November 19th, 2008 – by: Exciterte
It has already become a tradition a long time: Timo wakes up first, already at 05:00 and then at 05:30 also Eef. The sun starts to rise and it’s getting lighter, so we can already go onto the beach, we walk 20 minutes, but we don’t spot any tortuguitos (little sea turtles), only the hawk we spotted yesterday. At 6 o’clock we walk to the boats to start our first trip of the day. It takes about 20 minutes before we leave, but that’s OK. It’s a nice trip, because it isn’t raining. First we pass the village Tortuguero, there we need to pay 10 USD per person.
Then we go with three boats: two with Alonso because he’s the English speaking guide and one Spanish speaking boat. We go to the right, away from the national park on the Boca Rio. Sometimes at high speed and a few times we stay still to spot something. We see three species of monkeys: white-faced capuchin monkey, howler monkey and spider monkey. We also see a lot of birds: tiger-heron, little blue heron, ringed kingfisher, one time three and another time 5 great green macaws flying over the park from a distance, mangrove swallow, black vulture, ospreys, anhinga and cormorant. We only see one caiman and two Jesus Christ lizards, that is not so good. In the end that is why we come here; the abundance of animal life. At 08:00 we’re back and we can immediately have breakfast; coffee, rice with eggs and beans, bread with guava marmalade.
Immediately after breakfast we prepare for our second boat trip of the day: the national park itself. Eef and Timo first stop at the frog farm, see a red-eyed leaf frog and are happy to leave with the boat. We take first the same route but then choose a left through the narrow canals of the Tortuguero National Park. The rainforest is very dense with 1001 different species of animals, really dense and very green and high. Again snowy egret, cattle egret, great egret, ospreys and a whole family of jacanas: small brown and yellow water birds – the Costa Rican moorhen – with plenty of yellow on the bottom of their wings. We especially notice this when they fly away. It is very beautiful: one immature and two adults. During both trips we see iguanas and now even a last glimpse of a river otter.
The first part of the trip it does not rain, but then it starts and we wear the ponchos and wait until the animals show themselves. Nothing much happens, because they all see shelter under the foliage. Our guide joins us to the village. That way we can see the locals or maybe it is to have us shopping in the village shops. We’re done here quickly and then walk back to the Mawamba Lodge and hope to see little turtles. Normally that would only happen early morning or early evening. Today just before we arrive at the lodge Alonso sees three dogs digging holes. When we arrive there, there is only one little tortuguito next to a hole in the sand. Damn, we think, another dead one, but no, this one has enough strength to walk to the sea itself. Then Alonso digs them all out, almost 100 little ones come out of the hole and seek and find instinctively to the water.
Normally he would never touch them but if we don’t take any action today, the three dogs would eat them. We follow a dozen to the water, really marvelous, a great sight, unbelievable. A few stupid Germans did not understand English and were making deep holes with their feet by running from left to right and those holes made it difficult for the turtles. One asshole even thought he could pick one of them up. Timo did actually comment on that action and then he left together with his wife. Yes! In the meantime we enjoy the event and take some pictures and make films. The turtles don’t care about the rain and the wind and the high waves and neither do we. We are totally wet, but we’ve witnessed something unbelievable. It is almost unreal, a great experience. We are still full of joy when we go for lunch, then have a siesta and try to dry our clothes. Especially Eef’s shoes, because they were soaking wet. At 15:00 the next adventure starts: frog farm, butterfly garden and hike. In the back yard of the lodge is a big conservatory with green netting. Here they breed the blue jeans, black and green poison dart frog and a normal red-eyed tree frog. We check things out here, again get totally wet, but we’ve seen the poison dart frogs another time. Total coolness. From this place we walk to the next. Here they breed blue morphos. The caterpillars crawl on the plants, the pupas are being protected and the butterflies fly here as normal. But they are not feeling really good; they are captive animals and often break parts of their wings. Then you have the only possibility to take a picture, otherwise they are flutter too much or they are sitting on a leaf and then you only see the brown side of the wings. Then the hike starts. We have both used mosquito-spray, but Eef gets bitten once and Timo twice right after one another. Summary of the hike: slaty tailed trogon (female), a bunch of leafcutter ants, three bats under a palm-leaf and it has rained all the time since the half of the second boat trip. During this hike we also saw two clay-colored robins: the national bird of Costa Rica. We return to our room along the coast. We walk on, because at first only our legs were wet, then we were wet completely from top to toes. We have a siesta and again try to dry our clothes. We leave the ventilator on; attach trousers there, turn and dry. That does not work out fine, because Eef needs to use the hairdryer. At five thirty we go to the bar, drink Imperial, eat some nuts and enjoy the day, or better evening. For the second round Leen and Philippe join us and at seven thirty we grab a bite: cold and warm vegetables, rice and chicken. We don’t stay up late and go to bed at about nine. We talk a bit about the special things we saw today. The reason for our visit to Tortuguero is filled by seeing the little tortuguitos, really cool. And then we fall asleep with the rain on the background, the rain that accompanied us the whole day.