Posted July 31, 2008 in Oxx Tales by Jim Markel
"Like Sharks?" The ominous email proclaimed in Part 1 of Jim’s Cocos Island Adventure. Now that Jim’s packed and ready to head out, here’s part 2 in the next series from Jim’s adventure travel log: Costa Rican Adventure.
Arriving in Florida, the check out dives were a good idea before heading into shark country.
After working out some equipment issues, we headed for the reef. After an uneventful first dive, we decided to catch a few rays on the boat and talk about our upcoming adventure. It didn’t take long for yours truly to start turning a little green around the gills. After giving the fish their share, we headed in for the harbor. Lunch on the beach and I felt much better.
"Get it out of your system now," Shawn remarked. "Remember, we’re heading into the Pacific Ocean." We stopped by the drug store for some supplements to our med kit….
The next day’s departure came at O Dark thirty. As we loaded our gear into the airport shuttle, our pulses quickened. The city of San Jose, Costa Rica is where our group would be assembling. We arrived to meet divers from half a dozen countries. This was going to be a very special trip. Host Wayne Hasson, owner of the Aggressor Fleet, the host for my trip, had variety of diversions lined up.
The Pacuares River, one of the finest whitewater rivers in all of world, is all the more astounding for the great variety of animals and plants along its banks. We put it in on the tropical river and you could feel the power of the water. Heading down into the first set of rapids, we braced against rolling rapids.
Jim and Shawn take a dip
As we made the line, our guide yelled like a drill instructor: "Paddle faster!"
She worked us like dogs and we were loving every minute of it. In between world class rapids and intermittent rainfall, I was taken by the absolute beauty of this unique river. While cruising through a brief flat spot, our guide pointed out a wild Toucan. Fewer than 1500 of these amazing creatures live in the wild. I felt a thrill at being able to see one. Unless we do something to save these rare places, we will lose them forever. (The river itself is threatened by hydro-electric development.)
Since it decided to rain during our planned shore lunch, we were invited to our guide’s home in the rainforest. Built entirely by hand with tropical hardwood, the little hut was an authentic native home. With lunch preparations underway, I went upstairs to the open porch and settled back in a hand hewn chair and took a snooze. After lunch, we headed back to the chilling water.
Man this chick is tough, and an excellent guide, I thought, as my shoulders burned from the paddling.
Near the end of the day, a cathedral-like rock formation rose up from the water, now slowed to a flat, smooth reflection. We piled overboard to float along side the rafts as we passed through the arching stone. Beautiful. Back into the boat! We had one more set to go….
And so it went, until the pullout stop. There we could see the ruins of the old railway destroyed during the earthquake in 1988. The jungle was slowly taking over the old rail bed and bridge; nature reclaiming its own. After drying off and a few beers, everyone boarded the bus back for San Jose.
Cheers, Jim Markel CEO
Now to face impending doom. Next in the series: Face to Face with Hammerhead Sharks in Costa Rica: Jim’s Costa Rica Adventure Part 3.