Sunday, August 25, 2013
Sunday morning we were not thrilled that we had to wake up early again for the snorkeling trip that had been rescheduled, but we were thrilled for the trip itself and the fact that we woke up to sunshine. In fact, Sunday was one of the only days that the clouds stayed away for most of the day and the sunshine came out. This was fortunate because although we didn’t mind the cloudy, rainy days in Costa Rica, snorkeling might not have been ideal if it had been cloudy.
Another reason I had not been thrilled to wake up so early Sunday morning is because I had drifted in and out of sleep all early morning after waking up to the sounds of some animal that sounded terrifying. The sounds this animal was making right outside our house almost sounded like a cross between the long roar of a lion and the croak of a frog.
When daylight finally broke, the animal sounds changed a bit from a roar to a more distinguishable monkey howling. Our beach house was located two houses down from a lodging place called the Howler Monkey Inn. According to reviews of this place, the monkeys could be seen climbing in the trees everywhere, but so far we had only spotted one monkey in the town of Montezuma on the first day there.
At 7 am, with the sounds of howling and snorting still coming from the trees above us, I snuck outside to discover it was indeed small howler monkeys making that noise all night long and clambering from tree to tree far above. The monkeys made such an awful, creepy sound during the dark hours of the night that I really did not look forward to their return another night and thankfully that was the only night we ended up hearing them howling with their creepy loud roar.
We arrived at the tour guide place in Montezuma on time at 8:45 am. We waited around for quite a while until they told us to walk to the beach nearby and wait for the boat and the rest of the people to gather.
Once everyone was ready to go, two tour guides gathered the group, which was mostly a huge gaggle of college-aged males on a trip together, three younger girls, and a family with three children. The tour guides explained in English and Spanish what the trip would entail before the boat made its way to the shore to pick us up.
The boat headed up north along the east coast of Peninsula de Nicoya and was in route to an island called Tortuga Island which boasted emerald green waters, white sandy beaches, and uninhabited land outlined with swaying palm trees.
During the hour boat ride to Tortuga Island we were able to spot one turtle floating in the water and another two turtles mating. We also passed by another scenic small island called Rainbow Island, named so because of the arch it forms over the water. According to our tour guide we were passing by the island during low tide so we were able to see the island in the form of an arch, but during high tide the island’s arch is covered under water.
Before actually relaxing on Tortuga Island and eating lunch, the tour guides anchored the boat next to a volcanic rock reef so we could go snorkeling. Although I had previously been excited to go snorkeling, after seeing the reef we would be snorkeling on and discovering that the water was not as clear as I thought it would be, I became nervous. Bryce had already been snorkeling before and knew what to expect. I, on the other hand, felt nervous about trusting my breathing on a small tube sticking out of my mouth to the surface of the ocean while swimming in dark blue waters next to volcanic rock.
The tour guide began handing out equipment first to the huge group of guys on the boat and each one eagerly and confidently jumped off the side of the boat to snorkel. Bryce and I were one of the last ones to be handed our equipment and at that point, with my nerves getting the best of me, I was less ready than ever to get in the water and certainly wasn’t ready to just plunge in the water like the rest of the group had. I desperately wanted to ease into the water off the later, but not wanting to seem like a dork, decided to follow suit.
Bryce jumped in before me and he was off snorkeling right away and nowhere to be seen. As for me, I had my eyes set on a small wooden dock floating in the water several feet away. I unsuccessfully tried dipping my head just under the water’s surface to get a glimpse of the fish and coral, but being in this new, foreign underground world made me uncomfortable at first and so I did more swimming than snorkeling on my way to the dock.
After taking a breather with Bryce on the dock I felt more confident about snorkeling and made my way around the small volcanic rock sticking out of the water twice. Snorkeling became quickly exhausting so I retired to the boat early.
While waiting for the last few passengers to wrap up their snorkeling, the boat’s captain decided to do some snorkeling. Not only a few minutes after diving into the water, he surfaced with a porcupine fish and starfish in hand to show us. The tour guide must have known the good places along that volcanic reef to find fish and was brave enough to dive deep because we only saw a few schools of colorful fish and not much other marine life.
After snorkeling we retreated to the island, where the tour company had our BBQ lunch and drinks waiting for us. We ate a lunch of chicken, fish, potatoes, and bread and during this time we were visited by what seemed to be a popular island attraction, a wild boar and its baby. The two wild boars snorted by us, rejecting my offer to be pet, and made their rounds to greet other tourists and get their pictures taken.
After eating, we had the rest of the afternoon to ourselves to kayak, ride an inflatable banana boat, surf, play beach volleyball, or just take an afternoon siesta. We opted for the last option along with visiting some pet parrots and scouting out crabs.
On our return boat ride back to Montezuma we were able to spot whales and dolphins peaking out of the ocean waves. All in all, it turned out to be such an exciting, perfect day, free of crazy river crossings and filled with so many things we could check off our Costa Rica list of things to see and do.
When we returned to Casa Astrid that afternoon to relax, I took advantage of the free time to give our visiting dog Oreo a bath. It seemed pretty silly to give a stray dog a bath but all the dogs we had come across seemed pretty well maintained and not filthy, however, Oreo was the exception. He smelled rotten as a fish. With a little bit of leftover shampoo I took the hose to him outside and gave him a good wash-down. This still didn’t clear him of all his stench and I’m sure he hated me for it, but with that chore out of the way, we were able to enjoy the rest of our day relaxing on the patio with the pups.