Voyage Journal 7923 Day 14

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Day 14 - October 4, 2009 - Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

By Juan Carlos Restrepo, Geologist

Co-ordinates: N 08º 41,394’, W 083º 42,140’
Weather: Sunny
Air Temperature: 28ºC
Sea Temperature: 28ºC
Pressure: 1000 hPa

Today was truly a spectacular day.  It could not have started any better.  First thing in the morning I took the Expedition Team ashore and was welcomed by a flock of scarlet macaws flying over the palm trees at the base of a beautiful mountain thick with primary forest. The landing was a mixture of a rocky shoreline with golden beaches and lots of green as the sun was rising.  As good as it gets!

The Osa Peninsula might just be Costa Rica’s best-kept secret. Its distinctive bio-diversity is made up of eight different habitats including a cloud forest, sprawling lowland, a rain-drenched tropical forest, wave-pummeled beaches, coastal wetlands, and fertile farmlands.

Shortly after I dropped the shore party off, we started disembarking the guests that were to go on a jungle trek; first a two-hour hike followed by those interested on a more moderate one-hour walk.  Conditions proved to be a bit harder than expected, partially due to the rains that turned the terrain muddy.  As a result of the mud and the abundance of wildlife the hikes took 2 and 3 hours instead of 1 and 2.  Nonetheless, everybody was really happy, as the sightings were great. 

The short walkers opted for a low elevation route that took them along coastal plains with stunning beaches and views, finishing at a lodge where a spread of local fruits and drinks was offered. The long walkers took a steeper route through a jungle path. The tropical rainforest was lush and provided an opportunity to see lots of scarlet macaws, capuchin monkeys, tropical birds of many kinds, insects, lizards, frogs and an abundant plant life. 

Meanwhile, I was driving the Zodiac and had a giggle as most of our guests came back looking like they had been mud wrestling. All in good spirits though. Corcovado National Park has been described by National Geographic as, “The most biologically intense place on Earth”. 

According to the ship’s schedule, our afternoon was going to be spent at sea. However, considering the proximity of Isla del Caño Marine Park, our Expedition Leader and Captain decided to make a detour so we could offer an afternoon of snorkeling and scuba diving in these beautiful waters. 

The ship had to cover a distance of 11 nautical miles to get there and to our surprise a group of two adult humpback whales and one newborn were seen breaching, flipper and tail slapping, and wallowing around on the surface. They didn’t seem to be disturbed by the presence of the ship and we stayed with them for almost an hour enjoying the beautiful show they were putting together.  The calf must have been born in August and it seemed like he was being taught how to do all these tricks, as he wasn’t very coordinated…  It was a wonderful sighting!

We then proceeded to Isla del Caño and a handful of our guests went scuba diving with a local operator.  They did two dives and heard some whales in the distance.  The snorkelers had a good time as well swimming among schools of Big Eyed Trevally (Jacks) and many other species of reef and pelagic fish.

We then came back on board for a Recap & Briefing followed by dinner as we sailed for Quepos and Manuel Antonio National Park.

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