07/01/2010, Bocas Del Toro
The Ngöbe Buglé Indians are a large cultural entity here in the Bocas Del Toro (Panama) archipelago, reaching their villages only by boat. So you can well imagine the logistics of medical help, supplies, building, power sources, and education. Talking with a Peace Corp volunteer from a nearby village she told of the children going to high school paddling a half hour and then walk another half hour through the rain forest to another village's school. Classes are cancelled when it rains; and they are living in a rain forest! Education is a gift.
Be thankful for the opportunities in your world as you view these photos.
Have you ever seen a glass-winged butterfly? It's a small butterfly, perhaps two inches in size with clear wings that look like stained glass windows. How about a Hercules Beetle? Neither had I until taking a night trek through a rain forest. The Hercules Beetle is most famous and the largest of the rhinoceros beetles. Said to be the strongest creature on Earth for its size. The beetle is able to carry 850 times it's own body weight. Now I've done the math which means a large 120 gram (1/4 lb) beetle can carry 224 lbs., definitely a Hercules. If you had it's strength you could lift a 65 ton object. How about seeing a violet saber-winged hummingbird? They are the largest hummingbird in Costa Rica between five and six inches in size. Imagine 40 feeders, the bulbous ones with red bottoms, hanging about chest high and perhaps four feet apart. Now imagine standing amongst them with hundreds of hummingbirds darting all over. Probably 20 different species, the violet saber-wing, king of them all flying by with ease. That's the scene at LaPaz Waterfall Gardens, Poaz, Costa Rica.
Rainbows, I know you've seen one of those. But how about a rainbow eucalypts tree or a rainbow billed toucan? They are both something to behold. National Geographic has dubbed Costa Rica the most biodiversified ecosystem on the planet. Hiking through Cahuita (cow-hee-ta) National Park on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, we spotted a baby sloth, three bright yellow eyelash viper snakes and a Jesus Walks-on-Water lizard. At the Jaguar Rescue Center we even got to hold a baby sloth. They are cute, cuddly creatures. Then over to the Pacific Coast on the Osa Peninsula, we hiked to another National Park, Corcovado. There we listened to the squawking scarlet macaws. They sounded like they were fighting, but probably mating. At least fifty bight colored birds lined the beach trail. Wal spotted a family of spider monkeys jumping from tree to tree; it was a busy day in the rain forest.
Off we go to Chirripo (cheer-ree-poe) the highest peak in Costa Rica at 12540 ft. Our first mistake was opting to carry 23 lbs each for the nine mile trail. The second mistake was assuming there would be switchbacks. The trail was virtually straight up and if there were switchbacks they were ever so slight, hadly enough to catch your breath and rest your weary bones. Porters carried the food and cooking supplies for the two night, three day trek. We saw the porters running back down the trail. The record, for there is a contest each year for assent and decent, is 3 hours and 14 min. In the women's category, the record last year was by a pregnant woman who didn't realize she was pregnant until sometime after, was for 3 hours and 40 min. Our time was 8 hours up and for us the descent was more difficult taking us eaually as long. Everyone was on the look out for the resplendant Quetzal, the national bird and treasure of Costa Rica. We heard it's call several times but never did see her. However we did see a broad billed mot-mot, which is equally as brilliant.
Upon arriving at the base camp, just missing a down pour and totally exhausted, people were talking about getting up at 3:00 am to tackle the summit in order to see the sunrise should it be clear. Well, we decided we had seen enough sunrises to last a lifetime and opted for the 8:00 am version. It was another three hour hike to the summit where the view was of the Pacific and the Caribbean at the same time. We were on top of the world.
Costa Rica is alive with volcanoes. Poaz, another National Park, has the remains of one. But even more dynamic is Arenal (r-n-l) whcih periodically spews off gas. This is something to witness. There are hot springs abound to partake in to rest those sore muscles. At night one can watch the hot rocks exploding down the mountain, giving off an effect of lava cascading down the sides. But in order to view this spectacle the weather has to be clear, no cloud cover, which is difficult somethimes for you are in a cloud forest.
Enjoy the photos.....in the gallery.
05/17/2010, Red Frog Marina Panama
This is our first Blog and I am just getting into the groove here. We have the boat secured at Red Frog Marina, Bocas Del Toro, Panama. For you cruisers out there we are actually up the bay between Hospital Bight and Bastimentos, an hour from Bocas Del Toro via slow sail. The marina is isolated from shopping, but it is very quiet, some no-see-ums, new facility, great body surfing, an okay restaurant at the hostel, and a great bar/restaurant on the beach for burgers or grilled chicken sandwiches. Lots of places to walk and swimming is at the beach or snorkeling a dingy ride away.