From the Sea Voyager, January 7, 2009
Rio Esquinas & Casa Orquideas, Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica
Bottlenose dolphin and Kayakers
This morning we woke up in Costa Rican waters off the shores of a port known as Golfito. Immigration officials boarded the ship early in the morning as this was our first port of call after entering Costa Rican territory. Right breakfast we were graciously greeted by pantropical spotted dolphins which are considered permanent residents of the marine tropical fjords of Golfo Dulce.
Our options for the morning included kayaking and Zodiac cruses, and once again dolphins showed just a few feet away from the disembarkation platform, so everyone had a great look! This time bottle nose dolphins were practically escorting us to the entrance of Rio Esquinas; the bank entrance of the river is adorned by red, tea and black mangroves, as well as some recovering patches of forests. As we navigated into its calm waters, we saw white ibises, snowy white and cattle egrets, whimbrels and even little blue herons, among other birds.
Everything was great, but it seems as if the highlight of the morning was stolen by a couple of rainbow boa snakes and some basilisk lizards found close enough for every one to see. As we continued exploring the river, perhaps the most exciting event for me was to find a troop of squirrel monkeys; these are one of the four types of monkeys found in Costa Rica and by far the least common. They seemed to be curious about us but after observing us for a while, they simply continued with their business. The Osa Peninsula and Manuel Antonio National Park are the only two places in Costa Rica where these type of monkey are found.
As made our way back for lunch, we were once again greeted by the bottle nose dolphins. The afternoon was dedicated to visit Casa Orquideas; a beautiful tropical garden which is a work of love planted by two American immigrants who made Golfo Dulce their home some 30 years ago. As we started walking through the trails, a warm but soothing rain fell upon us. What a nice way to enter this tropical paradise where every plant is a tropical jewel. The rain stopped and some of us were able to even enjoy the pleasure of swimming back to the ship. Scarlet macaws and chestnut mandibled toucans were the icing on the cake of this great first day in Costa Rica. PURA VIDA!