Tarantula-la-la

Trip Start Jan 03, 2010
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11
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Trip End Jan 28, 2010


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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Puntarenas,
Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Today we were supposed to venture out to see the coffee and sugar cane plantations. When we looked out the window the weather looked fine.  Blue skies and birds flying…..

When we opened the door to leave the hotel we noticed that there was forceful winds and rain in the direction of the Caribbean - the direction of the plantations, zip lines, most of the things to do. 

The weather to the Pacific side seemed ok so we dropped our plans and decided to check out the Monteverde Cloud Forest hoping the weather would hold out. 

We got some breakfast in town (we woke up to late for the breakfast part of the Bed and Breakfast we are staying at) and had some good coffee.  We saw a couple of rainbows over the town again today.

The road to Monteverde is more of the same.  Dirt roads with giant potholes filled with rainwater, lots of mud and big rocks.  I'd like to say again that we are beating the hell out of our little Suzuki Jimny.  Its got 4-wheel drive and I’m really beating the crap out of the poor little car.

If you are ever in the market for a used car and you find out that it ever spent any time in Costa Rica – don’t buy the thing.  I’m fully expecting that IF it makes it through this trip, it will self-destruct the second we turn it in at the car rental place.

We arrived at the National park and I bought an Imperial Beer jacket patch for Monty.  The beer is ok but the Logo is kinda cool.  I’ve been drinking Pilsen because it is less skunky.  The packaging for Pilsen is boring so that explains the purchase….

We got into the park and hired a guide named Oscar.  There was a honeymooning couple from New York and a cool old guy named John from Spokane Washington.  Oscar explained that they call it a cloud forest because of the high elevation (5000+ feet).  He also explained that Monteverde lies on the continental divide so weather, temperature, and barometric pressure changes lots in a very short area.  On one side of the park, all rivers flow to the Pacific, on the other side they flow to the Caribbean...

Pretty early on John spotted a howler monkey in a tree.  I don’t know if my primarily nocturnal past has ruined my eyes or what.  I can’t spot anything.  If they point something out or the guy has his telescope on it that’s another story.  I never spot anything.

We saw a couple wild turkeys in the trees and then our guide got really excited because he spotted a female Quetzal bird.   They are starting to disappear due to climate changes and the reduction of forest so they are becoming more difficult to encounter in nature.  Just as we were about to move away a male quetzal landed in the same tree.  That made Oscars day.

I couldn’t really snap a pic because it was so far away.  If you were a photographer heading out on this trip you would be well advised to bring very long lenses.   Though if you were a nature photographer you’d already know that.

One thing that is pretty cool is if you own a small, pocket sized digital camera, you can press the lens up to the guides telescope and take some great photos.  It didn’t work for my camera….

We made our way to a long rickety hanging bridge that overlooked the tree canopy.  Somehow Oscar spotted a viper curled up on a leaf far below us.  I attached a pic at my maximum zoom.  See if you can spot the snake.  I also attached a zoomed in pic so you can kinda see it. 

We got to see all the plants that grow on the sides and tops of the trees.  All the excess weight and water has caused a few of the bigger trees to snap in the last few days.

When we got to the other side of the bridge, John asked if he could take our picture.  Right after he snapped the photo I spotted my first animal!   A giant tarantula about 2 feet from Johns left foot.  We got to observe it for a while and then we headed out of the reserve.

Here is a short clip of the tarantula…  I'm experimenting and learning so please understand.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcBBsHp5fKc

Near the entrance of the park we got to check out the Hummingbird reserve.  The people that know Sheena know that she is terrified of birds.  She can hang with Tarantulas, Snakes, Puma’s, Crocodiles, whatever…..  If she sees a pigeon she will freak the hell out. 

She has been good on this trip.  The large and colorful birds have been no problem at all.  I really thought she was making a break through.  When we got into the hummingbird reserve she just wasn’t having it.  Hundreds of birds flapping around her was to much.  She didn’t scream or run away but she did hustle into the coffee shop to politely wait for us.

Here is a clip of the hummingbirds.  I've been drinking so pardon the music...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZmrL1SRn2o 

After leaving the park we got a late lunch, saw two more rainbows, and headed back to the B&B.  The weather is awful and the power keeps shutting down.  We are in for the night.

I may try and string a couple of clips together as its 9pm and Sheena is sawing logs.

We are hoping to see the plantations and do a zip line tour tomorrow - weather permitting.  Keeping fingers crossed and ears plugged (someone Is snoring)…

Here is a short video edited together with a butcher knife.  Its got a couple clips of waterfalls and hanging bridges.  I even added a little instrumental 8-bit music cause that’s all I have on the new computer…..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2BinSSzO94
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