Friday, 30 November 2012

Good Bye Samara Beach

We leave this morning.. and say good bye to Playa Samara and the beach house that has been our home for the last month.  Over the last few days, we've been going back to the restaurants we like, soaking up the beach atmosphere as much as possible, enjoying the "wave pool" as Liam calls it, and packed in the tours that we had said we'd do a month ago when we first got here. We had another visit from some of the local howler monkeys in the tree behind the house and Eric had an encounter with a scorpion (it was hiding behind the door in the bathroom). The abundance of animal/critter life around here has been incredible (including dogs.. to live in Samara there seems to be a requirement to own at least two.. if not more)!  

Magpie Jay

La Vela Latina Restaurant

We did manage to go on the dolphin boat trip in the end... but only after another delay.   The day we missed the boat we made arrangements for the following day.   So we got ourselves ready again, a repeat from the morning before and walked into town to the tour office were we were met shortly after by the agent to inform us that it was too windy to go out that day!  So... we had to wait a few days before the wind settled and started to wondered if something else was going to get in the way... but the trip eventually went ahead.   We ended up having the boat to ourselves and saw dolphins (spotted) as soon as we got to the mouth of the bay.   They were amazing to watch but equally elusive to catch on camera... so we don't have many good shots to share.  Then we motored down the coast to Playa Camaronal (were we saw the turtle laying her eggs a few weeks back) to see if we could find sea turtles swimming off shore.   We were in luck and it was another incredible sight... I joked with "el Capitan" that they should call it the turtle boat ride instead of dolphin trip (in my limited spanish, so I don't think he understood or maybe he did but just didn't think it was very witty).  We saw several Olive Ridley turtles floating on the surface and as our boat approached each one they would linger for a moment or two and then dive deep below the surface.  We were also lucky to spot a Green Sea Turtle which is a larger and less common spices.  In total Liam counted 8 sea turtles floating around off shore probably waiting for dusk so they could make the long strenuous journey ashore to lay their eggs that night... very exciting!  Then we followed that up with a stop at Chora Island for a bit of snorkeling.  It was the first time for the boys and they had no problem just jumping in the water from the boat and were eager to see what was under the sea!  We were so proud of them as we thought it might be a bit scary for them... just jumping into the deep end so to speak.   It was a bit silty but we still saw Angle fish, a Parrot fish, some small pretty blue fish, a brilliant periwinkle blue star fish and overall it was just fun exploring the reef and snorkelling with the boys for their first time out.  

Getting ready to leave Carrillo Bay.. on the "skiff"

you can sort of see the spotted dolphin just under the surface

Olive Ridley Turtle

Sean eager to get started

Yesterday I waved down Martin, the horse guy that we see daily with his horses on the beach and asked if we could do a tour today.. perfecto.. an hour later we were ready to go! It was fun.. we road along the beach, then up to a look out point, then down to another beach (Buena Vista) and then back along Samara Beach.. door to door service! I'm so glad we did it.. we had been sort of uncommitted about doing the horseback ride trip and now that we did it.. I'm so glad we didn't miss it. 

River Crossing at low tide.. otherwise not passable.

Buena Vista Beach

Eric had a more spirited horse...

On the other side of the beach..
over the hill is Playa Guiones where Mel Gibson has a home

it's not a fruit...but can't remember what they call it - they make gourds out of them.

Buena Vista Beach has a turtle refugio..
where they keep the turtle eggs safe until they hatch.
my horse was generally unhappy the whole trip..
while I was generally quite smiley!

When we got here a month ago, I had lots of visions of how this time  would roll out here,  some happened and some didn't.. and that's okay..... . I'm learning that though its's fun to think ahead and imagine what can be.. it's best to just not expect too much and just let what happens, happen.
"lo que hay".. "it is what it is". 

 The weather seems to have changed.. yesterday was overcast.. perfect for the horse ride but this morning it looks down right dark and feels like the premonitions of a storm coming. feels like the time to go. We pick up our car in an hour and hit the road to Curu Wildlife Refuge.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Liam's Blog - things I did this week

This week I went snorkeling and I saw a star fish and it was as blue as powder blue. I also saw a giant sea shell.  I went on a boat ride and I saw spotted dolphins. I saw Olive Ridley turtles and one Green turtle floating in the water, waiting for it to be night time. When we got too close the Olive Ridley turtles went underwater. The Green Turtle went right away. They are waiting until night time so they can lay their eggs. Snorkeling was fun and I liked it because you got to see underwater animals that you don't get to see. You get to see them in an aquarium but seeing them in the wild is much cooler.

I saw howler monkeys. My mom went crazy like this.. "look, watch, it's special".. like that. I bought a shark tooth necklace with my money. I saw a parrot in a palm tree outside of our beach house and I was so excited.

Friday, 23 November 2012

missed the boat

Well, we were suppose to be on a dolphin/snorkeling boat trip this morning, but we missed the boat! Standing in front of the tourist office.. waiting.. and then the realization that we really did miss it.. the disappointment of no excursion for the day.. bathing suits on, sunblock applied, towels at hand.. ready.. but no go. Not sure if our few minutes of tardiness was the problem or there was a glitch on the tour company side. So, instead we had a slothful day back at the beach house with no one really into shifting gears back to homeschooling. But.. the good news is that we got to see a troop of howler monkeys .. they came right to us at the tree behind the beach house and there was a momma howler with her infant!!! What a special treat. We watched them for quite a while (our necks got sore)  as they munched on the newer shoots of the tree and then they  wandered over to the next tree where they had a little snooze. So now I have better photos to show you! But how amazing it was to see them so close and have a little glimpse into their lives.

Totally relaxed except for the tail.. it's anchor.

We haven't really been doing too much lately, .. homeschooling in the mornings which still have smooth days and then not so smooth days ( I saw "Homeschooling for Dummies" in the book exchange in a store in town.. I think I'll go back for it)  and then trips to town for groceries or a meal or a dip in the pool (the restaurant's). Sometimes we get the boogie boards out and sometimes it's just a body surf type afternoon swim. We have gotten to the point of naming the types of waves.. there is the "foamer", which is when the wave crashes and you get the foamy part; there is the "smacker", which is when you get the wave smack in your back (it can hurt); then there is the "floater", which is just a nice easy lull of a wave ( I like those). The other day when it was high tide and the waves seemed bigger than usual, Sean added one more to our repertoire, the "panicker".. when you see it approaching it really does instill a twinge of panic! The only option for those is to dive right through it. We did manage to get back out on the surf boards again and we all had a go, but Liam is the only one that really liked it and has the knack for it (though Sean is pretty good too..when he tries. )

oh bliss

checking out the crabs 

fresh orange juice and morning coffee

There was a "trembler" yesterday and  Sean thinks he might of felt it. It's a fairly common thing in Costa Rica and people chit chat about aftershocks and tremblers  and it's magnitude like we in Canada talk about wind chill factor. I guess it's a normal part of growing up in Costa Rica. We had a really nice evening with our neighbours/owner's grandson and girlfriend and they said that the big earthquake that happened in September has changed the shore line here in Samara. They can now see more reef in low tide that they normally wouldn't, there is more island to the island out in the bay and the beach is bigger. Wild to think that they are witness to the changes of plate tectonics.

Not sure if this is a young iguana or a different type of lizard

Tiger Heron

We were able to reschedule the dolphin-snorkeling trip and hopefully we won't miss the boat this time!