Jacobs Ridge – Final Day (28.07.2019) 🇪🇸

Jacobs Ridge

My time at Jacobs Ridge had quickly approached its end. I had the most incredible time spent with some of the most inspirational and kind people, and beautiful animals.

Before leaving for the airport, I went on my final morning dog walk, changed the animals’ waters and spent quality time with them. Barney (one of the resident dogs) followed me around and I couldn’t help but feel guilty for leaving him behind, yet, motivated to return to the ridge again in the future for more love and cuddles. 

I was driven to Murcia (RMU) airport at 5:45pm by Amie – Volunteer Coordinator. The drive was lovely, and very scenic along the way. We chatted about my time at the sanctuary, animals, family and uni.

I arrived at the airport, and prepared myself to say goodbye to Amie, who I had been lucky enough to spend a large proportion of time with throughout the week. We unloaded my luggage from the boot, hugged and then I wandered into the airport in preparation for check-in and security.

RMU airport opened in January 2019. I found it very Autism friendly! The staff were extremely kind and accommodating, and the airport itself was quiet and easy to navigate around as it was very small. Bliss!

I then waited by the gate ready to board the plane at 7:45pm. I went in first to reduce my anxiety-levels, and the staff were very understanding with regards to this.

I boarded the plane and was set to travel the 2.5 hour journey back home to Manchester. I sat comfortably and read my book whilst peering out of the window occasionally to take in some of the most stunning landscape views.

I arrived in Manchester and was quick to collect my luggage from arrivals, after showing my passport to the lovely men sitting at the arrival desk.

Following this, I was met outside of the arrival section of Terminal One by my Mum and Grandad, both of who kindly offered to pick me up from the airport to take me back home.

I sat and chatted about my time at Jacobs Ridge, talking about the wonderful people and the beautiful animal residents I met throughout. I’m extremely excited to begin planning my next overseas work experience adventure, and I’m glad I chose Jacobs Ridge to be my first placement abroad.

Jacobs Ridge – Day Seven (27.07.2019) 🇪🇸

Jacobs Ridge

It was my final full day at the ridge. I was excited to fulfil another day in what set out to be a vegan paradise before venturing back to The UK.

7:30am commenced our usual morning dog walk. Julian, Rachael and I took the dogs and ventured nearby the peach trees before heading back to the sanctuary.

Julian and I then went kayaking at a venue located 30-minutes away from the ridge. Julian sailed solo, whereas I opted to paddle in the company of some lovely Spanish folk. The views were spectacular, the water was stunning and the sun was beaming down on what was proving to be another gorgeous day.

We returned back at the ridge an approximately 2pm. I got changed quickly and spent my afternoon siesta with the animals and by the pool, before heading onto the routine evening jobs.

We did the evening feeding and watering of the animals (today I fed the cats and Alfie, the lamb) before venturing on the evening dog walk. It was my final evening dog walk, emotions were running high, but I was excited to venture on my remaining one in the morning.

Florida – Day Two 🇺🇸

The Florida Files, University

BAREFOOT BEACH RESERVE

Following a well needed sleep after a lengthy (though enjoyable) travelling period, we were ready to embrace our first full day in Florida, whilst fending off jet lag!

Meeting at 8am, lathered in sun cream and covered in protective gear, filling two buses we eagerly headed off to The Barefoot Beach Reserve. The drastic temperature increase was a delight, the sun was beaming down blissfully. Although it felt odd to be wearing minimal layers after succumbing to Bangor’s identifiable declining temperatures.

We had a scheduled talk from Jimmie Trulock – an (extremely knowledgeable) ex park ranger at The Everglades and a current volunteer at the reserve. And Florida’s Master Naturalist.

Jimmie kindly guided us around the reserve, showing us an array of beautiful fauna and tree species, aswell as telling us about their histories and their uses. Ie: some trees being used for pharmaceutical purposes. The talk was super interesting and Jimmie displayed a strong passion for nature and his work, which we made notes about in preparation for our assessed blog posts.

We were blessed to see animals freely inhabiting their natural environments, some of which included stunning gopher tortoises, brown anoles, raccoons and feeding pelicans.

We then had another lecture, listening to another naturalist talking about sound pollution, the different types of sound and the ways in which we can be kinder to our senses.

Following a few insightful hours at the reserve, we had 3/4 of an hour free time to roam around the reserve as we pleased. The majority of us headed to the beach, captivated by the stunning, soft, white sand and the dashingly beautiful blue water. We swam, splashed, and experienced animals feeding naturally – and peering for fish, whilst laughing lots and creating wonderful new memories.

Canoe time! We paired up and ventured out on the canoes, it was my first time canoeing so I was a little rusty; I soon grasped the concept of manoeuvring around the peaceful reserve, after frightening Carla a handful of times with my unpredictable steering methods (oops!) and it turned out to be a pleasurable experience, navigating around mangroves and embracing our surroundings.

Rowing our way eagerly around the calm waters, we witnessed gorgeous dolphins (my favourite marine mammal!) swimming both elegantly and closely to our canoes. The experience was incredible, it felt magical and captivating – to say the least. We also saw a number of magnificent bird and fish species, boats, and bubbly Americans.

Our accommodation gratefully has a pool, which we all went in afterwards for a swim and a cool down, before a debriefing about the day we’d experienced and the plans for the upcoming day. It was incredible to spend a day with wonderful people who share my passions and my admiration of animals, whilst experiencing new things and visiting new places!

SPECIES LIST OF THE DAY

  • Dolphins
  • Gopher tortoise
  • Brown anole
  • Ospreys
  • Red breasted woodpecker
  • Cuban tree frog
  • Raccoon
  • Ant lion