Eke and Brian are Costa Rica Dreamin' - April 2008 travel blog

Unloading the kayaks.

Our guides.

Emerging from the mangrove swamp.

Manueletta and Rambo.

Ready to ride the "cat".

Feelin' all right.

Brian, Vegard, Melanie, Charlotte and Julie.

Trawler in the sunset.

Eke, Ron, Mark and Kim inside El Avion.

Cockpit at El Avion

Hi Everyone,

Fan herte lokwinske Siepie mei dyn 65ste jierdei!!!!

Today pick up at 8am.

We had a great breakfast. This hotel "Romantica" has an enormlus breakfast with lots of choices and German breads.

We are off kayaking this morning. Our guides were two young guys named Rambo and Manueletta (their nick names). We had a short drive which might take longer we were told because of the "Oh my God" bridge that we had to cross.

The bridge has gotten this name because of the construction work that is going on and the resulting long line up waiting to cross. This bridge is 104 years old and was a railway bridge. When we crossed it we could really see that they do need a new one there!. Rambo was telling us that it takes a long time to build a bridge here. Seven years for a small one is not strange!

The kayaks that they use here are sit on top plastic kayaks. We had a tandem kayak and the two guides in another tandem kayak. Our tour was kayaking through a mangrove, which is a swamp fed by fresh and salt water.

They sure were fast! We did see some neat things and learned some new ones.

There are 4 different mangrove trees: red, white, black and yellow. The white mangrove trees are taller, the yellow ones are called pineapple tress because their leaves look a little like pineapple leaves. Their root system is very different too.

It is almost eerie sliding through the channels with on both sides the roots of trees sticking out of the water or out of the mud.

The trees have two systems to get rid of the salt. One way is that they sweat like humans. They create crystals and beads on the leaves that really taste salty. The second way to get rid of the salt is that one leaf is "chosen" to absorb the salt, gets yellow and falls off.

It was very peaceful there.

Whitefaced monkeys who live in the mangrove trees came very close to our kayaks when we "drove" underneath the trees. They like to be fed which is not allowed.

A white cattle egret flew very gracefully right over our head and sat down right beside our kayak in a tree. We saw lots of crabs: sally lightsfoot crabs and tiger faced crabs.

We had a break with pineapple and juice and to "commune with nature" behind a tree.

One channel was very narrow and it was a nice experience to go through it.

Our tour lasted until about 10.30am. Then it was back to town where it was horrendously hot.

We took a nice shower and went for a light lunch with milkshake and black cow (ice cream and coke).

At 1.30pm 10 of us were picked up at the hotel to go for an afternoon on a catamaran out to sea.

First we kind of sat on the sides of the boat with water splashing up our legs through the net bottom. It was a challenge to walk accross without falling!

Our adventure was that our captain saw a small fishing boat in distress. He tried unsuccessfully to radio the coast guard. Brian was a little upset. He said that when a boat gives a distress signal you go to help rightaway.

After about 15 more minutes our captain decided to go and see what was up. There were two men in the small boat and they were out of gas. They had no radio, no food and no gas!

"We" gave them a jerry can of gas and went on with our tour. (The gasoline was in a four litre juice container.) So much for safety.

We saw spotted dolphins jumping out of the water. That was quite a nice attention grabber.

There were also boobies and frigate birds flying around and nesting on a big rock in the sea. We have seen blue footed boobies and frigate birds on the Galapagos lIslands last year. These ones were not very colourful and the frigate birds were not that big.

Then it was back closer to shore in a bay where we went snorkling. The wster was not very clear, but we saw some nice coloured fish and also a black angel fish. The water was so nice and warm.

When we got tired of that it was back on board where we were treated to a meal. Tuna shish kebobs with veggies, a pasta salad and fruit of course! Quite a nice meal!

An afternoon well spent I might say.

At night we met for drinks an a meal in a restaurant called El Avion. The restaurant is build around a cargo plane. The actual plane is the bar area. The floor is still there and the wings. An American plane like this was shot down in Nicaragua in 1986 because it was delivering weapons to the rebels. That event was quite a problem for Ronald Reagan who was president at the time.

We said goodbye to four of our group members (all one family) who were staying in Manuel Antonio for a few more days while the rest of us is going back to San Jose tomorrow.

The family is from Sheffield, England. I really liked Julie, the wife and mother.

Back to the hotel in taxis this time and pack to leave!

There was a thunderstorm and the air was a bit cooler and nice to sleep!

Oh yes, the history of the name Manuel Antonio is that when the American company Chiquita bought property here, the person to manage the park was Manuel Antonio. He was a very early environmentalist and really took care of the area. He was a local person and when people needed to go to the park they would say: I am going to Manuel Antonio. Slowly that habit became so established that the place was officially named that way.


Eke and Brian

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