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Fishing La Cruz Costa Rica

We had a fantastic day fishing last Saturday.  Up early and on the ocean by 7:00 AM, it was suppose to be 6:30 AM but it took us a few minutes to find the boat….  Once aboard we made our way up the fresh water estuary and out to the ocean.  We only traveled a short distance (maybe 5 minutes) and saw some fish activity on the surface so we stopped and cast for a while.  No bites so we carried on.  Just before the last bend to open ocean we went inside a bay which seemed like our captain’s own fishing hole.  The area was huge but we had the area to ourselves all morning!  The small bait fish (sardines or similar) were in areas that made the water look as if it was boiling; So many bait fish that we could no longer see to the bottom in shallower areas.  On many occasions while fishing for Rooster fish we would see as many as 8 or 9 Rooster fish following our lure! Very exciting!  We ended up taking home a Needle fish which Pat brought in, 2 Spanish mackerel and a Jack fish.  I brought in 2 Rooster fish  the first broke the line escaping under the boat;  The second one [pictured below at about 35 pounds] and a Pompano both of which we released.  The 35 pound Rooster fish put up an amazing fight; I must have brought him close to the boat at least 6 times or more.  Each time that I got him close he would get spooked and make the rod sing as he swam off.  It took 20 – 30 minutes to land him.   Here are the highlights:

Fishing Erle Rooster fish
First Rooster fish!  *Tick* that one off the bucket list!  Beautiful and formidable opponent!

Fishing Pierre Which lure
Pierre pondering which lure will be the best to try next!

Fishing Mary Ann
Mary-Ann fishing off the bow…  She caught at least 3 of the fish for the day!

Fishing Pat Needlefish
Pat with her prize Needle fish!

Diving Catalina Island Costa Rica

Two weeks and two days left in our vacation and we finally got a look underwater!  Today we traveled to Catalina Island with Deep Blue Diving! Our first dive was just fantastic!  We saw a lot more than I was able to capture pictures of as the visibility for large distant creatures was not the best; and a few camera challenges due to not diving underwater for a while – oops!  We got to see giant Manta Rays!  We saw about 4 or 5 giant Manta rays and I would estimate the biggest was at least 12 feet across!  Magnificent creature; so graceful as it appears to fly through the ocean!  Wow!  We also saw eagle rays and plenty of sting rays, we also saw Octopus, Moray eels (mostly green ones), Sharks and hundreds of schooling fish as well as plenty of other species of fish.  Here are a few of the highlights:

Stingray
Stingray laying on the rocks

Giant Stingray
Giant Stingray cruising over the rocks

Stingray
Another colorful Stingray resting on the ocean floor

White tipped Shark
White tipped Shark cruising over the boulders. There saw 6 or more on our second dive.

School of fish
Large school of fish swirling in the current.

Adventures in Costa Rica

Pat and I have been busy visiting different areas of Costa Rica around the Playas del Coco area.  Here are a few of them:


Video of kite boarding at Copal beach Costa Rica. It begins with a someone on the beach assisting with a kite launch.  This gets the kite up in the air for the kite boarder, the kite boarder will steady the kite in the air until ready and then dive the kite to give them forward momentum.  Watch close towards the end of the video you can see a kite boarder jump.  Some of the more serious boarders have devices on their boards that measure the height they are jumping, location etc.; this information is loaded to a place on the internet where kite boarders can compare and compete for the highest jump.  Some can jump as high  as 50 foot.

 

Playa Conchel

Above is an Iguana that crawled over to visit us during our day at Playa Conchal.  The journey to Playa Conchal was quite a challenge, I was glad to be travelling in a 4 X 4.  We had to cross two rivers but fortunately the season is getting drier and the water only came up about 18 inches; can’t imagine what it would be like during the rainy season!  We also saw a car that had to turn around part way up a hill as it could not make the climb.

Playa Potrero

After relaxing day swimming and a picnic on the beach we went to Playa Potrero.

Potrero

Sun setting on the mountains at Playa Potrero

Sunset drinks at Potrero beach

Sunset drinks at Playa Potrero

ICE Windmill

Wind power generator on our journey to Arenal volcano.  Last year Costa Rica ran carbon neutral for 61 days!

Picnic otw to Arenal

Good spot for a picnic on our way to Arenal volcano along side Lake Arenal.

Coati

Group of Coati’s along side the road just before the dam on lake Arenal.

Arenal Volcano just arrived

On the dam a few minutes away from Los Lagos where we will stay for two nights with Arenal volcano in the background.  The volcano has been dormant since 2010 but there are still evidence of the lava that flowed down the side of the volcano.

Orange Iguana

Large orange Iguana warming up in the sun.  This is on the grounds of Hotel Los Lagos.

Arenal clear morning

We were fortunate to get this view of Arenal volcano the morning after our arrival.

Crocodile

Large crocodile on display and yes behind a fence!!

Leaf cutter ants

Leaf cutter ants taking home their prize!  A well done display where the ants needed to travel a high path to get the leaves.

Blue jean frog

Blue jean frog or Strawberry poison-dart frog.

Blue Morpho Butterfly

Blue Morpho butterfly.

Blue Morpho up close

Blue Morpho up close.

Basalisk lizard

Basalisk lizard or Jesus Christ lizard because of their ability to run across water.

Arenal clear again

Another beautifully clear shot of Arenal volcano!

Arenal from observatory

Arenal volcano from the observatory which is about a 2 km drive from Los Lagos Hotel.

Montezuma bird

Montezuma bird sitting atop a dead tree in the distance.

Some of the flowers on the grounds of Los Lagos:

Light pink flower

Flowers on lilypads

These blooms are on lilypads that were beside the walkway of a nearly two acre pond of Tilapia.

Red flower

Large pink flower

Blue jean frog2

Another blue jean frog!

Toad Hall

A short visit to Toad Hall on our way back to Playas del Coco!  I think Pat is hungry!

Wasp nest picinc area

Local wasp nest at the picnic area near the water.

 

First Days in Costa Rica

Our journey to Costa Rica started with a short flight from Kelowna, B.C. to Seattle Washington, we caught a majestic view of the wind brushing the snow off of Mount Baker – very awesome sight to see from the air.  Some retail therapy in Seattle and a short flight to Los Angeles was all we would travel the first day.  After a brief sleep in Los Angeles we were fortunate to take the earlier shuttle to the airport as an accident on the freeway delayed us to the point where we considered walking off the freeway to catch an alternate ride to the airport.  A pleasant flight to Liberia saw us meeting up with my college friend Pierre Tournageau and his wife Mary-Ann whom I was living with before I moved from Alberta to British Columbia in 1986.  We had gotten together a few times after 1986 but haven’t seen them for close to 25 years!  We have a lot of catching up to do!!

Waterfall
We went to a fresh water water fall on our of our first trips in Costa Rica.

Waterfall2
Very relaxing watching the falls.  If you get too hot, just go for a quick swim.

Pierre and Mary-Ann's
Pierre and Mary-Ann’s back yard.  Home base for January!  Awesome setting, reading by the pool and listening to the birds and the odd monkey.  A dip in the pool with a cool beverage was also a great way to spend an afternoon!

Playa del Coco
The local beach was a great spot to catch a sunset in the late afternoon!

Cabuyal Beach
Cabuyal Beach.  A secluded beach where we spent the day fishing and relaxing!  Pierre has a knot book in his left hand just so we make sure we could tie the correct knots for fishing.  Casting from shore for a few hours was great fun.  Pierre got two hits but that is all we would get.  The locals (Tico’s) also had no luck so we didn’t feel too bad.  The water was a lot colder than we expected too, so pretty sure that had a lot to do with it.  We learned today (January 11th) that the national parks were closed the day we went fishing and today due to a cold front.  They are scheduled to re-open today.

 

Zihua cooking classes and Blue Water dive!

It has been a few weeks since I posted.  We have been very busy and enjoying the local culture.  We attended two cooking courses.  The first cooking course started with a tour of the local markets where we found where the “true” local farmers markets were located.  We learned about the six different kinds of bananas in the area, local cheeses, and traditional pork dishes that are eaten in a bolillo (a Mexican bread roll that is shaped similar to a croissant but made with a chewy type of bread); the center of the bread roll is removed and stuffed with the pork dish – absolutely delicious!  We also learned about many of the locally available peppers and chili’s.  Did you know a dried jalapeño is a chipotle pepper?  After returning from the market we learned how to make ceviche and tiritas (Zihuatanejo ceviche) and fish tacos complete with recipes and tasting our creations!  A unique culinary experience in Monica’s backyard!  Wow!
In our second cooking class a few days later we learned to cook a charros bean dish – absolutely delicious; including epazote which is a local Mexican herb that helps relive the gassiness that comes from eating beans.  We also made molcajete salsa (stone-ground salsa) in a mortar and pestle – OMG! Going to have to buy one of these gizmos!  Not be topped by cooking squash blossom’s fried in cheese!  I know how to use all those squash blossoms I got last year without throwing them out!

Are you hungry yet?  Pretty sure we’ll be trying these dishes at home!

Blue water tour

We went out by boat on Thursday on the search for a spot to dive in blue water.  The blue water today was about 4 – 6 miles from shore so very deep but the visibility and color background is amazing.

Joao on the hunt
Here is Joao on the hunt for current and/or gatherings of debris or vegetation that can typically gather near these currents.  Schools of fish, birds, turtles and other ocean mammals follow these currents for a source of food.

Blue Water current
Once you find a current on the ocean it looks like a road.

Blue Water road
Now all we have to do is follow the road (current) and looks for signs of life!

Dolphins1
Dolphins are a good sign that large schools of fish are nearby!

Dolphins2
Two of the people on the dive boat jumped in to swim with the dolphins but it seems they have young ones with them so are quite skittish and swim away when we enter the water.

Dolphins3
Any day you see dolphins on the ocean is just awesome!!
Dive anyone?  Well, no luck seeing any large mammals (that want to play) or large schools of fish; we brought our dive gear so I guess we might as well go for a dive.  Solitary rock – here we come!

Baby Eel Solitary
The visibility wasn’t great at Solitary rock today but we had a good dive nonetheless.

Pituresque Urchin
Love these urchins!  This picture looks like the lower triangles are on fire!  Very Cool!

Stonefish at Solitary
Here is another cool Stonefish sitting on a ledge of the rocks.  We also saw a couple spotted Eagle rays but the timing didn’t work to get a picture – maybe next time.