The wonderful Tom and Linda, who oversee the Cloudbridge nature reserve the next village over and are part of our Sunday coffee clutch, invited us to go whale watching with them. We met where they could safely leave their vehicle and carpooled the two hours to Uvita on the Pacific Coast.
After trying to find a 10 bedroom estate Linda’s daughter is renting for a night in February for her wedding party (http://www.vrbo.com/87735…..pretty awesome view of the ocean), we drove on to our much more humble abode for thirty dollars a night. Hospedaje de Bosquecito is a family abode with rooms downstairs and one upstairs for rent. All have a private bathroom. There is a central kitchen area for guests to prepare any meals. As our room was right off the kitchen we were apprehensive about noise but all was well. Linda and Tom took the room upstairs right over ours so had a long veranda overlooking the woods and stream. The showers were roomy but no hot water. For a small amount of money they were clean, we were safe, and the owners were extremely pleasant.
The father makes furniture next door. Way up in a tree outside his workshop was a baby sloth all curled up. With binoculars I could just determine three toes. There were trees and a stream just off the central area with a fast moving lizard and howler monkeys that woke us at 4:30 (well, the neighborhood dogs actually got me up first). The monkeys were difficult to see as they were way up high and in the back of the stand of trees. Linda and I did catch a quick glimpse of one, though.
Friday for lunch we stopped at a local soda where we waited a loooooooong time for our food. A young girl kept taking a large pitcher of drink somewhere on her bike and trays were being carried out. One time the girl came back with broccoli and cauliflower she had purchased at the store and took it back to the kitchen. We highly suspected it was for Bill’s salad. Finally our food was served with an apology that they were busy feeding people just down the road at the church. There was the broccoli and caulifower on Bill’s plate. Drinks were brought last except for Linda’s who was rather parched. Finally it arrived….she wanted pineapple juice and had just seen someone come back from the store with a fresh pineapple.
Feeling refreshed we decided to head to the beach for a while and hang in the shade. Thankfully there was a cooling breeze. BTW, that’s not my beer….my water bottle was out of sight. If you know me well you know it’s true!
The hostel owner strongly recommended Ranchos Remo for dinner so after a bit of a cleanup we headed up there. Wow! What a view!
But what was MOST exciting is that just as we walked up the path to the restaurant Linda exclaimed that a toucan had just landed in a distant tree! A few seconds later it flew right towards us and landed in a closer tree! Wait, there are other toucans there, too! In all there were five spread out!
Bill’s photo is best:
As we waited for dinner we could see toucans far away and listened to them squawking for a while. Sure glad we had the binoculars with us…. Bill enjoyed a filet of chicken with mango sauce while I tied to find my way through a red snapper that had been fried with its head still attached. Ever seen a fried eyeball?
Saturday we enjoyed a breakfast of granola, bananas, almonds, Linda’s apple cake, and coffee and then had some time before heading to the ticket office to pay for our whale watching tour. As I wandered around the owner came up to me to chat about the monkeys. She said there are usually toucans as well, but she didn’t know why they weren’t there. Just then she spied one in a distant tree! Yes! I had no idea where she was looking so she kindly led me towards the back of the property and helped me locate it. So exciting!! I went to get the others and the binoculars. Toucans are so striking! Bill managed to get this picture despite the distance and low light. It stayed there for several minutes!
Time was marching on so we had too, as well. We drove to the ticket office to pay for the whale watching tour, and then we walked 800 meters to the guides’ building where we met Dean who distributed life jackets. Another 100 meters took us to the ocean where, very surprisingly, were hoards of people all going on tours to view the whales migrating up from the southern Pacific! I kept thinking of mass exoduses in movies where evacuations are happening due to some impending doom….though without the hysteria.
Scads of people were behind us as well. We finally arrived at our boat around the corner, took off our footgear, and loaded all packs in a large plastic trash bag for protection. With high tide about forty-five minutes away, our captain, Antonio, carefully steered us though the curling waves, but the second bump sent water directly towards those of us on the left. As my scalp is still healing with some serious scabs and my hat had just gotten wet, I hid my head behind Bill numerous times throughout the tour. Soon we were in calmer water and headed out to where the humpback whales were swimming. At first a baby’s back was visible a few times and then Mama was beside her tadpole. A few tails flipped up but no breaching. Bill and I had both quickly decided not to try to get pictures as they are never good and didn’t want to get salt water on the cameras. You will have to access my mind!
Pacific spotted dolphins were also in the vicinity. Gosh, did they seem tiny after the humungous whales! We got to see a few more whales before heading off to a photogenic tunnel that can be passed through at lower tide. Bill bravely got out his camera, fell when he stood up, but was able to snag a picture.
Meanwhile the gray skies we had woken to had been slowly descending. I had seen lightning in the distance about thirty minutes earlier and had heard a few thunder rumbles. The beach to which we had to return was already being drenched. I wasn’t any too happy about being on the water in an electrical storm, even if it wasn’t really close. On the way back to the unloading zone our tour guide kept stopping the boat to explain things, such as a distant beach was used to film part of The Pirates of the Caribbean. All I cared about was getting off the water! After an hour of being ready to call it an adventure we finally returned to the beach. We had to walk the 100 meters back to Dean’s building in the rain. With my towel bunched up and over my head I somehow managed to keep my wound dry. Tom and Linda were shivering but managed to warm up a bit. Our packs were brought along about ten minutes later by Antonio who carried the heavy bag to keep them dry. Thank you!
Bill kindly walked the 800 meters back to the car and retrieved us, though the rain had let up a bit. Back at the hostel we dried off and put on dry clothes, had some hot coffee, and snacked as the rain continued to come down. As Linda and I were paying for the rooms the wonderful mother sugested I spend a week with her and speak just Spanish. Mary had been so patient with my Spanish and even tried to learn a few words in English. It is rather tempting!
In twenty-four hours we saw a sloth, lizards, toucans, monkeys, whales, and dolphins. Not too bad……