Day 8 Snorkeling at Marino Ballena Nat. Park
Pura Vida Costa Rica
We board our boat for Cano island, part of the Marino Ballena National Park. To get there, we must cruise Costa Rica’s largest mangrove forest, cut by canals leading out to the Pacific. Our captain of the small boat holding 12 passengers and three crew, expertly guides the boat past the breakers and out to the small island where we don our gear for snorkeling. The tide is in, the current strong, and the warm water is rolling as we jump overboard to snorkel the reef offshore. Visibility is fair and we view the colorful tropical fish. The surge is so strong that Caesar, our guide, insists we stay near him in the water. We see a massive circling school of fish that mesmerize us with their movements. Caesar captures a puffer fish, holding it out to us underwater to view before releasing it. The boat takes us to a beach onshore where the crew prepares lunch. The grey sand beach is being pounded by waves, but some brave souls still swim, snorkel, or surf. Cano Island is a popular place for picnics, scuba, and snorkeling as evidenced by several boats anchored offshore and the large number of people on the beach.
Returning back to the mainland, Caesar fulfils his promise to show us a boa constrictor, caimans which look like small crocodiles, and sloths. He differentiates the different types of mangroves, explains how they process the salt water to survive, and the effects of the tide on their environment. Unexpectedly, our boat develops a steering problem, loses power, and then crashes into the mangroves! The crew manage to repair the problem, though twice more the malfunction occurs. With the assistance of a tool kit from another boat, repairs finally allow us to limp back to the dock where we are glad to be out of the swamp before sunset! “Pura vida!” our guide declares as we disembark, laughing at the unexpected adventure we might have had after dark with the crocodiles in the mangroves!