Today we were off to Monkey River so back onto the ''semi-paved'' road and south to Independence where we met Ralph. We expected a ''River Boat'' as in ''Show Boat'', but Ralph drives a small fiberglass boat that holds eight tourists, has a small bimini and a 200 horsepower Yamaha motor. As it turned out, it was the perfect vehicle for our needs. We sped along the ocean coastline through a bird sanctuary and observed some great ospreys before getting into the mangrove swamps and the jungle. The river is teeming with wildlife--and Ralph pointed out toucans, green parrots, great egrets, white eagles, herons and even a baltimore oriole! We spotted a flock of small fruit bats sleeping on a log in the river and four crocodiles-one hiding in the reeds that was close to 14 feet long. We landed on a narrow muddy bank right next to a baby croc while Ralph got out of the boat to try to find the howler monkeys in the jungle. In 25 minutes he returned for us and led us through the jungle with the mosquitos and the army ants and sure enough, above us in the upper canopy- there they were--nine monkeys and 2 babies. Very neat! They totally ignored us and we just stayed and watched them eat on leaves, interact with each other and just be monkeys. It was awesome! We stopped to have lunch in Monkey Rivertown on the trip back up the river. Back through the mangrove trees and we found a large group of manatees feeding in a grassy area. About then it started to rain and it just poured on the way back up the coast---nobody cared!! Another great day!