Thursday, December 15, 2011
The Crocodiles of Costa Rica
Ever ridden in a boat and the water is only foot or so from your hand, and you reach down and the it glide through your fingers as the boat moves along? Well that was the first thing the river guide said not to do when we boarded the river boat to go see the crocodiles along the Tarcoles River in Costa Rica. This excursion was part of our trip to go through the Panama Canal
We had traveled from the Port of Calderas for an hour and a half scuntched up in local bus to an estuary that flowed into the Tarcoles River which inturn flowed into the Pacific Ocean. Arriving there after driving along the Ocean shore for the last 15 minutes, we boarded a comfortable tour boat.
Off we went down the estuary observing nature and rust colored floating cola bottles.
It reminded us a whole lot of the artificial jungle ride we had taken numerous times at Disneyland in California. This time when they said keep your hand in the boat I listened.
Oh, I should mention that in addition to my wife that the ubiquitous Junior the Bear was also on the trip and went on the tour with us.
The estuary it seems was actually the nursery area for the crocodile hatchlings that were hatch in nest by mama crocs further up stream in a protected area. The first one we saw was about 18 inches long.
As we spied more in the mangroves along the shore they got progressively larger the closer we got to the river itself.
Here is where I mention that I have decided that Germans are my International Texans. They were always getting up walking around and leaning in front of me to block my pictures. One little lady almost took a swim with the crocs, but......
Then we turned a bend and were moving out into the river.
The river was wide and shallow and very muddy and full of crocodiles.
Yes people actually live on this river, but I noticed they kept the bushes and grass cleared off a long way from their houses and always owned a dog.
These were the big guys. People in the boat sort of squooshed in towards the middle away from the edges.
I guess maybe crocs don't like the taste of feathers?
This one croc was laying there with its mouth open letting the little shore birds pick bits of meal debris out of between its teeth. I tried to get a picture of that but the birds did it very fast as if they weren't really all that confident that they weren't on the menu.
Somehow this 10 foot croc, although half the size of the others was the scariest because he was up running around on all fours. He dispelled the feeling that these brutes no matter how large were lethargic or slow.
I kind of felt like I had traveled in time rather than space.
As we retreated up the estuary to our boat dock and souvenir shop I was glad the see the crocs shrinking back down to a more manageable size.