Looking For Turtles, Finding People & Simplicity

Ben Eriksen Carey Words 5 Comments

When we were looking for the perfect pilot episode for Ocean Courier, we were led by some expert advise to check out Armila, Panama, a small village on the Caribbean coast who’s beaches host thousands of nesting Leatherback sea turtles every year, in fact they host the most in the world. Perfect! We are buying a boat in Panama, just a few hundred miles from Armila, Panama

Hours of researching turtle migration and nesting habits, while working on our Spanish did little to prepare us for what we found in Armila

We came to film turtles, a tricky proposition. These clever turtles only venture out of the safety of the ocean at night, when predators are less likely to find the 80 or so eggs they bury on the beach.  Lights disorient them and hinder egg laying, making capturing this ancient process on film nearly impossible.

This town of about 600 people is the epitome of remote. There are no roads to Armila. The only way in is via foot or boat. They speak the native language of Dulegaya. Our living space was a grass roof, grass walled house like all the rest of the traditionally built homes. The experience was authentic. Across the street, or rather the sandy path wide enough for a burro and a some side loaded cargo baskets, was our host Luperio and his family. Next door was their corner store, which sold what became one of my favorite indulgences, Brinky cookies… Central American OREOs.

Luperio’s little boy Jakeson wandered over to our house everyday for a little facetime. Smiles, and simple gestures were all we had to communicate with.

chrisJakeson  armila-cabin-1090x726

What’s beautiful about this culture is their relationship with nature. In Armila there is no word for conservation. Their way of life is right in line with our definition of conservation, so in essence they are all conservationists without labeling themselves as such. In a village where the men and women hunt, fish and tend to their farms everyday in order to feed their family, exploitation and neglect of resources is not an option. And this conservation sensibility transfers to the sea turtles that come to their beaches every year. The way of life is beautiful. The people are beautiful. This is simplicity.

Ocean Courier took us from Panama to Maine this year, and promises to take us further next year  in our quest to explore and share the positive changes and work being done to protect and restore our oceans. We are grateful to our sponsors like Columbia Sportswear for supporting our mission and helping to deliver the ocean’s message. Ocean Courier is projected to air on Public Television nationwide. Please show your support by voting for us in a grant competition. It is quick and easy. If you would like to know more about sponsorship opportunities, contact us.

ladiesFishing  columbiaTeresa

Comments 5

  1. Michael Buckner

    I wanted to vote BUT, I do not have a Facebook account nor will I set one up …

    Are there other options for voting?

  2. Teresa Carey

    Thanks Michael and Lee for trying to show your support. I know its frustrating that you have to have a FB page to vote. As far as I know, there are no other options for voting. While I do love Facebook, I know it isn’t for everyone!

    Another way you could show your support of us, is to email all of your friends and ask them to vote for us. At least some of them will have a Facebook page. That would really help us a lot. Just be sure to include this link:

    Also, If you have Twitter (which is probably unlikely also) then you could tweet: “I support @OceanCourier in the #TheBlueFellowship contest.” and then mention that you wanted to vote, but don’t have Facebook.

    Or, you could write to the contest organizers and express your support of us. I can see the names of the judges on the site, but I don’t know how to contact them, and to respect their privacy I don’t feel comfortable sharing that info anyway. But I wouldn’t stop you from digging up their emails if you wanted!



  3. Michael Buckner

    I know other family members and friends have Facebook. I will try that route.

    I religiously follow your and Ben’s blog.

    Keep up the great work and postings.

    Safe sailing and best regards,


  4. Mike White

    Same here …no Facebook .I will try my sister .Sorry .I hate the way they try to force us into Facebook at every turn.

    I wish you the best and I have a feeling things will work out for you both.


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