Snorkeling and the night hike

Trip Start Dec 30, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Jade Mar

Flag of Costa Rica  , Puntarenas,
Thursday, March 10, 2011

Finally we are going to get to snorkel off Canos Island.   It is the second best spot in CR and since Cocoa Island is 300 miles off the coast, this seems like a good deal.  Our group is 8 with one couple from France, one from Quebec, one from New Jersey; but living here 6 months out of the year and us.  Canos island is still about 12 kms. off the coast and so a 30 min boat ride and it appears fairly small when you get close.  It is all covered in deciduous trees with palms down around the brown sandy beaches.  We didn't t even make it into shore when Pedro our guide spotted a huge school of Triggerfish and so we got in and swam right with them.  I tried diving and swimming under them and they didn't seem to mind a bit.   Later we swam with several more schools of fish; but this was the largest and easily numbered in the hundreds.  I was fortunate enough to see a small(4') Reef Shark and Sharon and I both swam 5' away from a sea turtle that came up for air.  He was maybe 2 1/2 or 3 feet long with yellowish plates or scales and a sort of marbled face and he didn't seem to mind swimming with us at all.  In fact, none of the fish seemed the least bit shy and we soon found that we could swim right alongside and even inside the schools.  This might have been the highlight of the trip.
    Again I have no photos to offer; so you will just have to come down and see for yourself.
     I would have thought that this would be the highlight of the day; but Sharon had not had her night hike and so she arranged one with a young man named Stephan on his uncle's property.  We began just after dark and after he issued us both big rubber boots and two of the most pitiful flashlights ever.   We traipsed down the road and then turned off onto a narrow trail overhung with vines and covered in brown leaf litter.  He urged us to always walk slowy, always look down before you take a step and don't reach out and grab something to steady yourself.  Can you see where I am going?    As we walked along we inspected every leaf twig and vine and soon began to find spiders, beetles, Katydids  and tiny lizards.  Next we found the Common Rainforest frogs that were just as brown as the leaves themselves; but they gave themselves away by sitting on the green leaves above the trail.  Occasional we heard a hoot or a soft Humpf of an owl; but we never found the eye shine to get a look at one.  Next we went down to the creek and waded along looking at creek shrimp and then back up onto the banks.  It was slick going as it began to drizzle and we were going down a little incline....I was third in line and Sharon was second behind our guide(there was only the three of us).  Suddenly Sharon screamed and jumped down the bank and there not 2 feet from where she had stood was a coiled Fer-De-Lance sitting on a branch waist high.   The trail here was about 4-5 feet wide and I was trying to calculate what 30% of his body length would be.  That is their strike distance.  To the other side of the trail was a bamboo thicket that I would have to traverse in order to avoid him and I decided that with my body taking up some of the trail space that I was definitely in range.  Of course, he had already let two people walk by without striking so.....  Our guide was trying to be encouraging by saying things like....walk as far away from his as you can...he looks ready to strike;  But I think you can make it.  What the heck, you have seven hours to get to some antivenin here in the jungle in the middle of the night.   OK bamboo, I hope you aren't hiding any more surprises....
    Safely on the other side, I was torn between my own fear and my anger that our guide had missed such a danger so close to the trail and us.  We walked for another two hours and found more spiders, frogs and crickets; but I was less enthusiastic than Sharon or Stephan for the remainder of the hike.  The highlight for me were the little tiny Glass frogs  and the Poison Dart frogs.   Both were the size of your fingernail and in this part of CR they are red and green instead of red and blue up north.
Whew.  What a day!  From the beautiful ocean and reef to the jungle at night and a scrape with disaster.  All in a day of vagabonding.
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Deanna on

Whew!! is right. How beautiful.......but..........

Jim G. on

I don't know about these night hikes and such, the place is beautiful but not worth dying for..

Frank on

Seems to me it's about time to return to civilization.

Terry R. on

You guys hadn't had enough excitement that you had to hike in the dark? I think if I were on the trip I might just have to stay in and just hear about that part of the adventure!

joegoldston on

I was fine through the frogs and spiders and crickets; but the fer de lance is the deadliest snake in Costa Rica and that really scared me. I think I'll stick to night hikes in safer places like the US

joegoldston on

My feeling exactly. Our guide had some really pitiful flashlights and he walked right by the snake so Shar was the one who actually saw it.

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