From the National Geographic Sea Lion in Costa Rica and Panama
Jan 9, 2013 - National Geographic Sea Lion
Golfito & Casa Orquidea, Costa Rica
Today we woke up ready to admire and explore the deepness of the Golfito mangroves, in which we would get to see some of the diversity of seabirds that forage along the mud banks in order to catch a nice lunch. Some of them, like the green heron and the great egret, were eagerly looking to pluck fish and maybe some crabs around the bay rocks. A graceful great blue heron caught our eye as navigation occurred along the coast. Some iguanas were also spotted just lying on the top of the mounds. In between shades of green, brilliantly-colored yellow crowns of some of the “Gallinazo” trees shaped the mountain scenery of the Golfito area.
Still navigating on the Zodiac cruise, we could admire some of the colorful houses that stood along the shoreline. Some fishermen were silently sitting on their boats hoping to fulfill their daily tasks. Silver jacks, snappers and some sea bass are all part of what you can encounter in those shallow waters of the Pacific Coast.
As the temperature rose, people seemed to enjoy the idea of hopping out of the ship to get a good splash of water. So we weighed anchor in a nice and relaxed open sea area. It was quiet a relief since Golfito is characterized by its high humidity and temperature, all year round.
The highlight of today´s experience was visiting the Orchid Botanical Garden owned by Ron and Trudy MacAllister, a nice couple from the United States. Marvelous biodiversity was scattered within their small property. Flowering herbaceous orchids were standing at the main entrance of the garden. Roseate-shaped bromeliads claimed space at the top of strangler figs. Fruiting trees from all over the Tropics provided us with a high-nutrient meal. Within the rainforest, sudden flashes of red appeared in the sky as the gorgeous-looking scarlet macaws came into view. Suddenly the place seemed to be covered with tanagers, honeycreepers, toucans, and aracaris.
When we were about to head back to the ship, a troop of mantled howler monkeys were spotted in the distance. The strikingly loud sound and a sudden movement on branches showed their presence as they carefully chose different leaves from trees around as part of their diet. Some females and their babies moved across in a slow manner. As we were standing in front of this spectacular event we could feel a connection that bonds nature with man.