Where Are Those Damned Crocodiles?
Drake Travel Blog› entry 45 of 72 › view all entries
February 15th, 2007 – by: Higton
My first day in the tent camp (see separate review) was spent in the Corcovado National Park - a vast expanse of low-level rainforest the like of which no longer exists in the rest of Central America. And it is beautiful.
In order to get there, a lancha is required - a motorboat to us speakers of English A top, if somewhat uncomfortable way to travel, the view of the coast is spectactular, especially as the Pacific swells make the whole surface of the sea undulate. Most of the journey was spent beyond the breaking waves, although every now and then, a huge one would begin to form on our seaward side. The pilot was pretty good though, riding up the face of a wave and slipping down the other side with only a slight feeling of stomach to mouth.
Landing is another thing entirely. Access to the park is via the shore close to the Rio Sirena. If it weren´t for the sharks and crocodiles, this would be a phenomeal place to surf (not that deterred one hardy yachtsman). Our little boat whipped in and out of breaking waves, creeping just behind the really big ones, waiting for them to lose power. Far better than any rollercoaster.
Corcovado is home to a vast array of animals which are rare and/or unique. One of those is Baird's Tapir and, obviously, I didn't see one. But just walking through the forest was more than enough. There is a peace there that even heavy footed humans can't dispell. Yeah, it's hot and sticky, but there is a majesty to the primary forest and a vibrancy to the recovering secondary areas. Makes one feel as a human should - small and transitory.
One can stay at the Sirena Ranger Station, although booking in advance is necessary. And by "advance" in mean two or three months. It does look an interesting proposition though - not much electricty and basic looking rooms smack in the middle of a jungle clearing.
So, Where Are They?
I was determined that this was the day I saw a crocodile: two rivers in remote locations close to the sea with banks for basking. Yet they continue to elude me. The one thing I have yet to achieve since I've been in this country is to see one of these in the wild (actually, not quite true, I've seen a nose of one). I considered swimming in the Rio Sirena, surely that would bring them out of hiding... So I had to make do with herons, egrets, massive bugs, spiders, ospreys, kites, macaws, deer and some rat-type thing. Shame.
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