A Travellerspoint blog

A Beach Like The Somme

rain 28 °C
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Friday 18th October 2012

Rice and beans 3 x a day.

staying in a small shanty village with limited resources. Fruits called Coco-plum and June-plum hint at an english influence in the past. The Swiss, Dutch and 2 Americans leave. Two remain, teachers from San Jose on a long weekend, Paul and Doug. In May 600kg Leatherbacks visit, but now it is the tail end of the green turtle season.

The beach by daylight looks like the Somme, thundering waves, black sand littered with jungle debris and huge tree trunks rolling dangerously in the surf. The top of the beach is pockmarked by turtle craters. Broken eggs litter the sand, poached by turkey vultures. Wide tank tracks lead from the sea to last nights nests. Each green turtle returns to the beach 2 or 3 times a season and then leaves to wander the oceans for 3 or 4 years. They take 20 years to reach breeding weight.

Tramp through the swampy jungle, the mud comes half way up my calves. They have 200 inches of rain a year here, and a lot of that fell today.

Posted by 1985 trip 09:49 Archived in Costa Rica Comments (0)

a green turtle heaves herself out of the sea

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Thursday 17th October 1985
Egg laying

Egg laying

6am bus to Puerto Moin. Then problems at the dock, too many people for the small Japdeva canal boat, everyone is returning from the carnival. Surprised to find about 12 foreigners waiting for the boat too. Local people get priority. In the end a barge is lashed behind as a whole Nicaraguan baseball team has to be accommodated as well, and so we head up the coast.

About 100km through lagoons and canals straight up the coast to Tortuguerro, separated from the sea by a narrow strip of tropical forest, see alligators, sloths and monkeys on the way.

On arrival find some cabanas and share with Tom for 230 C. Walk for 40 minutes along the beach and am rewarded by the sight of turtle tank tracks, they typically come in at 8 -9pm, only late arrivals now as the peak season was last month. She is covering her eggs by flinging sand about. Enormous effort. The dutch woman is aghast. As we approach the turtle in the inky black night, we hear its laboured breathing, the dutch woman stops 10 feet away and says 'Oh no its my first turtle and its soo moving' The turtle is emotional tho, its cloudy eyes wet with tears, some weigh over 300kg and moving on land takes a lot of effort, she is floundering in a big crater, every few sweeps of her paddles she pauses, extends her neck and takes a long noisy breath, respiratory rate less than 10/minute. Later she lumbers back to the sea, has to rest every yard, it all seems primitive primeval vision of the past.

Posted by 1985 trip 11:10 Archived in Costa Rica Comments (0)

talk of Olive Ridley turtles

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Wednesday 16th October 1985

Have to get back to Limone for the bank today if I am going to spend the rest of the week in Tortuguerro. Bus arrives into Limone nearly one hour late. Much gentle wit in the high street. He says in strong patois "what u looking for Gloria? She says " I got to find my son right away" and she sits down resignedly.

A lot of wailing and clapping from a small congregation in the Evangelical church last night. They sounded amused elated and frightened in turns and kept it up for 2 1/2 hours.

Thomas, my neighbour at Jenny's is on the bus, heading for Tortuguerro too. He is a tall softly spoken German with scandinavian looks. He was in Santa Rosa park with some scientists watching 1/2 million Olive Ridley turtles nest at Playa Nancite. He saw alligators pigs vultures and pumas enjoying the turtle feast. Also turtles bitten in half by a sharks. The scientists are marking and counting. Thomas marked 300 turtles in one night.

Hotel Cariari 125 C.

Posted by 1985 trip 10:58 Archived in Costa Rica Comments (0)

search for spanish gold

and fail, sleep it off.

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Tuesday 15th October 1985

Hire some goggles and flippers from Daisy 150 c and head out in search of spanish gold. It is an hours walk to the point. This swampy promontory juts out in to the sea, protected for millennia by the reef, sweeping back each side are long beaches, like caries in the white dentine of the coast.

Snorkel for 40 minutes but it is too rough and I see and find nothing. There is a spanish galleon on the reef, which you can snorkel over when it is calm. Snooze in my hammock in complete isolation and slung between coconut palms.

Disappointed by the reef.

Posted by 1985 trip 10:51 Archived in Costa Rica Comments (0)

explore peaceful Cahuita park

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Monday 14th October 1985

Up with the birds. Walk along the coast path through the park. Hot steamy and swampy, not a soul about. Alligator skeleton, fish eagle, howler monkeys. They make a tremendous noise and I now realise what I heard in Palenque.

You can pitch a tent at the park headquarters, they have fresh water and showers but no food. large dirty pelicans flap inches above the sea.

The other way from the park is Playa Negra, where there are some cabanas to rent and daisy's place for breakfast and dinner.

Posted by 1985 trip 10:46 Archived in Costa Rica Comments (0)

carnival in Port Limone

trek to Cahuita national park

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Sunday 13th October 1985

Catch the 8am bus to Port Limone on the caribbean coast, 3 1/2 hour ride over the central highlands.

On arrival find a carnival in full swing in a hot tropical rainstorm, its been going on for a week and the place and everyone looks pretty wrecked. Today is the last day. Every street stall and palm frocked bar has loud enough reggae music to wake the entire coast. Mostly black people, their english has a very strong caribbean accent.

1 o'clock bus towards Cahuita national park. Spend the late afternoon walking to Puerta Varga and back, 14km with a bus helping part of the way home. Tuned out to be nothing much there but a park office, a small camp site with no facilities, lovely and isolated but no food.

Found Jenny's place on my return to Cahuita, down by the sea, 150 C for a quaint wood, bamboo and batik room on stilts. Jenny lives in easy going style on the first floor. I think there is only one room. Extra ordinary water collecting system with a number of different taps for different things. The drinking tap tastes the foulest, mostly of iron. Outdoor showers beneath 10 galloon drum. Its all very swiss family robinson. Very peaceful.

Posted by 1985 trip 10:19 Archived in Costa Rica Comments (0)

Appalling folkloric show


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Saturday 12th October 1985

Explore town and have a Big Mac, quite a change after months of tortillas. Have a coffee in the classical looking National Theatre. Parks & Maps office closed as it is Columbus day. San Jose seems to have plenty of dodgey looking bars, but they usually serve cheap food.

Watch appalling folklorique show in the evening. Enthusiastic amateurs who would be unwise to turn professional. A 100 year old lady was the guest of honour and she sat on stage and sang three songs in a very loud voice and paying no heed to the poor guitar accompanist. She was the best of the evening, but the experience was a tragic waste of a dollar.

Posted by 1985 trip 10:13 Archived in Costa Rica Comments (0)

San Jose

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Friday 11th October 1985

11.30am check in at Guate airport - La Aurora - and collect voucher for the night in a Bogota Hotel, La Presidentia. Promises to have many more stars than I am used to.

Half empty flight through the clouds to Costa Rica. Money situation: 1$ : 51.5 Colons.

Check in to Tika Linda at 533 2nd Avenue in cute little San Jose. Small sign on otherwise anonymous door, ring the bell and it silently swings open, released by a piece of string runs the length of the 30 foot corridor behind. Tiny rooms with hard board partitions. 75 C a night.

Post Restante. No mail. Misery.

Posted by 1985 trip 01:43 Archived in Costa Rica Comments (0)

Guatemala City in 1985

its the 80s , it must be Rambo

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Thursday 10th october 1985

Have some spare Quetzals to spend and visit the market behind the cathedral. The cathedral has numerous shrines. The roman catholics seem to worship their numerous saints just like the Mayans have the plethora of deities for different spiritual roles. Get patchwork bolsas (bags) down from 15 to 10Q.

Spend the afternoon at the Post Office. Posting parcels is very cheap, small packets are expensive, no printed matter or letters.

Watch Rambo 2 in the evening. Rambo has a mission, to kill every Vietcong and Russian on the planet. He accomplishes this with the minimum of dialogue and a miraculous never ending supply of ammunition. Ghastly stuff.

When walking along the streets of Guatemala City choose which side of the street with care, not just sun or shade, but which way are the buses running, the all emit a lingering choking blue smog.

Have a blow out final supper in an Italian restaurant.

Posted by 1985 trip 01:34 Archived in Guatemala Comments (0)

Travel business

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Wednesday 9th October 1985

Successful business day. Changed KLM reservation to December 6th from October 28th, not ready to go home yet. Also made reservations for flights to Costa Rica and Equador, flying these legs will save time as I want to see the Andes next and I have enough money. Flights 1500Q. Banks offering 3.6 - 3.7Q to the dollar, which is similar to the street rate.

Watch a film, Greystoke. Tarzan returns to his aristocratic Scottish dukedom, his eccentric animal behaviour fits in nicely with his eccentric ancient granfather's. Ralph Richardson's last role.

Hear of a flight from US to Guatemala for 130$.

Posted by 1985 trip 01:26 Archived in Guatemala Comments (0)

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