Follow Sendero travelers on their adventures using accessible GPS.
I made it almost completely through a book on tape last night. I never slept because the rain pounded our cabin harder than I thought possible without actually floating us away. Now I understand why all these buildings are on stilts. I am told it rains 7 meters per year in this area and I am sure it rained at least a foot last night.
In the few minutes it wasn't hammering our roof, the jungle sounds were so captivating, they too kept me awake. I wished somebody could tell me what all the sounds were. At 5:30 am sharp, the howler monkeys started roaring until the rain drowned them out.
The plan for Friday was to go canoeing through some small canals off the river in search of animals like monkeys, birds and crocodiles. We might have deferred but our boys were so full of energy and wanting something active to do that we struck out on this crazy trip at the first hint of a lull in the storm. We were so optimistic that we even took off our rain gear. Wyndham and I were in a kayak, Guido and Grandma Charlotte in one canoe and Jennifer and Carson in another canoe.
At first we were crashing into each other and then headed in opposite directions. Jennifer was yelling something about the strong river current. Wyndham and I were still working out the mechanics of paddling and navigation. After all he is only ten and Carson is 12.
Eventually, we all turned out of the main river and headed up a side canal that varied in width between 40 and 10 feet. It was amusing and a little frightening as we alternately dodged stumps in the middle of the canal and got hung up in the dense overhangs on the sides, all the while wondering about crocodiles and bugs among those dense banks. According to Wyndham, the spiders were "huuge." Paddling against the current made it hard to maneuver.
After being forced to turn around by impenetrable vegetation, it was even harder going downstream because we were moving much faster with the current but we were finally paddling more in sync. We had gotten a few hundred feet ahead of the canoes when a huge roar erupted very close by and Wyndham and I nearly fell out of the kayak. I thought at first it was a crocodile although I had never heard one. At the same time, I realized the sound was coming from above and Wyndham spotted a Howler monkey family in the tree we were passing under. They started throwing things at us not to happy to have us in their territory, especially with a baby monkey in their midst. They really make a fearsome roaring sound. Once we were dislodged from the branches and further downstream, we tried mimicking their roar.howler monkey mp3
We regrouped at the mouth of the canal as the rain began to fall. Ah well, a little water wouldn't hurt us. We struck off across the river to check out a small village. By the time we got there, we might as well have stood under a shower we were so wet. When we pulled the kayak on to the dock, I discovered my folding cane was gone. It must have floated away at some point between escaping the monkeys and getting swamped by the rain. Guido handed me a paddle to use for a temporary cane and we walked a short way to the beach to feel the Caribbean. The warm water was so inviting in our drenched condition but the waves were huge and Guido said there were plenty of sharks out there.
When we finally got back to the Pachira Lodge, I added insult to injury or wet to more wet when I climbed out of the kayak on to the dock and stepped straight into the river off the other side. Good thing I didn't bring my BrailleNote on that adventure. I was however wearing my waterproof Tissot tactile watch, the first time I had put it to the test.
Back in our cabin, after a hot shower, while writing this log amongst the back drop of white noise from the incessant rain, Guido handed me a cane he fashioned from a bamboo branch. It was the right length, if not perfectly straight. It certainly was an apt souvenir of the day's adventure and I'd actually use it as there was no other place to obtain a replacement cane in Tortuguero or even Costa Rica. Pachira and vicinity sure was incredible to experience by boat-- rain or shine.
Unique GPS positions:
Crocodile sighting on river to Tortuguero, near a small island, 10, 20, 26.424 North, 83, 23, 39.33 West.
Sloth sighting on Tortuguero River, 10, 27, 42.996 North, 83, 28, 19.926 West.