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Published: October 28th 2017
To our terror, our destination today was white water rafting on the Sarapiqi River. None of us had done this in recent history. We needed lots of reassurance that it was doable without mishap by sixty-something ladies.
On arrival, the rafting guide gave us a very serious safety briefing, which rather emphasized our fears. Nevertheless, we donned helmets and life-vests, tightened to fit snugly. We grasped our paddles as instructed (hand over the top), and approached the inflated raft. Even though we had imagined we would be sitting in the raft, the correct position was sitting on the side with feet anchored on the bottom. Lise and I volunteered to sit at the front, which I appreciated because it meant that my left foot was anchored under a very tight strap. After a mild warning, we were pushed into the river by the guide. Another group and a safety guide in a kayak entered the river too. If we did fall in the water, the kayaker would help keep us close to the raft.
Moving out to the current was the moment to practice all four instructions: paddle forward, paddle backward, stop, and lean (into the boat). Satisfied that
we had remembered correctly, the guide turned us downriver. Everything from then on was “in the moment”. Gentle bobbing graduated into rough bobbing and then into big wet dips and splashes! Like on a fair ride, we screamed and gasped as we hurtled through the rocks, with only enough consciousness to follow instructions. The guide manoeuvred the raft from the back, calling on us whenever more momentum was needed. Chilly water soaked us all - part of the rush!
White water excitement gave way to soothing passages of calm where we could marvel at the towering rainforest vegetation. I felt Lilliputian, surrounded by a forest of houseplants. Gigantic grasses lined the shore, almost as tall as the bamboo. The kayaker pointed out large iguanas twice, one perched in an attentive posed on a trunk close to the water and one stretched out on the limb of a tree. He also pointed out three Howler monkeys, far in the distance at the top of a sparse tree – they looked like three dots. Snowy egrets were plentiful, usually standing statuesquely in the mud flats. A few Blue Herons delighted us in flight, their blueness fully on display.
clambered out for a respite. The guides had brought pineapples to refresh us – sweet and deeply flavoured. Soon enough we clambered back in, no one trading positions, now accustomed to our roles. Although the second half was slightly less challenging (or we were more comfortable), I got a total body splash coming up out of a big dip!
Alas, this good thing came to an end. A small bus took us back to the facilities at the start. We changed into our dry clothes; as agree I bought the CD of our photos for later sharing; and, we sat on the deck for lunch. (salad, pan fried chicken, rice, stir-fried vegetables, passion fruit drink and coffee)
Driving back through the town of Sarapiqi, we stopped a cemetery. Because of the water table, mausoleums are used; the regulations I saw posted required white tiles as the finishing material. Further along, we stopped at a grocery store, where I bought the Costa Rican Lizano salsa, and Ollie bought us water and snacks.
Outside town we stopped at a pineapple plantation. Costa Rica now grows most of the world’s pineapples, and several Dole transport trucks roared by during the
day. The crown is cut from best pineapples and planted to create the next crop after about nine months. We saw a vast field of the spikey plants with fruit four to five inches long. On the dusty road, Judy noticed dozens of leaf-cutter ants demolishing a couple of huge deciduous leaves. In a rough line down a stream bank they were hauling their bits of leaf to a distant nest. (Reminded me of the movie, Antz
In the evening light, I spent an hour or more on my balcony watching the bird show again. Without the rain, the egrets seemed much more aggressive towards the cormorants and each other. Great squawks and shrieks accompanied each additional flock as they pushed their way onto the highly populated tree.
After dinner, as we walked along to our room, the moon
shone bright through the palms, accompanied by the peeps of frogs and toads.
Dinner: soursop juice, squash soup, Milanese fish, potatoes, stir-fried vegetables, Bavarian Dark beer
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