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Costa Rico 2013

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Well, we made it after a heck of a start. Flight was supposed to leave from Norfolk at 7:10 on Thursday to Charlotte, then 2 hour layover before going to San Jose with an arrival time of 2:55. We got on the plane, doors closed, then the pilot announced there was an issue with the brakes and we should be airborne by 8:00. No problem, so to kill some time, me and one of my sons went up to the cockpit and talked to the pilot and co-pilot for about 30 minutes while the service guys looked into the brake issue. Turned out to be a leaking master cylinder, so they had to pull the plane from service, and the earliest next flight we could get was at 11:30, thus missing the connecting flight from Charlotte.

 

The BOSS did a great job of working up a new schedule for us so all we had to do was hand it to the agent at the counter. Now we go Norfolk to Charlotte to Miami and finally San Jose....with a 11:15 arrival time that night! That would normally not be that bad except we have a 3 hour drive to Arenal National Park, where we are staying the first 5 days. Thank goodness we had a good driver, as we made it to the motel by 1:45 am.

 

Short night of sleep, then up at 5:45 for the day's activities. Quick bite to eat then picked up at 7:10 for a 45 minute trip to an animal rescue center. Really, I was skeptical about this, but once we got there, it was well worth the effort. This center only has small groups of people (max of 10) tour the facility so everyone can get up close to the animals and understand the story behind why they are there and what is being done to rehabilitate and release them back to their natural environment, when possible. No kidding on this one...they have a white snouted pecary (wild boar) that was confiscated by park rangers when it was less than a year old. Normally these things are wild as hell and want no part of any human. This boar had been around humans from day one, and it acted just like your pet dog. All it wanted was attention and loved to have its sides rubbed, grunting in appreciation. Because it had been imprinted with humans at a young age, it could not be released as it would not survive, so it is kind of their poster animal.

 

Next up was the zip lines in the rain forest...emphasis on RAIN FOREST! We did it in a drizzle on the base of the volcano. We were high enough to be in clouds on some of the lines. I set up the Gopro camera and got some decent footage and will edit it when we get home. Some of the runs were over 500 meters long and 100 meters over the forest floor in some points. The best one was the line running near La Futuna Waterfall. There is a quick glimps of it in one of the videos.

 

Last event of the day was horseback riding. The boys and I have never done this...the wife did it a lot prior to meeting me. I had no clue what to expect or how to ride a horse. Well, I will now tell you, been there, done that, and have marked it off the list of things to do. Nancy was in tears laughing at us, as we were bouncing all over the place in the saddles, the damn horses would not listen to what we tried to tell them to do, all three of us had chafe burns on the inside of our thighs (note to anybody else contemplating this.....NEVER RIDE HORSES IN SHORTS).

 

Back to the motel for dinner and early bed time!

 

Day two found us on the Frio River for a tour of the wildlife. It took us 2 hours to get to the river, but the guide was excellent in that he told us about the areas we were driving through and how much agriculture exports originated from the counties we were in. Pineapples, sugar cane, oranges, and beans are the main agri products.

 

The river tour was nice. We saw wild monkeys (spider monkeys, howler monkeys, and white-faced cappacinos) in their native habitat. I now know why water skiing never caught on down here...there were caymans (crocidile relatives) everywhere in the water! Saw lots of neat birds, lizards, and those damn iguanas, too. Total length of river tour was 3 hours, so by the time we got back to the motel, it was a full day event. Cleaned up and headed into the town of Futuna to eat dinner. None of that stuff from stateside...all native cooking down here and it has been great so far.

 

I have already made some neat observations about this country, but will share them later. Time to turn in for tonight and get ready for rappelling adjacent to a water fall and visit the volcano tomorrow.

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Soak in all the sights & fun. :thumbsup: Don't worry about us here in the cooler climate and some with snow falling. :devil: Be careful not to be a canidate for a Pepto commercial. :whistle:

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VERY COOL VACATION :thumbsup: HAVE A GREAT TIME

CAYMANS MAKE GREAT SPEED BUMPS FOR JET SKIS :yahoo_rotfl:

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Oh yeah...I can see that with a jet ski!

 

Here is one of your speed bumps prepping for the day's activities:

 

P3020026_zpsc1db83ac.jpg

 

and a view down the Frio River

 

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We did rapelling alongside some waterfalls today. Unfortunately, not many good pictures. It is overcast and misty and the gopro had a difficult time adjusting to the contrast between the rainforest canopy and the clouds. Other than that, it was a great experience. Something about jumping off a 165 ft cliff and controlling your own destiny....maybe I am brain damaged!!! This afternoon we are off to the hot springs, volcano observatory, and nature hike. Then tomorrow, white water rafting and Pacific beaches....finally!

 

For all you guys up in the Great White North, no pictures that will "warm your heart" just yet....they should be showing up in another 2 days. As for what's up when in Futana, here is a few pictures.

 

First, the local food is excellent. Yes, it closely resemembles Mexican style cooking, but Bill is right...eat where the locals eat. It is relatively inexpensive and good. Here we are at one of those places. Unfortunately, everybody has a clown in the family...

 

IMAG0218_zps75d847f2.jpg

 

We are staying at the Mountain Paradise Motel. Very nice with a whirlpool outside each room, huge bedrooms, small kitchenettes, and one heck of a view out the master bedroom.

 

P3020001_zpsed840c8b.jpg

 

This is the type of weather we were zip lining in. Figured since we are in a rain forest, this is to be expected. It was still a blast, though. If you look in the right side of the picture, you can see one of the zip lines (approx 90 meters above the forest floor at the deepest part). I will post a video once we are someplace with better wifi connection.

 

P3010112_zps2978fd48.jpg

 

And finally, rappelling, what those with no common sense do in their spare time :whistle:

 

GOPR0692_zps81a5bc74.jpg

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VERY COOL SHOTS.

THERES A ZOO NEAR ME THAT HAS THE ZIP LINES GOING ALL AROUND THE ZOO THROUGH THE TREES. THEY HAVE THREE SKILL LEVELS AND A KIDS RUN.ITS LOADS OF FUN.I TOOK MY KIDS THERE THIS LAST YEAR FOR THIER BIRTHDAY. HAD A PARTY IN A PAVILION, BBQ, AND THE KIDS GOT TO ZIP LINE.

AS FAR AS THE SPEED BUMPS, I HAVE A FRIEND THAT WAS CRAZY ENOUGH TO RASE ONE IN HIS SECOND FLOOR APT. :wtf2:

AS YOU CAN SEE, IT GOT TO BIG TO HANDLE ANY MORE AND HE DONATED IT TO A ZOO. LOL HE USED TO PUT IT IN HIS BATH TUB TO LET IT SWIM AND BATH :yahoo_rotfl::wacko:

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Well, we made it after a heck of a start. Flight was supposed to leave from Norfolk at 7:10 on Thursday to Charlotte, then 2 hour layover before going to San Jose with an arrival time of 2:55. We got on the plane, doors closed, then the pilot announced there was an issue with the brakes and we should be airborne by 8:00. No problem, so to kill some time, me and one of my sons went up to the cockpit and talked to the pilot and co-pilot for about 30 minutes while the service guys looked into the brake issue. Turned out to be a leaking master cylinder, so they had to pull the plane from service, and the earliest next flight we could get was at 11:30, thus missing the connecting flight from Charlotte.

 

The BOSS did a great job of working up a new schedule for us so all we had to do was hand it to the agent at the counter. Now we go Norfolk to Charlotte to Miami and finally San Jose....with a 11:15 arrival time that night! That would normally not be that bad except we have a 3 hour drive to Arenal National Park, where we are staying the first 5 days. Thank goodness we had a good driver, as we made it to the motel by 1:45 am.

 

Short night of sleep, then up at 5:45 for the day's activities. Quick bite to eat then picked up at 7:10 for a 45 minute trip to an animal rescue center. Really, I was skeptical about this, but once we got there, it was well worth the effort. This center only has small groups of people (max of 10) tour the facility so everyone can get up close to the animals and understand the story behind why they are there and what is being done to rehabilitate and release them back to their natural environment, when possible. No kidding on this one...they have a white snouted pecary (wild boar) that was confiscated by park rangers when it was less than a year old. Normally these things are wild as hell and want no part of any human. This boar had been around humans from day one, and it acted just like your pet dog. All it wanted was attention and loved to have its sides rubbed, grunting in appreciation. Because it had been imprinted with humans at a young age, it could not be released as it would not survive, so it is kind of their poster animal.

 

Next up was the zip lines in the rain forest...emphasis on RAIN FOREST! We did it in a drizzle on the base of the volcano. We were high enough to be in clouds on some of the lines. I set up the Gopro camera and got some decent footage and will edit it when we get home. Some of the runs were over 500 meters long and 100 meters over the forest floor in some points. The best one was the line running near La Futuna Waterfall. There is a quick glimps of it in one of the videos.

 

Last event of the day was horseback riding. The boys and I have never done this...the wife did it a lot prior to meeting me. I had no clue what to expect or how to ride a horse. Well, I will now tell you, been there, done that, and have marked it off the list of things to do. Nancy was in tears laughing at us, as we were bouncing all over the place in the saddles, the damn horses would not listen to what we tried to tell them to do, all three of us had chafe burns on the inside of our thighs (note to anybody else contemplating this.....NEVER RIDE HORSES IN SHORTS).

 

Back to the motel for dinner and early bed time!

 

Day two found us on the Frio River for a tour of the wildlife. It took us 2 hours to get to the river, but the guide was excellent in that he told us about the areas we were driving through and how much agriculture exports originated from the counties we were in. Pineapples, sugar cane, oranges, and beans are the main agri products.

 

The river tour was nice. We saw wild monkeys (spider monkeys, howler monkeys, and white-faced cappacinos) in their native habitat. I now know why water skiing never caught on down here...there were caymans (crocidile relatives) everywhere in the water! Saw lots of neat birds, lizards, and those damn iguanas, too. Total length of river tour was 3 hours, so by the time we got back to the motel, it was a full day event. Cleaned up and headed into the town of Futuna to eat dinner. None of that stuff from stateside...all native cooking down here and it has been great so far.

 

I have already made some neat observations about this country, but will share them later. Time to turn in for tonight and get ready for rappelling adjacent to a water fall and visit the volcano tomorrow.

Didn't you learn anything from Lee?????? Glad you are having fun.

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Yeah...I learned a lot from him...like treat him like my brother. Listen to half of what he says and then don't believe it until I try it!!! :rofl:

 

Second part of yesterday was a trip to the Arenal volcanoe observatory. This is a national park where you get to hike out on the lower part of the lava flows from 1968 and 1992. Figures that the volcanoe stopped with the ash and lava shows 2 years ago, but it is still belching steam from some fissures at the top. It was neat walking in the new growth forest on the west side that had only started growing back in the past 15 years. Nothing could grow in the soil due to high acidity, so it was in a wait mode until the ground became more favorable for plants. Highlite of this walk was when we were leaving the site, a troop of 25-30 koati mundis crossed the walking path about 20 yards away. Also saw a 4 toed sloth that had a baby hitch-hjiking on the mother's back.

 

Final activity of the night was a stop at the Tabican hot thermal springs. They have built a very nice facility around naturally fed springs that has a water temperature around 110 degrees. Soaking in that for about an hour was great. The a nice buffet meal at the resort. I don't want to even guess what this cost me.

 

Today was a transition day. Finally heading to the coast, but first stop was white water rafting! Once we crossed over the continental divide onto the Pacific side, the clouds broke for the first time since we got here and the drizzle stopped! Thank goodness we were finally out of the rain forest. I was suprised to see the number of electricity generating windmills the country has on top of the mountains, but considering it was blowing 30-35 mph, the location is perfect. Arrived at the river put-in point and found a helmet with a gopro mount already attached....we gonna get some good videos today! Shoved off and started running small rapids right from the start.

 

Scenery along the river was fantastic. You first start in a small canyon where the walls are 10 to 15 ft high and lots of green foliage. As you progress through more falls, the walls around you end up about 50 ft high. Lots of impressive tree growth from both the river bank and canyon walls. We found a couple of trees that had long-nosed bats roosting under the trunks. You could paddle right up to the trunk and see the bats up close.

 

A little further down the river the class of rapids improved. Of course, we managed to flip our raft over on one...videos will be posted on that one as the camera was rolling at the time. Finished up the trip with lots of fresh pineapple that tastes nothing like what we get stateside; this stuff down here is a lot less acidic and the sweetness is off the charts. Believe it or not, I washed the pineapple down with the local Imperial Beer. Back to the guide office for a late lunch then a 2 hour drive to Tamarindo.

 

Thats all for now...

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Roger.............I never rode a horse in shorts! That wouldn't be called bare butt back riding. :yahoo_rotfl:

 

Dan my bro, there's an image for ya! :spell:

 

Looks like you all are have a great time! Enjoy, be safe, and keep posting. ;)

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First full day in Tamarindo...not at all what I expected (and this is a good thing). From what I heard from others and different travel books, I kinda thought this place was going to be a "touristy" kind of place. Well, from what I have seen so far, it is more like a little town whose main focus is surfing the Pacific swells and catering to the surf crowd. A little on the retro side, and a lot of ways reminds me a little like Key West in the eclectic bunch that make up the majority of the population. Little shops, restaurants, friendly locals...and literally at the end of the road! Yes, we have seen the local bums, but that is to be expected anywhere you go when in the tropics. We are still careful to not leave anything of value in the car (which you don't really need if you stay here....duhhhh).

 

Only one issue so far....the DAMN WIND! Our scuba diving trip got cancelled this morning due to the wind; 25-30 mph out of the east. It is also playing heck with the fishing trip schedule (more on this later). So, to pass the time, today was beach day! Picked up a surfboard for Bobby, so he hit the water from the get go. Swells were pretty clean at high tide. Few rocks along the beach, but I did not think anything about it. While he was surfing, I did some exploring, walking from the river inlet on one side to the rock point to the south...about a 5 mile round trip as I also went a little south of the point past Crystal Sands Condos (Roger should have a good idea where I am talking about). As the tide started to recede, more and more rocks appeared. By the time low tide this afternoon, I bet the water had dropped a good 4 to 5 feet and there were now lots of BIG ROCKS in the surfline.

 

Bobby had a blast surfing, but he did not put on nearly enough sunscreen and now looks like a cooked lobster. Nancy and I both told him to put it on prior to even leaving the room, but he thinks he is at the age that he knows everything. He is now getting real intimate with aloe gel.

 

I was hoping to share some nice pictures with you that would help the cabin fever, but there is nothing like that here! Even though it is a surfer's paradise, it is also a family oriented beach and not the high maintenance types we saw on Isla Mujeres two years ago. Even my adolescent boys were kinda looking forward to seeing more, but that will have to wait for another trip....dammit!

 

Back to the wind. It is really honking here and has kinda messed up a lot of people's plans when dealing with boating...including me! Fishing charters were cancelled yesterday and again today, so there is now a back log of people trying to get out once the weather cooperates. I started making contingency plans and had Coyote Charters set up as my fallback plan. Originally scheduled to fish on Friday, but was asked if I could re-schedule for Saturday. Since we leave on Saturday, I put the contingency plan into effect. Coyote had an opening for Thursday, so I jumped on it. Two hours later, they called to see if I could go on Wednesday instead of Thursday. No problem...I then re-scheduled my scuba diving trip for Thursday. I hope nothing else changes...about used up all my flexibility planning skills for the week! The good thing is the wind dropped down to 10-15 out of the south east late this afternoon. So hopefully I will have some pictures of sailfish, marlin, mahi, or tuna for you guys to look at tomorrow evening!

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I am not sure if I shot myself in the foot today or my expectations are a little unreal.

 

Met the panga that would shuttle us out to the boat. It was a 27 ft Mako center console with twin Johnson 115 four strokes. When we pulled up to the boat, the captain was working on one engine, replacing a coil. Uh-oh...not a great way to start the day. He finishes the repair, starts the motors, and we release from the anchorage. Coyote Charters also has a 35 ft Carolina Classic(Coyote Tres) that we followed out of the bay and headed south about 15 miles. While we were running out, I did a quick inventory of the fishing hardware; 2 Penn 50 wides, 1 Penn 20T, 1 Avet 50 wide, 1 Shimano TLD 25, and a Shimano 600 (did not catch the model name) spinning reel set up. Rods were either Penn Mariner Stand-ups, Star, or Seekers. As Bobby stated later, he doubts those rigs had seen much fresh water. Honestly, one 50 looked fairly new, the other 50 and the 20 looked ok, and both the Avet and Shimano looked like they had been through a war and suffered heavy casaulties. At least all were spooled with braid and either mono or dacron top shots.

 

We split off from the Carolina Classic; they headed out to about 10 miles off the beach and we started at about 5 miles out. Set up a 5 line spread of meat and artificials. The ballyho trolled nice; no spinners, so the captain knew how to rig it properly.

 

P3060052_zpsbae0adaa.jpg

 

We trolled due west where the Coyote Tres started working. It took us about 1.5 hours to work out to the other boat. We found 2 logs while trolling, but they were barren. Up to this point, no knockdowns. We did see some porpoises, chased a couple frigate birds, but no other signs. Since the boys had their fun meters pegged,

 

P3060056_zpsba8520e4.jpg

 

the captain decided to troll back to the coast, then set up for some in-shore fishing.

 

When we were about 2 miles off the beach, we get a solid knockdown on.........the ratty azz TLD 25! I tell Bobby to jump on it and see what he can do.

 

P3060053_zpsb30fc68f.jpg

 

Please note the shameless product placement in this photo :whistle:. Kinda like those fishing shows on tv where everybody has either a hat or shirt plugging their sponsor!

 

P3060054_zpse8fc255e.jpg

 

After about 5 minutes he gets it close to the boat and the dorsal fin breaks the surface off the starboard side. I see an 8 to 10 sickle shaped dorsal and a long, black back......TUNA!!! Guestimate was around 30 lbs. Anyway, Bobby is struggling and keeps letting slack get in the line. I am fussing at him to keep the rod tip up and crank! He fights the rig for a little while longer, then pulls the hook boat side....DAMMIT! I could tell he was not a happy camper, so I did not say anything. We reset the lines and started working the shoreline for the next 4 hours.

 

Word on the vhf was that nobody else had a bite all day...both offshore and inshore. I then asked our captain if the wind or water temps had anything to do with it, and he stated that water temps have been cooler than normal lately and the catches have been few and far between ( and not just with the Tamarindo fleet, the boats to the south were encountering the same conditions. Los Suenos, though, had been doing pretty good.) Water temp stayed at a constant 76.4 degrees. We never saw a temp break, tidal or wind rip the whole day. Around 2:00, somebody flipped on the wind switch, as it went from a relatively calm to 20 mph out of the east. Nice stuff to troll in since the wind was blowing against a swell out of the west (12-15 second period, so it was not bad). Still had to deal with spray from the boat, though, so we got a little wet.

 

Called it a day around 4:00 and headed back to the anchorage. As we were clearing the lines for the run in, I grabbed the TLD and noticed right off the bat that it cranked like it was full of rocks! I even had it lock up once or twice and the only way to release it was to back off the drag :wtf2: . Best thing for that reel was for someone to "accidentally" drop it overboard and save any future customers the grief and aggravation.

 

I did get chance to talk to one other person that had been on a panga that was working the rocks to the north, and he was able to pull out about 15 small snappers and groupers on jigs.

 

Once back on land, Bobby proceeded to rant about the POS rod and reel he was dealing with fighting the tuna. At this point, I figured it was best to let him say what was on his mind, especially since I knew it was true. When he finished, I explained to him the importance of keeping all toys and equipment in good shape. He knew that none of my reels would make it to the boat in the condition we saw today, and that added to the frustration level since this charter was recommended to me by a family at our motel that was booked to fish with the very same boat/captain later this week (he had fished with them last year, too).

 

Oh well...since the wind gods have been upset again, I think our scuba dive for tommorrow is in serious jeopardy. No problem, we can still find other things to keep us entertained in the nice, 85 degree tropical weather!

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As they say, the worst day of fishing is still better than the best day at work.

 

Good stuff, the pics bring it to life.

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Alright, guys. In an attempt to help out with the winter blues, I did manage to sneak in a few pictures for your enjoyment. The first one is not indicative of the others. As I was eating my lunch, all of a sudden the sun disappeared. Thinking the end of the world was coming in paradise, I frantically looked around for the pending calamity, then found this between me and the beach!

 

P3070004_zps35f472fa.jpg

 

No kiddin', this picture got the goofiest looks from Nancy when she saw what I was up to. I think I was able to purge this image from my brain later in the day, though.

 

Now just to set the record straight, the Canon digital with the far reaching lense somehow got left home by one of the "children", so the best I could do was with an Olympus 7000 pocket camera.

 

This one Nancy knew I was going to get a picture of before I even got the camera out. Care to guess why?? And to set the record straight, the one on the left is the object of the picture.

 

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Next up was this fine lady...

 

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And finally, this image that really is indicative of what Tamarindo is like.

 

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Funny comment about this last picture a little later.

 

After yesterday's fishing trip, I was really depressed. Was kind of hoping we could get our scuba trip in today, but the wind started at 20 out of the northeast and by noon was gusting to 30 mph. Even with this wind, there was still a decent swell out of the west coming into the bay. So, in a fit of desperation, since there was nothing else to do, I decided to end my torment by attempting to drown myself by doing stuff a 52 year old probably should not do!

 

This place is known for surfing. I have not tried surfing in 25 years, but the temptation was just too great today. Bobby rented a board the first day here, so when he came in to take a break, good old Pops decided to give it a try. The swell was a mild 3 ft, but nice right hand break. Beach has such a gradual slope that it is perfect for re-learning an old dog new tricks. Well, let me tell you, this is just like riding a bicycle...once you have done it before, the basic concept is not that hard to re-learn. The first three rides I played it safe riding on my knees. After that, I was comfortable enough to start standing with ease. Granted, I was using a 9 ft board, but for something I had not done in ages, I was very proud with the results.

 

Now lets add a little twist to this. For the last 5 weeks, I have been fighting a pinched nerve in my right shoulder blade area. Prior to coming to Costa Rico, I was going to physical therapy 3 times a week in an attempt to correct the problem. So far, not good results. This thing hurts bad enough that when I sneeze, it doubles me over in pain. Sleeping is another whole adventure...the bed is totally out of the question due to the way the shoulder rests on the bed either on my back or stomach. The only thing that works is sitting in a chair...this somehow eliminates any muscle strain on the nerve. When I get back next week, I will be asking the orthopedic doctor to do an MRI since the physical therapy has not accomplished anything.

 

Back to surfing. I am not sure if the adrenaline or what kept me from feeling any pain paddling around. Part of it could have been the cute surfer girl in the last picture was lined up to the north of me most of the time I was on the water. Yes, I could not help but steal a glance every now and then, and even managed to strike up a conversation with her during a lull in the sets. After 45 minutes, one of my kids called me in...Nancy wanted to take a walk on the beach and collect some more shells. Figured I better listen to the BOSS and keep her happy.

 

Later tonight, we walked through downtown Tamarindo (Roger should get a good chuckle out of that). Stopped by a couple surf shops and made arrangements at one to pick up a board for me tomorrow....no need for the kids to have all the fun! (may change my mind in the morning, depending on how the shoulder is feeling...sux getting old).

 

Finished up the night with a nice dinner with a sunset view over the Pacific. Could not think of a better way to spend my 21st anniversary than this

 

20130307_191631_zps3460f6c0.jpg

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WOW what a trip glad you got the quality family time together . Growing up as kids we all took a week together and always went south fishing and then PoPs and MoM would go for another week with there friends . Those memories are just like yesterday and I'm glad that we were luckily enough to have them and I'm sure your boys will remember the times you spent together as they get older too .

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Downtown Tamarindo? Yeah that's a good one!! All of a block; maybe two by now LOL!! Sorry about the wind; but that is what can happen this time of year. Congrats on #21!

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Dan, looks as though you are having a quintessential Costa Rican experience! I'm very happy for you and your family, sorry the fishing didn't go as planned (I've lived that down there for sure).

 

Thank you for making us feel like we were with you this week...a wonderful distraction from things up north. Happy Anniversary!!

 

Oh, about those bikini pics....it appears two thongs DO make a right!

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Happy Anniversary you two!!! Thanks for sharing your vacation. Are you trying to raise the bar on the bikkini pictures? Looks like I will need to get busy this summer.LOL

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Happy Anniversary you two!!! Thanks for sharing your vacation. Are you trying to raise the bar on the bikkini pictures? Looks like I will need to get busy this summer.LOL

Now thats what I've been waiting for!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanx Dan....................

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Well, have to report that this is the last day of vacation, as tomorrow is a travel day back to the cold, northern climate. Determined to not let it go to waste, I decided to go ahead and push the luck and rent a board for the "Old Man". The way the swells are here, a bigger board would be fine for me, so I decided to go with a 9 ft Robert August board with tri-fin set-up.

 

P3080031_zpse8b3cca6.jpg

 

Yeah, it looks big, but I need it for my 195 fat butt! Once I figure out how to capture a frame from a video, I have proof I actually got up on the board and rode it! Even suprised my 16 year old son that his dad could hang with him on the water! I can now lay claim to surfing in the Pacific!

 

Time for some eye candy for you guys. Trust me on this, I am not some weirdo taking these pictures for "odd" purposes, and if anybody has an issue with them, let me know and I have no problem removing them. This is honest for entertainment purposes to give you something to look forward to with warmer weather a few months away.

 

Remember that surfing is real big here; you are either on a board, carrying a board, or either watching or taking pictures of someone on a board. Lets start with the carrying the board.

 

P3080016_zpsb038531b.jpg

 

Now for the watching and taking pictures category. First up is the standard picture.

 

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Now for that new 3-D imaging requiring 2 different cameras at slightly different viewing angles.

 

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And when you forget the camera, good old watching will suffice!

 

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Time for lunch. We found a nice place on the beach that was inexpensive and had darn good pizza. Thin crust with an olive oil and garlic coating, then topped with cheese and pepperoni. Of course, to compliment the food, I had to be sure to sample the local beverages. In this case, since it was happy hour (2 fer 1), I was introduced to the twins!

 

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Finished up the afternoon with another surf session, then walking up the beach with the wife collecting shells and hunting sand dollars. Of course, the wind was blowing around 30 out of the east again, so we got a little sand blasted as we neared the river. I took the adventerous approach and waded across the river where there are much fewer people, hoping to find more unique shells, but oddly there were fewer on that side than on the south side. Headed back and joined up with the wife for the return trip back down the beach, then start the task of returning the rental boards and prepping for tomorrow.

 

I know I said I had some observations regarding Costa Rico in an earlier post and will elaborate more on them once back home. I will tell you this much, though. When we first arrived in Taramindo, I had my doubts about the place. As the days passed, the darn place kind of grows on you. Yeah, it was windy and I knew this before we got here, but that really did not spoil it for us; just gave us opportunities to do other things. I had also heard from other people that there was a slight crime issue with the local bums and "druggies" targeting the tourists. Honestly, I never saw it here or had any problems. We did not leave anything to tempt them, but still did not see anything out of the ordinary from other places we have visited. The only regret I had was that we did not have enough days in Tamarindo. I had a rental car, but we never really got to use it. If we had more days here, we definitely would have checked out some other beaches up and down the coast. I would have liked to made the drive up to Witches Rock for one day just to see if it is like what I heard in my younger days when surfing was more a part of my weekly habits. Heading south would be something on the list, too. Los Suenos would definitely see my ugly mug for a fishing trip next time we visit this area.

 

Ok...thats it for now. Reality sets in tomorrow morning when we fly out of Tamarindo airport to San Jose, then to Phildelphia, and finally back to Norfolk, VA and a 30 minute drive back home. Reality...what a concept...avoid it at all possible costs!

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Great trip Dan, Happy Anniversary!!!!

You did a great job Including us on your trip.You are a great writer :pc:

I cant imagine anyone would be insulted in any way with your pics. they are all tastfuly done. :D

Thanks for including use with your great family trip. I loved it.

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The morning started out normal. Loaded up the rental car and stopped by the rental agency to see if it was ok for me to drop the car off at Tamarindo Airport. The clerk ( really, his name is Jose) said that was fine or we could do the check in / drop off at the office and he would then follow us to the airport to pick up the car. At that point I told him I did not know where the airport was, other than what I saw on the map, and would prefer to let him lead the way. I should have known something was up when he gave me a strange look before saying ok. This should have been a warning of things to come.


We head out of town and about 5 miles up the road I see a sign saying Tamarindo Airport next left. The only thing I see in the distance is a wooden fence like you see around the areas cattle graze and a gate leading to a dirt road. The driver in front of me turns and I follow. We are met with a guard shack and a one –armed gate. Jose tells him both his car and mine were going to the airport, and he lets us in. Nancy and I are both trying to figure out where we are going while Tyler is yucking it up in the back seat saying they probably have to clear the cattle off the runway every time a plane lands. I kid you not, this was the bumpiest road we have driven on in Costa Rico yet!


About another ½ mile up the road we drive up to a metal shed roof structure open on two sides and a windsock on the other side of a fence. Jose climbs out and says welcome to the Tamarindo Airport, helps us unload our luggage, and says goodbye. All of us are still in a little amazement as the terminal operator / groundskeeper / snack shop operator pushes a cart up to collect our luggage and take us in the shed.


This has to be the correct place, I think….


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The terminal operator asks what time our flight is, and we tell him 11:15. He then asks us ‘Why so early?’ It is now 10:15 and I figured we were pushing our luck getting there only an hour early. He tells us our flight is a private charter and not one of the regularly scheduled services. (You mean this place has regular flights in and out???) I pay him the $1.50 per person departure tax and wait for our flight. By the way, we are the only people at the “airport” at this time.


To pass the time, we looked at the cattle grazing behind the terminal and all the damn iquanas running around there. I walk over to the entrance to the tarmac, and there are cow patties you have to walk around on the other side! Oh well, we only are going to be here a little while, so we make the best of it.


Around 10:45, we hear a plane approaching and the operator says it is our flight. We watch the single engine plane turn out on final approach and touch down landing into a 20 mph headwind. Yup…the wind never stops here. Nice looking plane from Paradise Airline (GA8 Airvan).


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We meet the pilot and load our luggage on board. Since Tyler has aspirations to be a pilot some day, we let him climb into the co-pilot’s seat.


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The pilot gives us the safety run down and preps for takeoff. Master power on, set throttle position, then turns ignition switch. Nothing happens. He resets all his switches then runs through his start-up cycle again, turns the switch, and nothing. At this point he tells us this is the first time this has happened to him. Oh-oh…here we go again. Flashback to the first leg of our flight down here the previous week.


He calls the dispatch and they contact a maintenance person to fly out and see what is going on and to expedite our trip back to San Jose to make our connecting flight to Philly departing at 2:55, they were using their twin engine Piper. In the meantime, the pilot continues to try to start the engine.


The pilot shuts all switches off, climbs out, and turns the prop one full revolution, climbs back in and tries again. Nothing. I am sitting directly behind the pilot looking for the voltage gauge. After the first try at starting, I found it and noticed from the get go it was reading a constant 12.5 volts, even when he attempted to engage the starter. I am muttering to Nancy that the starter solenoid has decided to stop working. Her comment to me was I don’t know what I am talking about and don’t say anything to the pilot. I tried to explain to her that if the solenoid was working, the voltage would temporarily drop down due to the draw of the starter, and this was common on all engines; boats, cars, lawnmowers. Hell, knock a screwdriver on the side of the solenoid and we would be good! Let me tell ya, the look I got from her after that little speech made me wonder if I would see my 22nd anniversary.


The Piper shows up around 12:15 and we transfer everything from the other plane into this one.


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I swear the cabin in this plane is smaller than the other plane as we had to squeeze our luggage into this. Tyler again climbs into the co-pilot seat, we get a good start on both engines, and taxi into position to take off. I get my first look down the runway and it is like…….HOLY CRAP! Broken asphalt filled in with crush and run and scattered center line markings. Pilot brings the engines up to speed, releases the brakes, and we are rolling.


Just as soon as the wheels leave the ground, that darn wind starts playing with the plane. The pilot has the control yoke cranked hard starboard to offset the wind, and it was a little bouncy, but the boys and I were doing just fine. Nancy, on the other hand, had “that look” on her face. Not to the point of needing a bag, but I could see she was not a happy camper….pay back time for that damn horse ride earlier.


As we continued the climb from the airport, I get a good view of Tamarindo.


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The best shell collecting and surfing was just south of where the river empties into the bay. At low tide we could wade across the river to the north side. Talk about night and day difference, the north side had very few people on the beach and was very desolate...you felt like you were in a different country!



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(continued from previous post)


We actually enjoyed the flight and got see a lot of the country. Tyler had a front row view of everything and was loving it. A few of the things that made an impression was flying at 6,500 ft as we passed over a mountain, and it looked like we were only 500 ft up.


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Another one was passing a vulture flying at our altitude. I swear it passed within a couple hundred feet of us. Even Tyler commented on how close it passed the plane once we landed.


One last thing was the approach to the airport. I guess with a small plane you can start your final at a higher altitude then “fly” it down to the ground with the nose pointing down. That is the airport in the upper center we are heading for touchdown.


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Seems like passenger jets use more of a glides with the nose up. Once we flared for touchdown, the ground effect was much more pronounced with the smaller plane.


Made it back in time to catch our connections, so things are back to normal again.


Thoughts on Costa Rico:


1. Don’t go to Arenal Volcano expecting to see an active volcano; that all stopped 2 years ago. You can see steam coming from some of the fissures at the top, but that is about it.

2. We did not meet one person from Costa Rico that was not friendly.

3. Zip lining is more fun when it is not raining.

4. If you visit this country, you have got to eat some pineapple, cantaloupe, and watermelon. What they grow here tastes so much better than what they export to us.

5. Speaking of exports, Costa Rico seems to have a good handle on their economy and international trade. I think 65% of their produce is exported.

6. Roads were better than I expected in the more heavily populated areas. You still have the dirt or gravel roads off the beaten path, though.

7. Getting used to understanding the conversion rate for collonas from US dollars can be confusing since they refer to everything in mils.

8. I gotta re-learn Spanish if I keep doing these kind of trips every year.

9. Imperial and Bavaria beer are the local brews and have a nice taste.

10. The coffee down there is far superior to any of the store bought crap around here.

11. If you plan on fishing, skip Tamarindo and head down to either Los Suenos or Quepos. I talked to a couple of guys in San Jose that had

just returned from Los Suenos, and in two days caught 8 sailfish. One of the days they went out was the same day we were out in the wind. They had not wind and said the ocean was like the pool….flat!


Well...back to the real world. Figures we come home when we lose an hour. Tomorrow morning is gonna be a rough one in the office!

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Dan,

Glad you are back and enjoyed the trip (for the most part?). Tamarindo is best (for fishing) Jul-maybe mid Sept. Calm seas,marlin,sails and tuna are abundant, Down south, Quepos (close to my property) and Jaco (Los Suenos) are best Mid Jan to May. They are only 100 miles apart as the crow flies but the weather is as diferent as night and day. If you think Tamarindo airport is bad see Quepos's although it is off the main road south of town. All the larger small towns are getting their own AP and there are regularly scheduled flights to them in slightly larger prop planes than your first and flown by a pilot and co-pilot.. They are about 10-12 pax capacity as I recall. The first time I went into Quepos by air, couldn't even see the runway until we turned on final approach (and yeah, lookout for the cows-they were there first!!!) Prices there have risen a great deal since we first went there in the mis 90's but it is such a beautiful country, it is worth it. If you go again, let me know and I'll put you in touch with my travel agent (she is a jewel) and you can compare prices and services with the one you used this trip. Welcome home. (what does Tyler want to fly for? military, commercial, private- It's a great life- me 21 years with the Air Force).

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Up until our flight out of Tamarindo, I was pretty sure he wanted to go commercial. Then after the flight out of Tamarindo and talking to the first pilot while waiting for the second plane, you could see his curiosity going up a notch thinking about being in a small plane. Unfortunately for him, Air Force or Navy is not an option due to his vision...without the glasses he is blind as a bat!

 

One thing for sure, though...he got to see and experience more cockpit time this vacation than any other way I can think of short of taking lessons. I need to try and line up an opportunity for him to see some more passenger jet cockpits so he has a little more variety to choose from and also let him talk to more pilots to get an understanding of the commitment and responsibility associated with flying. Any suggestions either you, Bill, or Bob have regarding this would be greatly appreciated.

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