arrived the taxi didn't arrive so Dad organised a ride. The suitcases had to hang out of the boot. The road stopped after half an hour and then it was a dirt track to the hotel. The hotel is called La Omaja and I really like it. I have met some other children and we play on the swing.

Miercoles 23 Enero

Today we hiked a mountain. First we had to fill our tummies so we had enough energy for the hike. I had French toast for breakfast. We climbed into the pick up truck and started to bounce along the road when suddenly a scorpion jumped on mums hand. We couldn't find it so we went the rest of the way in the back of the truck. It was really bumpy but fun. We had to hike for an hour . It was really sweaty and dusty. The waterfall was freezing. I moaned like Mona Lisa! The waterfall was really high and I couldn't see the top. On the way back I felt a bit grumpy but then all of a sudden I saw a snake. It was negro y amarillo ( black and yellow) . When we got to the end of the trail our guide picked us some fresh mandarins. They were delicious.

Jueves 24 Enero

Today we went to Ojo de Agua. First we drove up the bumpy road. I was surprised by the people's houses. They were made of cardboard, straw and metal. Some had pigs in them.
After that we went in the crystal clear spring water. It is supposed to have healing powers and make you younger. Then we had lunch next to the beach. I have never seen sand on a lake beach. Then we went to visit the petroglyphs. 3000 years ago people carved pictures into rocks because they had no paper nor pencils. They carved pictures of mummies and babies, scorpions, monkeys and calendars.

Viernes 25 Enero


Today we were really excited as we were going on a fishing trip. I had fished once before and knew what to do. When we reached the dock the boat was not there but we noticed another dock so me and mum walked to the other one just in case. When we got there we could see our boat back on the other dock, it had arrived while we were gone! We shouted across the bay and it really echoed our voices. When we eventually left the dock we had already cast our lines and were gently cruising along. When we reached Monkey Island we cast our lines again and waited. I was the first one to get a bite. It was a big fish but I didn't catch it. Unfortunately it took the lure and the next two as well. Next I tried proper fish as bait and it lasted the rest of the trip. I think I caught about three fish but they all got stuck in the rocks. I let the man have a go with my rod but he lost the bait. At the last moment our anchor got stuck in the rocks so we had to cut it off and attach a float and leave it there. After that we unfortunately had to go back to the dock but I really wanted to stay. I absolutely loved every little minute of this day.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013



At first I thought the wall had been hit by a truck then realised that we were two floors up so that couldn't be true. Then the bed moved forward then backwards and the headboard slammed into the wall angrily. The time was 7:00pm and we had just experienced our first earthquake.

We jumped up and ran out to the balcony to see what had happened. The pool guy Randall was already on his phone to find out details. He told us in Spanish that it had been a ' terremoto' (earthquake). We shouted the news to all the other inhabitants of the apartments. He told us that if it was stronger later we had to go and wait in the street. I started to shake and had to lie down to stop myself going into shock. I felt sick and panicky. I packed my bag and laid out clothes in case of emergency. I survived the night.

The second earthquake felt slightly different. It was a bit bigger 4.3 on the Richter scale , the other was 3.7. We were in the apartment when the chairs started to move and the windows seemed to wobble in their frames.

The third and fourth earthquakes did not phase us at all!

Fact File

Did you know some of these facts?

80% of all earthquakes occur round the ring of fire .

The ring of fire is around the rim of the pacific coast.

Costa Rica is on the ring of fire .

Each earthquake is given a number depending on its strength and duration .
8 or more is great.
To measure these geologists use a seismometer and it is also called The Richter Scale.

The biggest earthquake ever recorded was in Chile in 1960 it was 9.5.

The earths upper layer is made up of giant rock slabs called tectonic plates.

An earthquake happens when plates pull apart or collide.

Tsunami are huge waves caused by earth quakes or volcanoes at sea.

The epicentre of an earthquake is the point on the surface directly above the origin of the rocks below.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Surf School

Today we started surfing lessons! Yes,real surfing lessons! We started at 3.30pm and finished at 6pm.It was absolutely brilliant. We learned the basics of surfing on the beach for one hour before moving to the water. We did two methods, the pop up, where you had to jump up quickly and twist in the air and the old style where you had to bend your leg first and worm your way up. I preferred the old style.

When we got into the water we had to find a good wave, white and foamy not green. Unfortunately these were quite a way out and to get there was really hard. We had to put our weight on the end of the board and point it into the wave. Sometimes the board ended up vertical and we had to cling on. When we saw a good wave coming we had to face the beach and lay on the board and start doing a type of front crawl. When we were going really fast we had to try and stand up.

The first time I actually stood up! After that I started to fall off. Dad said I was actually doing better than some of the adults in the other group. When I was coming back I saw a big fish swimming in the water and another one actually jumped out. The best part was when I caught the wave and curved right onto the beach. I know I've already said this but " I loved it!"I was really sad when it was time to go but we managed to get another half an hour. On the way back we had to wade through a knee deep river. When we got back to the apartment we had a very nice tea and then popcorn.Hopefully we will go surfing tomorrow. ( my wish came true! ). :)

Today we went to a surf school. Our instructor was called Didier. He was from Jamaica. The surf boards were soft so that we didn't hurt ourselves. When we went over the waves we had to push against the back of the boards. If you fall off you had to make a starfish shape and then cover your face and head. You have to do a pop up or Plan B. I felt proud when I stood up even though I was really scared.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Tortugero National Park

Oscar and Lex

After an arduous journey involving buses, flooded rivers, and boats we arrived in Tortugero National Park. Translated this means " region of turtles". It is located on the north eastern Caribbean coast of Costa Rica and we were staying at Laguna Lodge.

On our first evening we walked along the beach dragging driftwood to create fake snake trails. We paddled in the water that was absolutely freezing. The waves crashed against the shore and we could hear them all night from our cabin. We arrived in Tortugero town and wandered along Main Street ( the only street) looking at the different styles of buildings. We bought a fresh green coconut from a man with a machete who chopped the top off it and we drank it with a straw. It did not taste as we thought it would. It did not taste very coconutty at all. Then we scooped out the flesh that was a bit rubbery and very wet not like the dry coconuts at home.

Tortugero national park was established in 1959 to help the endangered turtle species survive. The locals had been killing the turtles and harvesting their eggs for food. This region is the main nesting area for both leatherback and green turtles. The turtles crawl up the beach desperately grabbing the sand to find a place to lay their eggs. They dig a hole with their flippers in the driest sand near the trees and lay their eggs. The eggs are covered up with sand and left to their own devices. The mother heads back to the ocean, never looking back. The holes in the sand were enormous like mini volcanic craters. The eggs take approximately 60 days to hatch. The babies use a special egg tooth called a 'caruncle' to break themselves free from the prison of their egg. As a group during the night or a rainstorm they climb out and head as fast as they can to the ocean.

Our guide told us that despite being the end of the season there were still eggs hatching. We immediately left the village in the dark and headed out along the beach again turtle hunting. Unfortunately we were not lucky enough to see any turtles but had the best experience walking along the moonlit beach.

We found out that only 1 in 1000 baby turtles survive to adulthood. The obstacles to survival include natural disasters such as shark and seagull attacks, but also the turtles are eating human waste such as plastic and tar balls. Please stop throwing rubbish into the sea and help save the turtles.

To find out more about sea turtles....

Wednesday, 9 January 2013



Miercoles 9th Enero

Finca la Flor is an Eco-friendly place. Everything is reused or recycled. They try to grow as much food as possible using environmentally friendly techniques. They even use the moon to tell them when it's best to plant.

Today we went to work in the vegetable patch. When we arrived I couldn't see any vegetables because there were so many weeds. We had to hack all the weeds down with mini machetes. It was all pretty good fun until we came across an ants nest. The vicious ants attacked mum's arm and now it is swollen. Trust me it's big - almost the size of her leg!

Next Dad had to turn the ground over with a hoe. Then we scattered compost mix ( fertiliser) all over the ground. Later on I learned that the fertiliser was actually made by worms. After that we had to plant the baby lettuces. They had to be planted in a triangle. Finally we had to scatter mulch around the lettuces. The mulch of leaves created a seal ( microclimate) which kept all the moisture in to protect the the plants in hot weather( always!) then dad went back to weeding pineapples. Did you know that pineapple plants take up to two years to produce one pineapple. I thought that pineapples grew on trees not spiky single bushes.

After we had a juice break we went to the Lombrono - the worm house. (By the way the juice is not from a bottle it's crushed fruit. I prefer it when sugar is added. ) We had to water the worms. I thought that sounded really weird at first. After we had watered them 3 times precisely we had to collect all the soil that the worms had turned into compost. We actually filled 3 sacks. Then we watered the worms again and we were finished for the day.

I also helped the men on the farm to harvest vegetables, some for market and some to eat. Using secateurs I cut lots of herbs including thyme, chives, rosemary, lemongrass and coriander. I also harvested vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, yucca and a vegetable called a cahiba that seems like a cross between a cucumber and pepper.

Bob the Builder!


Martes 8 th Enero

We woke up really early to have breakfast. It was scones. They were delicious with lots of butter.

After breakfast we were Bob the Builder except he doesn't build with animal dung, mud and straw!
First we had to dance in the dung to soften it. Then we added straw to make the mixture stronger and some water to stick it all together. We mixed it with our bare feet. It felt weird when it squelched between your toes.

We put the mixture in a bucket and Pablo carried it up the stairs. Our job was to poke the mixture into holes that had dried from last week. It will take two weeks to dry altogether. We were helping to build a house for people to stay in. The walls were made of wood with big gaps in between and we were using the mud to fill the space. To make the job quicker we also added Eco bricks. These were plastic bottles filled with rubbish. To make it look nice we added glass bottles and broken glass plates for windows. I liked the blue glass plate because it was the biggest. I think it will look nice when the sun shines through.

It really hurt when the mud dried on your fingers.

After that we went to town to get biscuits. Finally we played dominoes with Jose.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013


Today we went to a place called La Selvestra. There were 8 bridges. The bridges were at different height sand most of them were above the tree tops. The bridges were made of metal mesh. There was a river below us. We saw some people zip lining.guess how many species of plant can live on one tree? 100!
Next we saw a stick insect and beetles. I held a praying mantis. The female praying mantis chops off her mates head. It's disgusting for boys I know!
After that we went into the butterfly garden and the life cycle is: egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly. Sometimes butterflies only live for one day or a week.
My favourite part of the day was when I saw the leaf cutter ants crawling across a log. The ants chew the leaves, spit them out then mix them with their poo to make a compost. The compost grows to make a fungus and the ants eat the fungus.