Diary/Photo Journal

Week of December 21, 2003

We left Tamarindo for a quick stopover in San Jose so we could get Gerson's visa into Panama.  While we were in the United States, we had checked not once, not twice, but three times - and two out of three Panamanian consulate representatives stated that Gerson needed a visa and to get the visa in Costa Rica.  So of course, Gerson gets to the consulate (which had moved to the other side of town since the publishing of our guide book) and he was told that he does not need a visa.  So, with a day wasted in San Jose and a rather large dent in our air conditioning cover (due to a gate header that got lower overnight), we were on our way south to Dominical.

Dominical is a very small surf town that can barely support one horse.  Its dirt and stone roads are virtually impassable during the rainy season and fortunately, that has kept most of the developing and speculating north Americans out of the area - for now at least.  We again found a terrific camping area just shy of the beach and Cindy slipped right in and Dave and Sherrie pitched their tent.

Where the 
clouds meet
the jungle and
various views
of Dominical

to the ocean
road in

Since Dominical is a surfing town, Dave got the urge and Gerson threw him into the water for a quickie lesson.  Within long minutes of paddling, duck-diving and wave dodging, Dave stood up and rode his first wave. 

Dave checking
out the surf
a wave
Dominical sunset
and Gerson after
his ride

We decided Dominical was where we were to spend the Christmas holiday so Sherrie and I wandered around the beach and found the necessary materials to create a Christmas wreath with a tropical twist.  We had already bought all the food needed for our holiday feast, and that included the traditional tamales on Christmas Eve.

Our tropical
au natural

Ok, yet another
sunset but this
one is on
Xmas eve
Our Christmas Eve
dinner of tamales
Check out the
candle holders -
collected from
the area around camp

Our Christmas day started with a rude awakening at 1:30 a.m. when a moderate earthquake shook me awake and had both Gerson and I scrambling out of Cindy's bunk and stumbling outside to see who the heck was messing with Cindy.  Once outside, we were informed that it was an earthquake and suddenly I felt like I was at home in California.

During the day, we walked, swam, called our loved ones and basically did that wonderful thing called "relax" and got ready for our Christmas dinner, which included smoked turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, vegetables and some shortbread for dessert.  Not too bad for being in a remote place!  However, Mother Nature was not quite through with us and decided the temperature was still too hot for Christmas and blessed us with a torrential downpour.  Of course, not knowing the camping area, we had placed ourselves on the downhill slope of the temporary river and we dubbed the moment "A River Runs Through It" because it certainly did.


A River Runs Through It
and then some

Fortunately, Dave and Sherrie
picked the high ground for their tent

The weather did not dampen our spirits, so we just waited Ma Nature out and we were left with a cooler, albeit soggier, Christmas night.  Dinner was served and Gerson carved the delicious smoked turkey.  Of course, we finished the meal in about five minutes and spent the next hour happily complaining how full we were.  Tradition!

Christmas dinner
We love and miss
everyone and wish
you all the best of
life, love, laughter
and especially

Tentement?  Tentominium?

Surfboard graveyard

Hauling water the "traditional" way

Cool dragonfly

The next day, we ventured south a staggering 12 miles to Uvita and Ballena Marine National Park.  Ballena protects a coral reef and was named for the whales that come close to shore during the winter months.  Also, there is a little island accessible at low tide that when viewed from the air, is shaped like a whale's tale. 

Bridge/Road coming
into Uvita
Look closely
and you see
the river

Cindy at
the water's

and river to
ocean view

We camped inside the park for a whopping $2 a day and we were able to park Cindy at the ocean's edge, which we found out during high tide, can be a little too close.

The changing

The high tide

would come

up to the road
that was 12'        

across to Cindy
Sunset glow

We took the opportunity to snorkel the coral reef and enjoyed swimming among a plethora of colorful fish in very comfortable water.  The highlight of my swim was when a little yellow and black striped fish, no bigger than an inch, followed me for over 100 yards.  He would swim in front of my mask or under my chin and when I would turn over in the water, he would swiftly swim around me and through my arms and legs and end up looking at me from my chin.  I actually sat in knee deep water and played with him as he would go in and out of my hands and across my stomach and around my legs.  Only when my booties were the only things left in the water (about ankle deep) did I see him scurry off to find another playmate.  The entire playtime lasted over 30 minutes.  What fun!

Of course, Gerson said something akin to a whale and its pilot fish.  Reeeaaaal funny.

This sunset was
so incredibly
beautiful -
it almost did
not seem real
We were not sure what
we wanted for dinner...
then a thought came
to us, literally!

(no chickens were
harmed for this website)

Uvita is a diverse area and our next adventure was a one-hour hike up to a nearby waterfall.  It is one of those waterfalls that have more locals enjoying the cascades than tourists.  Of course, once Dave and I saw a local scramble up the side of the waterfall and slide down its 20' length, we had to follow suit.  Dave scouted the trail and with a huge grin, he was launched over the waterfall.  I was not as agile as Dave, but after one fall into the pool and a few more slips and saves, I made it to the top and was eagerly thrust off the top of the fall.  Unfortunately, I was unknowingly screaming all the way down and the impact of the water caused my mouth to abruptly close before I could retract my tongue - fo ow I ahk a wittle funny.

Dave sliding
down the fall

In triumph
of the climb

Dave and Gerson
diving alongside
of the falls


Dave and Sherrie
and Dave diving
(Gerson dove in
just a little ahead
of time and that is
the splash you see)

A remarkable event in the day came when we were relaxing by the waterfall and a family arrived to enjoy the pool.  The family consisted of several young girls and while they were sitting on that little bench/rock to the left of the waterfall, their brother pointed out a huge and very leggy spider alongside of them.  In unison the girls fled the scene; however, being the curious person that I am, I had to see this starfish-looking arachnid. 

The spider was 12" to the ends of his many turquoise and blue legs and his gray body was only about an inch.  He had two rather large intimidating fangs and two huge black marble eyes.  So, in order to make the area safe, I figured I could nudge him along with a sizeable stick.  Well, after a few gentle prods, he lightly crawled up and across the rocks.

I still wished him a bit further out of our reach when in the blink of an eye and an intake of a breath to bellow out a scream, he launched over my head and hit the water about 5' away - never actually landing IN the water, and proceeded to "walk" on the water.  In four skips, the spider precisely landed on a rock as if to say "if I wanted to land on your head, I could have".  Needless to say, I gave that spider a wide berth when I returned to the other side of the pool.  We now call the spider the "Jesus Christ Spider" (because it walked on water, heh heh).  We were all somewhat astounded and very impressed.  What a magnificent feat, without feet!

Various shots
of us and the
Our native boy:
he smeared his
body with mud,
"painted" his face
and spiked his hair

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