Sunday, May 17, 2009

Ocean & Rio Boat Ride
May starts off the "rainy season" on the east coast of Costa Rica, but in reality it rains on and off year round - mostly during the night & early morning. We were fortunate to have several sunny days... except the landslide day and the day we wanted to go snorkeling. It pourred so hard that the road to Puerto Viejo and Manzanillo, the only road that goes south of Cahuita, got washed out on both sides and our rental car barely fit through. Most vehicles turned around at that point but we like to live on the edge (literally). Besides, a couple Americans hopped off the bus there and needed a ride into Puerto Viejo. We showed them a nice hotel with air conditioning. The waves were insane that day and all the stray dogs gathered at the shore to watch. After dropping off the c.d. player and food to the soup kitchen, we hurried back out of town before that section washed out entirely. The next day we took our hike through the National Park and had to cross through 2 rivers along the path which were flowing higher than usual because of the rainfall: one was up to our chests and the other (only up to our waists) was RED! We're not exactly sure why that is but I've heard some interesting theories on the chemicals released by banana companies.

The day after our hike, the waters still weren't settled enough for snorkelling but we were determined to venture out and see some Ocean life. So I paid some men with a speed boat to take us out to the coral reef and requested they go fast over the waves. "Not too fast." Angela said but I rebutted with "Very fast!" and now my poor sister has a big bruise on her bum (sorry Ang). We came smashing down over the waves with speed so intense it made James Bond look like a little boy on a merry-go-round. Angela came smashing off her seat once but otherwise we had a blast!
We pulled up to a couple fishermen who showed us their catches and pulled up a squid while we were next to them. Perhaps it was an octopus? Either way, he flung it at Angela in a joking manner and pulled it back before it made contact, laughing hysterically. The coral reef was beautiful and we saw 4 sting rays among the marine life. The reef off Cahuita has at least 35 species of coral, 140 species of molluscs, and 123 species of fish. They let us out at Puerto Vargas to swim for a while then putted along in shallow waters for us see more coral.

As a special treat, they took us down the deep river canal we had walked through the previous day. We had crossed at the point where the river merges into the Ocean but these men took us deeper down to the swampy area with snakes and caimans (small alligators). Here the boat driver picked up a rotting alligator head on his oar and posed it for us. They also took us up on shore to see more sloths, one carrying her baby. The adventure lasted over 2 hours though I had only requested a brief expedition.


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