Friday, February 18, 2011

Some bad pictures for Sam
























Heh Sam,

I hope these help. Tried to take with flash, but too much glare, even when decreasing flash intensity. Works better in daylight.

Oh Yeah - Happy Birthday to you!

Heather

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Our final days at Playa Grande

Alyssa catching a wave

Brianna up on her board (again)

On our way to the beach from our "home away from home"


I know I love it in this location and wish I could bring everyone I love to see this area. Bern is off to the airport taking Ted and Laela to catch their flight. We have a few more hours and I will be waking the girls in a few minutes so we can enjoy one last swim in the warm waters of Playa Grande.


video video

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Tamarindo Estuary Tour

Howler Monkey
Our Estuary tour boat


red crab

We decided to show the girls what an estuary was like. We hired a local man to take us up the Tamarindo Estuary. We went close to low tide which ensured we would see some birds. The down fall is that many of the places were very shallow and with 6 of us on the boat plus the two guides we got hung up on some sand bars. This meant that either the guide got out and had to drag us over or, we had to reposition in order to get us over. Oh the excitement. We were lucky though, we saw all kinds of Herons (small blue and large blue), many white small herons, egrets, halks and other birds that I cannot remember the names of. We also got to see 2 american crocodiles. One was sunning itself, while the other was in the water. The fact that they were there made the guide in the water, dragging us along a little more exciting. We also saw thousands of different kinds of crabs. Ted got a great picture of the crabs that I will share with you. The highlight for me was the howler monkeys. We heard their haunting call and went to look for them. We got to see them crawling around the trees (at points we were less than 2 meters away from them). We also saw a porcupine.






video


The Vagabundo sail boat and Snorkelling trip



















Wow what a wonderful day this was. We drove past Flamingo beach to Poetrero beach and embarked on a 5 hour tour. A very nice young couple from Belgium and Quebec too us up the coast to the north. Their were about 15 of us on the tour. We got on the boat first so we inhabited the bow. The sun was shining, the winds were brisk and we had a wonderful sail to a little beach which I don't remember the name of. We all got into the water and snorkelled for about 45 minutes. There was an above average number of fish and the longer you looked the more you saw. The waters were a little cloudy due to the wind and swell, but the visibility was still good. I really need to brush up on my skills of kowing what the different fish are called beyond the "Dori" fish from Finding Nemo and the irridescent blue ones or the black and yellow striped ones. After spending a bit of time jumping off the side of the boat we sailed South until the sun set over the ocean. It was a breath taking. These people kept our glasses full wht whatever we wished, they surved us fresh tropical fruit, home made guacomole and salsa while we watched the sun set. Then as a grand finale we saw a leatherback turtle swim passed our boat. These turtles are HUGE! What a day


Between Ted and Laela's camera and ours I believe we took 800 photos (650 of those were ours). Bri took my camera and had a blast. Thank goodness for digital cameras!

The wild animal rescue "Monkey Park"

spider monkey
Blue McCaws

Tucan

After seeing so many animals in the wild, it is hard to go see them in cages. We heard about this refuge from the people who look out for the condo's we live in. I guess many animals need to be sheltered from what we humans do. Many are injured by cars or hydro lines. Others are captured as pets and then the owners no longer want them or get annoyed by them and so want to get rid of them. This park is filled with animals like this. It was neat to see the animals up close, but as my pictures depict, they are behind bars. The goal is to set these animals free again (according to the parks mission statement). I still prefer to see animals in the wild.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Playa Grande - Costa Rica

Brianna having some fun on the beach... missing friends back home
Great big waves crashing over the rocks

boogie boarding fun "catching the wave"


I have decided that Playa Grande, Costa Rica is my favourite beach in the world. Of course this is a very subjective statement, but alas life is full of subjectivity.


Why you may ask and I will give you the following reasons:

1. Long (3.5 km long) unspoiled white sand

2. Very gradual incline, so easy to walk on and wonderful to play in the waves

3. Consistant waves that are wonderful to boogie board on (and surf on)

4. Very few people to mar the beauty and get in the way of your boards

5. The fact that huge leatherback turtles lay their eggs here

6. Every day is sunny and beautiful

7. The water is warm

Monday, January 31, 2011

Surfing

Brianna getting some last minute instructionsEveryone practicing on the beach


One of the things Bern, Laela and Ted have always wanted to try is surfing. We wanted to introduce our kids to surfing as well. We have heard from many people that kids do it almost naturally. So we signed up for surfing. I am happy to boogie board, so I was self designated as the photographer for the event. We had two excellent instuctors from (Ian and ?Doug) who own/work for Frijoles Locos (Crazy Bean). I love the name of the shop and they rented us our boogie boards for the week as well. Great business to work with.


After a quick safety lesson and some trials of standing on the boards on the sand it was off to water.




I will try to load a video showing Bern get up. What was really exciting is that each member of our group stood on their board at least twice in the water! I was so proud of my friends and family as they showed their athletic ability. Surfing is a total body work out (according to those who did it). It needs lots of upper body strength, core strength and of course balance.

video

White Water Rafting







Well white water rafting was a true adventure. I always look forward to this event and felt the same way this time. Laela wasn't completely sold on this. I told Laela that this would be no problem, no fear, I have never fallen out or even felt like I would fall out. This was to be class II and III waves, safe for kids under 12 and 13 to take part in. Within 5 minutes of our beginning of the boat ride, we hit a wave that caused Alyssa to fly over the boat and land on me sending both of us into the churning water. My original panic started with, What will happen to my daughter, my next thought was, wow this water is deeper than I thought and really this didn't hurt, my next thought after that was OK I'm running out of air, I'm under the raft, I need to relax and point my feet down stream. Then within seconds this little guide is physically hauling me out of the water and the same time that Bern is hauling Alyssa out of the water. My heart was pounding, my swimming shorts were around my ankles (poor guide had to see all this), but my daughter was alive, I was alive and all was well. The rest of the hour and a half was filled with exciting rapids and we all stayed in the boat. We saw some absolutely amazing birds! I don't think Laela will ever white water raft again, but it was still a good adventure.

Zip lining

Alyssa
Brianna
Laela



Well I may have spelled the last entry wrong, we zip lined at Pozo Azul. Ted, Laela, Alyssa, Brianna and Bernie decided to go up into the canopy and fly down on small wires through the leaves. I'm not sure how much wild life was actually seen, but the adrenalin rush brought feelings of huge excitement to each person in the group. Brianna told us about some giant ants, that if you got bitten by one, would cause you 8 hours of pain. She was told that we couldn't hug any trees without chancing being bitten by one. She was distressed because Bernie kept touching the trees and leaning on the trunks. Thank goodness no one was bitten by the giant ants.

Poza Azule

Ted & Laela posing for the camera
What a beautiful butterfly... Hard to catch on film

Our family against the river

We travelled north to La Virgen to enjoy some zip lining and white water rafting. It was a beautiful area. Mountainous, lush and beautiful. We were white water rafting on the Sarapiqui river. I didn't zip line due to my outrageous fear of heights. Those that went said it was great fun and felt very safe. Laela stated that the "grated" platforms were a little unnerving when you looked down. The rides were great and apparantly you didn't need to "brake" as much as on other zip line adventures.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Poas Volcano

Ted and Laela walking down the path to the lake created by a volcano crater and filled with rain water. Don't they look romantic?
Here is the rain water lake. Apparantly the water is cold 13-14 degrees celcius




We spent a few hours driving to Poas Volcano. It was very close to us as the crow flies from our mountain home but it was literally 2 hours to drive there because of the road access. It was a beautiful day in the mountains, but when we first saw the crater it was filled with steam and clouds, so it was a "nothing but white" view. Luckily as we hiked around the mountain we ended up being there long enough that we got to view the steam coming off the crater lake that is kept at 40 degrees celcius from the volcanic activity in the mountain.



video

Water falls in Northern Costa Rica







Here are the Catarata Del Toro - 100 meter high falls. We climbed down to the base of the falls. Absolutely breath taking and a wonderful work out on for the thighs and the cardiovascular system.