Archive for December, 2011

amazed its almost 2012

The humidity here is unbelievable, but it doesn’t really bother me, I think I kind of like it. After the few weeks of miserable weather in Ketchikan this past June, no weather has really bothered me. Maybe I just needed those few weeks to learn to get over bad weather. There are a lot of people that are not as adapted to the heat, but every morning is a welcome reminder that I am not stuck freezing working at some ski resort. A Costa Rican winter and I couldn’t be happier.

I have a feeling I won’t have a chance to get off the boat this week. The schedule I am on for this trip does not really allow the right amount of time off to do anything, but that’s okay. I don’t have to serve breakfast or lunch this week, so I think that makes up for it some.

Looking through my pictures, I found a wonderful surprise. While in Manuel Antonio on Wednesday there was a large iguana sitting on the top of a tall tree stump. Not very excited about iguanas, but still excited about my new camera, I decided to take his picture. I has my zoom lens on, and he was in the sun, seemed like a guaranteed good shot.

I did not look at the picture again since I am still unable to get too excited about iguanas. Upon further inspection I find a second iguana in the picture, which since it was a hidden treasure, makes the photo exciting!

Figured I would share it with you since I am uncertain of how many other photos I will be taking this week.

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My naturalist friend informed me that my iguana is a pervert, and that my picture was a full grown male with an underage female. I am able to relax and chat with the naturalist more than the guest do, and it is wonderful. Mainly I think this is only because the naturalist get sick of dealing with the guest, but it is still wonderful to have people around that are interested in the same things I am, and able to help answer my questions.

Did I mention I haven’t been getting bit by bugs here :o)

fun in the sun

After picking up our new set of guest in Herradurra yesterday, we were back in Manuel Antonio today. I was very excited to have the day off today as guests tend to report seeing a lot of wildlife on the hike which I typically cannot make since it conflicts with when the cabins need to be cleaned.

I was hoping to see a sloth, since they are usually spotted here, and I still hadn’t seen one yet.  Wonderfully surprising , I spotted the first sloth of the day. A big female, that was very active… for a sloth. We were even able to watch her test her weight on the branches before transferring herself to another tree. She was a three-toed sloth, as were the majority of the sloths we saw for the day. We saw a few other males, and females, as well as a female all curled up with her baby. The last sloth we spotted was another curled up female with baby in hand, but she was our one two-toed sloth spotting of the afternoon.

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I also spotted my first blue morpho butterflies, orange chinned parakeets, an agouti, Halloween crabs, Jesus Christ lizards, iguanas, and we were also blessed with the arrival of a white faced capuchin troop on the beach as we were loading back into the Zodiacs.

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After lunch we drove to Drake Bay, and I was able to get off the boat again to take a zodiac ride up the river. We arrived later than planned, so the lighting was very low, and we were not able to spot a lot of wildlife. Getting off the boat though it never a bust and the Zodiac ride was pleasant as the sun set over the bay.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica. I have been having a wonderful week being able to get off the boat almost every day with the schedule I am working this trip, only down side being that sometimes I am too tired since I have had to be at work around 5:20am every morning.

Thoughts and prayers out to Zach and his family this week, he was plaguing my thoughts to an almost enabling dose last week, but thankfully I feel much more functional this week. Since my indigenous experience in the Darian earlier this week I have been …

Snorkeling at Bartolome, part of the Pearl Islands, Panama;

Laid out on the beach at Isla Iguana, and actually saw an iguana on the beach;

Saw my first humpback whales by Coiba, unfortunately felt so sick that day that I did not go SCUBA diving as I had planned, frustrated because I was sick, and even more frustrated to miss SCUBA diving;

Went swimming off the fantail between shifts, got stung by hydroids, but it was worth it.

Today we spent the afternoon at Manuel Antonio. I had a few minutes to spend lazily laying on the beach, and during the afternoon we repositioned to Drake Bay, Costa Rica. Our Zodiac drivers Eric and Henry are Ticos from Drake Bay, and were able to get off and spend the evening with their families for Christmas. Henry owns a Bar called La Jungle that we were able to go to after work, it is always fun to get off the boat and go, it is a wonderful little spot.

The Zodiac ride to the beach felt like I was stuck in an Iphone commercial, and it was hilarious. Our drivers light stopped working on the way to the shore, which is a pretty imperative piece of equipment as we are going to shore in the pitch black and need to navigate around anchored boats and make a beach landing through the surf. Luckily… someone had the flash light app on their Iphone, and we used that for navigation. A full zodiac full of crew making our way to the bar, with one person standing at the front of the Zodiac holding their Iphone out, Apple would have been happy. A big wave took a hold of the zodiac as we were landing on the beach and Sarah lost a flip flop in the surf, which was also retrieved by the flashlight app.

The Darian

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Today hung dugout canoes met our boat and picked up the guest and took them to Mogue, a village of indigenous people in the Darian province of Panama. Lucky me had the day off today, but it is such a rare stop for us, the managers made an effort to get as many crew off the boat as possible. So we also brought our 4 Zodiacs as well, since the hand dug canoes also have a history for not being one hundred percent reliable, but they were today.

 

The last time our boat made the journey to their village was in 2005. Since the cruise we are currently on is a 10 day cruise we are making stop places we usually don’t go, and may not go to the rest of the season.

 

It was such a wonderful experience. They greeted us at the shore playing music and dancing, as we started to walk up the side walk towards the village my hand was taken by a little girl dressed in the traditional style of skirt, necklaces, and tattooed body (I got one too), who continued to walk with me the whole way to the village.

 

On the path to the village we passed pigs, with big muddy snouts from digging in the mud. I never thought pigs were cute before, but whatever kind of pigs these were, were very cute. The path was also littered with what I believe to be left cutter ants, carrying pieces of leaves larger than their bodies.

 

At the village they put on a dance for us, and allowed us to join in as well. I spent most of the time hanging out with a family at their hut with their pet monkey. Sharing chocolate bars and smiling mostly.

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After leaving Mogue, we  actually had one of the dug out canoes lead us to a place called La Palma, which our boat can only access at certain tides, where we filled up our water. The people from the town brought a hose out by boat, to our boat and we filled up, it was quite the production, but you have to get water (and laundry) where you can around here.

Panama

Made a wish under the Bridge of the Americas last night. On the ship now going through the lock system of the canal, Headed back towards the Caribbean. Lets hope my wish comes true!Image

my first day off!

 

monkey at the BBQ

With a little help from photographer Michael Melford, I was able to adjust my camera settings to take a picture in the low damp lighting of the rain forest.

Costa Rica

 

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I watch the sun rise over the ocean every morning

The number one/only benefit i can think of for working super early.

 Things have been going well aboard. I am starting to get my duties down enough that I am able to enjoy some free time throughout the day. I actually made it to shore two times yesterday. My duties change weekly with a 6 week rotation, but currently, if I completely my task efficiently, I am able to get off the boat for an hour or so before lunch, and usually have a few hours after lunch.

Yesterday after lunch I took a Zodiac ride over to Punta Caletas, which I believe is on the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica. I believe the whole area we were in is part of Corcovado National Park… but I am not entirely sure yet. There you are able to ride horses, purchase handmade trinkets, swim and hike. My friend Praba and I just walked along the trail for a little while since we did not have much time, but it was worth getting off the ship since I ended up seeing my first monkey! A white faced capuchin, sounded like all the guest only saw howler monkeys (which I haven’t seen yet), but I was very excited by the little monkey we saw.

Spoiled rotten, I was able to get off the ship after lunch as well. After lunch we were anchored at San Pedrillo, part of Corcovado N.P. Walking along the beach there it feels like the ground is moving as thousands of hermit crabs move away from you. Continuing down the beach I notice a cluster of hermit crabs and scampered over for further investigation. Upon further investigation I find the appeal of this area to the hermit crabs is the dead iguana carcass lying between them and the sand. Grotesque  maybe, but it was really freaking awesome. I have yet to see a live iguana here, but that certainly will not be as exciting as the monkeys.

dead iguana

 

On my very short walk along the beach I also saw 2 scarlet macaws, and a family of spider monkeys (baby on the back included). I guess there are 4 species of monkeys in Costa Rica, and I have already found 2 in just one day, sneaking to shore on my breaks.Image

My green feeling is gone, just that one evening of sickness feeling. I assumed all the guest would have adjusted equally, but after cleaning my cabins this morning I realized that there are still a number of them…. feeling green.. Overall the work is not too bad at all, just tedious. I am tired of serving every meal, every day, but tomorrow is turn day. These guests will be leaving, and others will be arriving, as well as the arrival of a new work rotation for me. I believe I will only have to serve lunch and dinner next week, so that will be a nice change.