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I live in Brooklyn, NY and I love it here.  I came here for my career in 2009 and haven't once looked back. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Nicaragua, day 6: dolphins, tortugas and whales...

Meditation and class this morning was beautiful.  It's our last full day and night here at Casa Ola.

I wasn't sure right away what kind of day I'd want either.  Lea had invited me to come out fishing on the boat with her and Gonzalo but I also got wind that Nick, Shannan and Natalie were hiking over to Playa el Yankee, one beach to the north, to, you guessed it, surf.  I had previously wanted to go and at least see it before, one of the days that Kit took people over, but I missed my opportunity. Think that was the day I had my massage.  

Despite feeling a little lazy and being worried about missing lunch, I made up my mind to go with Lea after all.  While I sat laying out with some of the girls, it dawned on me that Lea has a waterproof camera and a Go Pro that I was hoping to use.  I grabbed two bananas to snack on and filled my canteen.  Kit, however, informed me that bringing bananas on a boat was bad luck.   I proceeded to scarf them both and then ran out to where Lea and Gonzalo were waiting with another of  Gonzo's friends (we joke that he's the mayor of San Juan del Sur because everyone in town knows him).  They stood in the surf with a small boat with an out board motor I had seen parked on the beach all week.  I did not bring my camera for this one obviously, since I knew Lea would have two.  So no pics but an amazing time.  I caught no fish but Lea caught a Jack fish which we brought back with us.   I was fishing with a traditional hand line...simply a wooden paddle with a roll of twine spooled around it.  

After a few minutes out there we even saw dolphins which we managed to get video of.  They were incredibly close to the boat too.  Gonzalo would wheel us around and head in a different direction just about every time the pelicans would swarm.  There were so many of them out there.   

As we headed back we saw Tyson waving his arms on the beach so we steered to shore to see what was up. Whales.  Whales were what was up.  He had alerted everyone else and there were three who wanted to hop in the boat to go out and see them.  So we waited.  Lea got out though (taking the camera and my water bottle and sunglasses...whoops!) and headed back, saying she'd had her fill.  I had too, almost, but I couldn't miss whales.  No matter I was missing lunch.  They would save me a plate.  

We took off to the south, once everyone was in, toward that Costa Rican mountain range you can see on the horizon in so many of my pictures.   I was so excited.  For days during meditation and class, I had gazed out at a single solitary rock that stood alone out on the water. And we were headed right for it.  The wind picked up and carried an extra straw hat that had been brought along that no one had claimed and it landed in the water.  Gonzalo quickly whipped the boat around so Shannan could reach out and grab it.   Thankfully, he kindly did the same when my hat did the same thing a few gusts later.    

As we pressed on further and further out, Gonzalo kept pointing toward the mountain range saying he was seeing them but none of us could really make them out.  He said they were about a kilometer out.  I started to notice, at this point, my hunger creeping up.  I sensed the group was really determined to see the whales, though, so I hesitated to mention my state.  Anyway, before I could get vocal about wanting to go back, something amazing happened.   Tortugas!  I thought I was seeing another dolphin but Gonzalo shouted "Tortugas!" and brought the boat closer to the first one that was near enough.  As he rode a wave and it swelled, his head came above water and his eyes trained right on us.  Shannan, who sat in the bow of the boat, leaned over and reached out, but he immediately dove out of reach and down.  

We passed a few more and kept on going further out.   Soon we came within a few hundred feet of the rock and slowed to a stop.  Gonzo pointed again to where he was seeing them and we stood in the boat, scanning the waves for them.  He must have had really great eyesight because none of us were sure we could see them.   I turned instead to study the rock, whose true shape had been revealed once we approached it closer.   A stark column of rock, with a steep angled face covered in cacti and other vine-like plants.  Two orange billed birds stood at its base right where the waves broke against it.  I heard their call, a soft whistle like sound, as they flew off and then Gonzo started the motor and we were off.  Looping around the rock, we finally turned for home.  

Fully soaked on my left side only, I soon got hit by colder waves on my right as we changed direction.   I spent the much faster return trip, scanning the shore line and the other beaches, still fascinated by the geology here.   We even passed Playa el Coco, where I galloped two days ago.  

When we alighted on the beach at Escameca, I ran up and ate right away, a bowl of seafood soup that had been set asid for me and some octopus ceviche (be jealous, it was delicious). Luckily, since Natalie, Nick and Shannan had been on the boat with me, they had yet to go over to Playa el Yankee and since they were still pretty game, I told them I would join them even though we'd be skipping class.  I really just wanted to see  the beach because I'd hear so much about it.  And it occurred to me on the way over, I'd be getting there 15 minutes from sunset.  Finally.  To watch a sunset on the beach was all I wanted all week...well that and to see howler monkeys.  But we'll get to that.   

I did not bring my iPhone yet again.  So no pics.  I really didn't take that many but sooner or later some will surface with me on a boat with a traditional hand line looking tanner than I have in a while.  But this last sunset was just for me.   

While I sat and watched it disappear behind the horizon, Natalie had a dolphin pass right by her board and Nick caught one last wave.  We hiked back in the twilight and I managed not to turn my ankle.  Class was in full swing when we arrived back so we took advantage of the empty showers and I've been chilling writing this blog waiting for Tyson to fire up the grill.  Local sirloin beef steaks tonight.  And then we go to town. Literally.  Should be a fun night. But I will be exhausted.  More tomorrow after we get settled in at the crater lake.   

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