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:
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:
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.
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.
After relaxing day swimming and a picnic on the beach we went to Playa Potrero.
Sun setting on the mountains at Playa Potrero
Sunset drinks at Playa Potrero
Wind power generator on our journey to Arenal volcano. Last year Costa Rica ran carbon neutral for 61 days!
Good spot for a picnic on our way to Arenal volcano along side Lake Arenal.
Group of Coati’s along side the road just before the dam on lake Arenal.
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.
Large orange Iguana warming up in the sun. This is on the grounds of Hotel Los Lagos.
We were fortunate to get this view of Arenal volcano the morning after our arrival.
Large crocodile on display and yes behind a fence!!
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 or Strawberry poison-dart frog.
Blue Morpho butterfly.
Blue Morpho up close.
Basalisk lizard or Jesus Christ lizard because of their ability to run across water.
Another beautifully clear shot of Arenal volcano!
Arenal volcano from the observatory which is about a 2 km drive from Los Lagos Hotel.
Montezuma bird sitting atop a dead tree in the distance.
Some of the flowers on the grounds of Los Lagos:
These blooms are on lilypads that were beside the walkway of a nearly two acre pond of Tilapia.
Another blue jean frog!
A short visit to Toad Hall on our way back to Playas del Coco! I think Pat is hungry!
Local wasp nest at the picnic area near the water.
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.
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.
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!
A little cloudy on Friday but another great day on the ocean! The air was a little cooler at about 74 degrees Fahrenheit around 10:00 AM and the water has cooled a bit to between 82 and 84 Fahrenheit. This is good as we are seeing bigger fish and the blue water is coming closer to shore giving greater visibility underwater. Because it was cloudier on Friday we saw a lot more eels than usual. Here are a couple.
We saw a nuidbranch in the shallows but my picture is a little overexposed. An eagle ray spotting part way through the dive was exciting too but a little too far for a picture. Towards the end of the dive we saw a school of huge rainbow runners too. I would guess they were 4 – 5 feet long each and we saw around 20 of them in the school. Here are a couple more pictures.