May 25, 2002. Islas Tortugas, Costa Rica.
|N 9 deg. 46′ 34″
|W 84 deg. 53′ 18″
On Friday, the morning started with light rain and we decided to pospone our visit to the Curu park because monkeys don’t move much when it rains. Clark took advantage of the day by replacing the seal in our diesel engine raw water pump which had been leaking more and more.
This morning the sun greeted us bright and early, and we moved Temptress right in front of the Curu beach. The beach has a very slight slope which meant that, this morning at low tide, a very long wedge of sand was exposed and we got quite a workout hauling the dinghy up to the high tide line. We could not wait for high tide as the wind usually picks up in the afternoon making the anchorage in front of the beach unsafe. We were entertained by an army of bright red crabs scurrying around the beach to gather their breakfast. As soon as we approached they ran to their holes and seemed to be just swallowed by the sand in one eye blink.
Ephemeral patterns in the sand created by an invisible crustacean
The highlight of the visit was tracking down and finally seeing the howler monkeys which we have been hearing almost daily since we arrived in Costa Rica. We had to leave the trails and follow their loud calls (following the example of another group with a guide) and after scrambling up a hill we were rewarded by finding them scampering around in tall trees. We also saw several friendly looking white-faced capuchin monkeys in the same area. During our long walk, we observed many lizards from 2 inches to 2 feet in size, and countless crabs: purple crabs with yellow sides and red claws and hermit crabs walking under their shells. We also caught sight of several tropical birds: woodpeckers, white-throated magpie jays and a sort of red-legged quail. The forest itself was green and lush, mixing mangroves near the river and tropical trees with huge shallow roots forming serpentine ridges around the trunk bases.
At about 11 AM, after we found the monkeys, it started raining and we returned to the boat and moved back to Islas Tortugas. The rain only kept intensifying and, as I write this at 9PM, it is still pouring buckets outside and seems to only get worse. We have already filled all our spare tubs with rain water for laundry, showers and dishwater.
In the afternoon, Clark scrubbed again part of the bottom of Temptress. He had done a good cleaning with the huka just a week ago but because of bad bottom paint, algae and barnacles grow back very quickly. He had baby crabs crawling in his ears in the process!
Tonight, we celebrated my birthday. Clark made a wonderful meal despite the flooded barbecue and finished the meal with a delicious chocolate cake served with hazelnut sauce. Then he gave me a beautiful silver necklace. I am a lucky girl! Unfortunately, I also suffered from a cold with a bit of fever, so we posponed opening the special bottle of zinfandel we had saved for the celebration.
Tomorrow, we plan to cross the gulf of Nicoya to Punta Leone where we understand that it rains even more. There, we hope to visit a very nice private nature reserve.
Hope all is well with you.