Tuesday December 13: Uvita
Fantastic Boat Ride
We got hit by a big dose of reality this morning, but more of that a bit later.
I slept pretty well, as I have been, and Amy slept lousy, as she has been.
We got up at our normal 6:30, and was down to breakfast around 7:05. They reportedly start at 7. It was your typical buffet, which Sam appreciated. The food isn't outstanding, but it gets the job done.
The plan was to meet up with our guide at 8:30, to go on a morning boat ride and look for wildlife among the mangroves.
After breakfast, Sam and then I headed up to do final preparations for the day, with Amy following a bit behind. Unfortunately for her, the hotel is built on a hill, and the restaurant is on the other side from our room and down a few stories, so she has to climb several flights of stairs to get back to the room.
A bit later, Amy showed up and told us that there was a big change of plans.
Apparently Amy had been down around the pool area, and then Danny (our guide) saw her and came over. The first thing Amy noticed was that he was wearing a mask. She commented upon it, and the guide explained that he had had a terrible night. He had a raging fever and felt terrible. It is most likely Covid, although he can't be certain. The short answer is that he is no longer our guide. He is heading back to San Jose. There is going to be a new guide, Jose. He will be arriving just after lunch.
We gave Danny his tip and saw him off. We really liked him and thought that he really went out of his way to see that we had a good trip. We are certainly going to miss him and hope that he makes out OK.
The new plan is to hang out at the hotel on our own for the morning and get lunch here. They had to scurry around to find a new guide on short notice. Jose should get here around 2 or 2:30. We should be ready when he arrives, so we can head out immediately. We will still be doing the boat ride, but it is going to be rather later in the day than we had been planning.
Amy, Sam, and I went for a walk down the driveway. We were looking for a river, reportedly at the bottom of the hill, but we had only vague directions. We met a worker, who spoke no English, but we asked him which way was the "rio", and through gestures, he indicated that we continue down the driveway and take a right.
We continued down and found the ruins of an old pool. It had clearly been unused for many years. There were lots of plants growing out of the bottom. There was some sort of slide or chute emptying into it, although whether that was a source of water or a water slide for people, I have no idea. there were benches in the water, so that people could sit in the pool and enjoy drinks. It was fairly small, however, and it looked more like historic ruins.
We continued down to where there was a small parkour course. At the edge of that there was a small dirt road. I followed it to see if it was our right turn, and found that beyond the course, it split left and right, and the left branch led to a small bridge over a stream. We had found the rio!
It wasn't that exciting, then Sam headed up, and I followed soon after. I decided to take the other fork for the way up. I thought it was the other fork at the exit of the trail that I had almost taken the previous day. That guess turned out to be correct.
When I got up to the trail exit, I decided to go back up the trail and check out the end of the long path. I wanted to see if I could find the "laguna". I went along for a while, finding the trail no better than it was the previous day.
At one point, I found an area that was maybe 6-10 feet square covered with a cross between dryish sand and coffee grounds. There were lots of small holes in it. I think it was a giant any colony.
When the trail started climbing noticeably, I called it quits, retraced my steps, and went back up to the room. Amy was expecting to take a long time going up the hill, and so I half expected to run into her despite my detour. I ended up not seeing her until I got to the room. It turns out that Amy had caught a ride with some other people staying at the hotel, so she didn't have climb the hill on foot after all.
I had noticed some people in the pool as I went by, so I suggested to Sam that we might want to check out the pool. Sam agreed, we changed, and Sam and I went down to the pool while Amy tried to catch some more sleep.
The water was cooler than at Arenal, but once you got in, it was fine. I stayed there with Sam for a while, maybe a half hour. There was a pool float (inner tube type thing) that we played with for a bit.
We hadn't put sunscreen on, because I was half expecting us to find that the water was too cold. I was afraid that if I stayed there much longer, I was going to get sunburned. I retreated to the shade of an umbrella, and then went up to the room, got my laptop, came back down, and wrote this up while Sam hung out in the pool.
Our new guide was expected in around 2 or 2:30, so we planned for a lunch at noon. That way, we would have plenty of time to be ready before he got here.
Around 11 or so, we headed up to the room, took showers, and got changed. At about 12, we went down and ordered lunch. At about 12:40, our guide showed up! He had driven down from San Jose that morning, and he made unusually good time.
We quickly finished our food, he arranged payment for it, we went up to our room, grabbed our stuff, and we headed out around 1 or just a bit later.
I wasn't sure quite what to expect for the boat ride. It turns out to be a private tour on a small pontoon boat. It ended up being a fabulous experience. It started out sunny, which made me nervous, because due to the angle of the sun, the shade from the roof was missing me, and I was concerned about sunburn. (But apparently not concerned enough to put sunscreen on. I hope I don't regret that.) A bit after we started, it clouded over, which I appreciated. Near the end, it was mostly cloudy with a few patches of sun.
We cruised up and down the river and went up into a tributary. I probably took about 700 pictures, I'm estimating. That was mostly because we would find some interesting bird, or some monkeys and I would end up taking 30-50 photos, hoping that one of them would turn out to be a good one. I hadn't worried about filling up my camera's flash card, because the camera was estimating that I had 999 photos left. It is only a 3-digit display, so all I know is that it was more than a thousand. Halfway through the boat trip, I noticed that it had dropped below 999. By the end, I had only about 530 left. That would be a lot if I had film, but not much compared to my current usage. My 64GB card lasted almost the whole trip. It might have lasted the last few days, but I didn't want to take a chance. I replaced with a 32GB card, and that should easily last the rest of the trip.
From the boat, we saw many birds, several groups of monkeys, a couple of crocodiles, and even a snake. Near the end, we saw some bright macaws, which we hadn't seen earlier. The captain was wonderful about maneuvering the boat around to give us good angles for photos.
We actually stayed out on the water until just before sunset. The light was definitely getting not-so-great for photos when we pulled back in to the dock.
We really lucked out with the weather. As we were driving back, the sun set and it got rather dark. Then we started hitting patches of rain. We were really lucky that the rain hadn't come earlier.
So in the end, the day worked out really well. Sam got a chance to play in the pool, in probably the best part of the day to do so. Sam was afraid that on the boat ride it would either be too dark, or that in the mid-afternoon the animals would be quiescent and we wouldn't see much. That didn't happen. I don't know if we would have seen more animals in the morning, but I think that we saw plenty.
On the original scheduled, we were scheduled to go out to eat somewhere else, rather than at the hotel restaurant. Our new guide asked us if we would mind eating at the hotel, because he was rather tired and he hadn't had a good lunch. We readily agreed, happy that he was able to fill in on such short notice. I'm not sure what they would have done if Danny was unable to continue and they couldn't find someone on short notice.
I finished typing this up, and soon it will be time to head down for dinner. The plan for tomorrow is to go sea kayaking in the morning, have lunch, and then go for a mellow hike. That will be our last day of activities here. On the following day, the only "activity" will be driving back to San Jose, and then the day after that we fly back to Boston (hoping that we won't run into issues with an on-coming winter storm).
Unfortunately, we found a small bird on the floor of the porch. It did not look too happy. We're guessing that it may have flown into the window and hurt itself. Even after we came back from dinner, it was still there. I would be surprised if it was there tomorrow morning.
When we went down for dinner, the weather was dry. We could hear the howler monkeys out in the forest. We got a table next to the pool, and while we ate, we could watch the rain come and go. Sam doesn't do dessert, so when she finished her main course, she went up in a very light rain.
By the time Amy and I finished our dinners and desserts, it was raining rather heavily. The way between the buildings is not covered, but they do provide communal umbrellas for guests to use. A large group left just before us, and we were concerned that they would take all of the umbrellas, but fortunately, they left one behind. I took that one, went up to reception, took two of the wet ones, came back down, gave one to Amy, and put the other one in the umbrella stand. That left one umbrella for whoever came behind us, and one each for Amy and myself.
Strangely enough, soon after we returned to the room, there was a short power failure, lasting about a second or less. That has happened two or three times before. We don't know the cause.
Today, overall, we got too much sun. Sam is bright red, both on his face and on his back. I'm slightly toasted, but nowhere near as badly as Sam. I'm not looking forward to spending a couple of hours on a kayak. Actually, it would be good if tomorrow morning was overcast.