We arrived at drakes bay by boat, taking a secret shortcut through tangled mangrove forest, a waterway that reveals itself only once you're upon it, the roots and branches weaving closed the light before and behind the boat.  Then open sea, smashing bottoms on benches from swell to swell, cornering around rock formations, aiming towards an invisible point that becomes a line before resolving into a dirty beach. We wade ashore with our bags on our heads.

We sit on plastic porch chairs, eating ceviche and fried chicken in the heat while a shrewd chihuahua begs bones beneath the plastic table cloth.  A wilting hibiscus decorates a red vase.

We drag our melting selves back to the beach, walk along the fishing boats dripping lines and hooks, oil slick rainbows staining the sand. Over a decrepit bridge, spider webs bridging the gaps between the planks. A boy fishing from it with the spiders.  A musical bamboo grove, each spear thick as my leg, each segment yielding a different musical protest when beaten.  So tall that the bamboo curve over me when I look up, arching my neck then my back.   Over a rope bridge through a blue lagoon, more spiders dropping lines to catch flies. The whine of mosquitoes and distant speed boat engines.  Over paths marked out by shards of red clay crockery. Through the wet, heavy mist of hibiscus scent. Down concrete blocks set into mud slopes. Emerge through trees blinded by the golden afternoon light, as if preparing us for the surprise that is the secluded beach.  We are borne onto the beach blinking, unbelieving.  The entire beach seems to scuttle away from us, an illusion combined of our eyes' habituation to our constant movement suddenly ceased and the steady escape of the myriad startled hermit crabs. Warm water laps against the crescent of coarse yellow sand sandwiched between two rock cliffs.  I lay my orange sarong down. I lay down on my orange sarong laid down. A breath. But only a moment before we are off cavorting amongst the waves, handstands in paradise.

We stay too long. We race the sunset back to our hostel. We have no lights. We pick up a dog along the way, one bored by his people's slower pace. He jogs along behind us. My bag slaps rhythmically against my thigh.  Through bridges, lagoons, groves coloured by streaks of muddy sunset.   The view from the harbour pauses us, reds and blues mirrored off the calm bay.  By the time we get home, it's dark and a storm is underway.  Power outage.  The hostel owner hands white candles across the balcony. We drip wax to stand them on the sink to shower by.  Dinner is fresh fish wrapped in leaves, again by candlelight, again on a balcony, huddled under the awning with other revelers, sipping sprites bought from the market across the street.  A feeling of closeness, humanity, and optimism as the thunder cracks all around and the storm bears down.  When the worst of it passes, we follow a tip back to the beach, stumbling in the dark amongst fallen palms suddenly illuminated by distant lightening.  We wade into the water timidly, waist high as instructed, shivering against the falling rain, and wave our hands slowly...nothing.  I feel a bit foolish, but then I see it.  The water lights up in patterns, blue lights trailing our moving limbs, like the Sorcerer's Apprentice.  What delight.  What utter joy.  We whoop and laugh and splash in the dark in the blue light.

Wake excited and nervous before dawn to catch our boat to Corcovado.  The rain continues to pour, turning the sea slate grey. Waves reach out to menace the boat, tipping it this way and that. We are rewarded with the sight of a humpback whale calf and its mother. Two grey lumps amidst a grey canvas.

430am hike.  Rain stopped just in time.  Immediately saw two toads having sex, then a green tree frog, extremely shy.  Then I spotted a snake crossing the path in front of me.  Thought nothing of it.  Turns out it was a fer de lance.  Close call. 
Reached the river (the most dangerous in CR with the double whammy of bull sharks and crocodiles), saw a young tapir cross it and scoot off into the underbrush.  A mangrove hawk killed and ate a crab, smashing it open with rocks.  Crossed the river to the beach.  Tree of ten toucans and a hawk, then two pairs of scarlet macaws and a tapir's tracks.  The scarlet macaws almost went extinct, but they changed their behaviour.  The older males started raising the younger males' babies.  Now Corcovado has one of the largest families of macaws. 
Met the boat bringing breakfast and returned to camp.


We approached the resort in a long, two motored lancha, gliding around the bends of the murky waterway the same color as the tan crocodilio sunning itself on the bank, a trio of simple yellow butterflies playing about its sharp, narrow head, its tail twice as thick with muscle.  The captain cut the motors to point out animals hidden in the canopy, we crane our necks and scan the treetops with narrowed eyes.  The jungle closes in on either side of the waterway--vines and roots and epiphytes and bromeliads, like the scene from some Indiana Jones movie (Jon and I debate which, but I think we're thinking of different movies...both of which seem to feature an escape via biplane).

We're greeted at the resort by papaya umbrella'd drinks.  Borrowed some gum boots and tramped through the jungle behind our guide, a surprisingly quiet group of 20, splashing or picking (depending on one's disposition) through the sucking mud.  Saw the tent maker bat who bites the leaves broken so they hang all around in the shape of a teepee while it sleeps inside.  Crab, black hawk, howler monkey, walking palm, etc.

Obscured in dark clothes, we formed two ranks at the hind flippers of a massive momma green turtle, over a meter in length.  The guide shined an infrared light over its hind quarters.  I never saw her face.  I was part of the front five who knelt in reverence, close enough that if we were to reach out, we could catch each bright white, ping-pong sized egg as it tumbled into the nest.  Close enough to see the slime pulling into strands.  Distant lightening brightens the sky in intervals, during which we scan the beach for approaching mommas.  We stand, sit, lie in the sand as the turtle covers its nest, swimming a turtle shaped depression into the sand, all mothering instincts distilled into this one need to cover her eggs.  Powerful front flippers pummeling us with sand while the back ones pat it closed.  She crawls back to the darkened sea along the same ladder rungs from which she came.

The river washes us downstream.  Our cabin is right by a pretty energetic stream.  It's rush drumming me to sleep.   We are the only ones to float within the gorge, butterflies playing among the water sparkles, kingfishers looking up from their reflections as we pass. The occasional indigenous rope bridge overhead.