Costa Rica 3 (October 2004)
We have continued to enjoy Costa Rica immensely.  We stayed in Punta Leona in the Gulf of Nicoya
for two weeks.  Audrey and Gus (our Tico friends) have a beautiful and comfortable beach house in
Punta Leona.  They very graciously opened their house to us (including our buddy boat- the Millers on
Amorita).  On the weekends, we would have the pleasure of their company.   And during the week, the
gave us the keys to their house and ATV.  This was a wonderful blessing!    

Our friend, Kathy, visited us from California.  Kathy’s flight was diverted to Panama due to fog over San
Jose, Costa Rica.  Instead of arriving at 9:00 p.m., she arrived at 12:15 a.m.!!!  She had to borrow a
cab driver’s cell phone to call me to let me know that she had arrived.  Melissa (Audrey’s daughter) and
I had tried to get information on the flight from American Airlines.  Melissa spoke to a person at the
American Airlines counter twice and they didn’t have an update on the flight.  There was a good
possibility that they would stay in Panama and fly in the following morning.  American Airlines did a very
poor job of communicating to the people waiting for the flight and the passengers.    Anyway, Kathy
arrived safely and we started to have some fun.  I took Kathy to the market in San Jose, since I enjoy
markets.  This was the first time she had seen a Central American market. Audrey and Gus took Kathy
and me on a tour of Vulcan Poas and the mountain region just outside of San Jose.  Beautiful country.  
Melissa and Victor hosted Kathy and me in their comfortable home.    This was a very clean market in
comparison to many others I have seen in Mexico and Central America.  We had a good time
discussing everything—like we used to when we would bike ride to Fiesta del Mar Too in Mountain

We enjoyed having Kathy on Ace.  We didn’t go anywhere on the boat, but enjoyed the anchorage at
Punta Leona.  Kathy and I enjoyed kayaking to a beach with a waterfall and we also enjoyed kayaking
to another beach and then rock climbing to get to another beach. We were BEACHIN’!  

Lou’s birthday was October 13th.  We started celebrating his birthday the weekend before.   We went
to a beautiful hotel on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and watched the sunset.  Audrey’s mom,
Doña Maria was with us.  Then Gus showed us how they celebrate Christmas in Colombia by building
and launching three hot air balloons.  Check out our website in a few days and there will be pictures of
this—because it is just too hard to explain.

While Kathy was with us we went to a turtle beach.  After many unsuccessful attempts at locating a
turtle beach and a turtle guide—we found one!  The turtle guy (Raul) picked us up—some of us less
enthusiastic than others.  It was another case of “trust me this will be a good experience”.  Fortunately,
Lou is very kind to trust my instinct (Okay—I know what some of you are thinking—does Lou have a
choice when Mary gets something in her head?)  Picture this== we ‘re driving out to a deserted beach,
its raining and its 9 p.m. at night (Past the cruiser’s bed time of 8:30).  Our guide dumps us out at a
parking lot on a very dark and did I say RAINY beach and tells us he is going to go park the car down
the beach and he’ll meet us.  We are to follow these people and just walk down the beach, in the dark
and in the rain and look for turtle tracks.  So, we head off—getting wetter by the minute.  The people
we are to follow don’t seem very enthusiastic about us following them.  I think they were biologists who
have spent years studying turtles and we are just tourists who in their mind are just trying to check
another item off our list of what we have seen.  There is a point that I’m thinking—they are trying to
lose us.  All the time trying to keep my enthusiasm up because it is through my instigation that there
are 7 of us walking down this dark, did I mention RAINY beach.  And then, our guide shows up and
whispers to us that there is a female turtle just up the way.  Didn’t you see her tracks?  And she is
getting ready to lay her eggs.  We come up to her just as she is finishing up the hole digging and ready
to go into a trance as she lays eggs.  At first, I feel very voyeuristic as she begins to lay her eggs.  It
seems like such a personal thing to be watching.  And initially it makes me think I’m watching some
animal go to the bathroom instead of participating in viewing the circle of life.  But then you get caught
up in the miracle.  In the absolute beauty of the moment.  This beautiful creature (an endangered Olive
Ridley turtle) has been out in the ocean living her life.  When she is mated, the male gets on top of her
and holds on to her with his claws.  We’ve seen them out in the middle of the ocean.  The male
submerges the female.  And then, having to go to shore.  Shore—driven by instinct to leave the
familiarity of the ocean.  To trudge up the beach and use her flippers not for swimming, but for
digging.  She sighed as she released each egg.  And after about 10 minutes she was finished.  She
had deposited 95 eggs.  Then she very meticulously started scooping the sand back into the hole and
patting it down with her whole body.  This lasted for at least 10 more minutes.   Then she rested just a
minute and started heading back to the ocean—not looking back once.  We all got to touch her.  I felt
such respect for this turtle—even though she was just doing what comes naturally.  The biologists
gathered up the eggs and took them to the hatchery where they would be taken care of and predators
wouldn’t be able to get to them. It will take about six weeks for these eggs to hatch.   Then we had the
honor of releasing about 100 newly hatched turtles into the ocean.  We helped them head the right
direction and get into the surf.  It is very important for them to make the walk down the beach so the
females know where to return.  It was sad to think that maybe just one or two would make it to
adulthood.  And in the midst of this, it stopped raining—but we didn’t even notice.  

Emily, Martin and Lou are enjoying getting to learn how to surf.  They are taking advantage of every
opportunity.  Lou got to go surf at Playa Hermosa and he got a surfboard for his birthday.  He
compromised with something between a short board and a long board.   

I’ll update our reading list on my next installment.
Lighting a hot-air balloon made of tissue
paper on the beach at Punta Leona.  
The flame inside was huge, but
amazingly the paper did not ignite.  The
balloon rose out of sight after about 10
Amorita and Ace kids hanging out on
Amorita in Punta Leona anchorage.
Emily and Kimberly always take the
opportunity to choreograph and
perform a ballet whenever an
audience is available!
Kathy Harris, Mary, Mary (Audrey's
Mom), Gustavo, Melissa, and
Audrey, at Gus and Audrey's beach
house at Punta Leona.