Our first 3-day sea kayak tour sleeping on different island in expedition hammocks turned out a great success.
The happy group of 4 Norwegians from Tromsø, had varied kayak experience. Nina had just kayaked two times before, while Ellen Marie and Oddvar own their own kayaks and go out a lot. This did not turn out to be any problem at all as Nina seems to be the born kayaker and had no problems keeping up with the rest.
Day 1 (16 km):
After a good breakfast and an hour of prepping and packing the kayaks we set out on the beautiful calm gulf water. Already along the shore here at Punta Cuchillo we spotted a lot of bird and the cameras and binoculars were actively in use.
We stopped for a quick swim and a bit of snorkeling at Isla San Pedro, before we headed out into the “open sea”. We enjoyed being out in the open water watching the islands and shoreline on one side and the horizon on the other. We spotted one turtle on our way to our lunch spot at Playa Quesera in Curu National Refuge. The beach was as always stunning, and we had a great rest with lots of swimming.
As we continued on the west side of Isla Alcatraz (or Isla Tortugo) the afternoon breeze had set in and we got a bit of a work out in the choppy water with head wind. Still we made it easily through the “arch’ – a hole through a small island. We arrived at the day’s final destination at Isla Tortuga in the late afternoon. Everybody immediately threw themselves in the beautiful blue water and even snorkeled a bit. It was still some people on the beach when we arrived, but soon we had the beach all to ourselves.
The hammock camp was quickly set up and we soon figured that the kayaks came in handy for tying up the side straps, as the pegs don’t get a grip in the beach sand.
Just after sunset we were ready for dinner which was served at the workers kitchen. We got a good meal and a funny experience of the local Tico culture.
Everybody was curious about how much sleep we would get sleeping in hammocks. We were dead tired so we hit the sack before 9pm, and all of us were fast asleep within a few minutes.
Day 2 (17 km):
After a very good sleep in the hammocks they all woke up early and well rested and took a morning dip already before sunrise.
There are some nice trails on Isla Tortuga and they all decided to go for an hour morning walk to watch the view and do some birding.
After a typical Tico breakfast (Gallo Pinto) we took down the hammock camp and headed out one the water again. Again the Pacific Ocean proved why it got it’s name as it was dead calm. The visibility in the water was really good so we could spot a lot of sealife just paddling along the shore on the small island in front of Isla Tortuga.
On our way to Isla Negritos we spotted a nice size turtle that poked it’s head above the water a couple of times before it dove. We still had the current with us as we paddled through the Shark mouth (one of our favorite Rooster fishing places).
We landed on the small white sand beach in the Shark mouth for some lunch, and the Spider monkeys made their appearance immediately as we got there. They were in total 6 monkeys, and a mom with her baby and a pregnant one came all the way up to us, while a few youngsters keep playing in the background. They ran after each other in something that looked like a monkey tag game. We had to take our lunch wraps with us and stand in the water and eat, as they got very interested in our food.
The water was crystal clear so we had a great time snorkeling. We swam with huge schools of tiny sardines and saw a lot of trigger and puffer fish amongst others.
As the group from Tromsø are birdwatchers we had to make it to Islas Carretos that are 5 tiny islands with a lot of brown pelicans and frigate birds, but on our way there we got distracted by lots of pelicans diving into the water next to Isla Garrobo and made our way over there instead. It turned out to be a good move as the tide was perfect for paddling through the hole in the wall there, and we spotted a lot of Black Ctenocaurs on the island.
The current had turned and was carrying us through the passage between Isla Cedros and La Mona. We made a pit stop for and cooked up some coffee at Gonzalos beach, and of course a swim ;o)
The last stretch of the day was on the north side of Isla Cedros where we saw a lot of birds and even a couple of Kingfishers. We had a day packed with experiences and everybody was very happy to land on Isla Jesucita. However I had planned for more too happen, so after an excellent dinner made by Alex and his wife we took the kayaks out again and went night kayaking. The experience of biolumecence in the water is unique, and only Nina had seen it before so they were all thrilled.
Again we crawled into our hammock early and had a good night sleep. These hammocks sleep surprisingly well.
Day 3 (17 km): On our last day we got up before sunrise. We had to get going by 6am to make it to the mangroves in time as the full tide was at 7am. It is very shallow in the mangroves, so when the tide starts going out it is not possible to get in there. We got off ½ hour after schedule, but still we had two good hours of kayaking up the Rio Grande, and when we came back out the water level was still high enough for us to kayak along the mangrove forest for another hour and a half.
The whole group just loved this part of our kayak adventure as they are avid bird lovers. Our first sight getting into the mangroves was a group of White Ibis in the trees, and amongst them 3 Roseate Spoonbills. As we entered into the river mouth we immediately heard the Boat billed heron squeak and we found them hiding amongst the leaves in the mangrove trees. Up the river we saw two Ospreys, a black headed trogon, a stunningly red Summer Tananger, a Tiger Heron and of course a lot of blue and white herons. The Jesus Christ lizards also came out and ran on the water for us a couple of times.
As the tide got lower we had to leave the mangroves and head for deeper water. We looped around to Playa Lorenzo for a quick dip as we were overheated after all the hours in the mangroves. Our lunch spot for the day was Islas Pajaros (the bird island). It was not as many birds as sometimes here this time, but we were surprised to find a small Hummingbird out there as the island are very barren and with no flowers whatsoever.
We spent some relaxing time on the tidal beach here, before we headed towards home. Our last stop was at the graveyard beach at Isla Jesucita. We got a bit of head wind on the last little stretch home, but it was only nice as the sun was baking.
We landed on the Bahia Rica beach after 3 days packed with impression and experiences. All in all we logged about 50 km.