Hola chicas y chicos
Today, started with a lovingkindness meditation sending love and compassion out to all the people I know and love,… then to all sentient beings Peace and Love. I sat on the back patio and listened to the birds, frogs and other songs, saw a frog hop across the patio and a calico cat come hunting through the yard.
Then it was time for breakfast and Chase and Chris were on it so all I had to do is eat – eggs and tortilla , get dressed and packed for our drive down to Damas. Today we were going on the Chino Mangrove Monkey Tour. Not unlike the Magical Mystery Tour but with Monkeys.
The drive down to Damas was beautiful with flowering trees and plants along the way. We drove through a Palm Tree Plantation where they gather fruit to process palm oil. We passed beautiful beaches and several small towns. The traffic was not bad but we did have a couple of big trucks and farm trucks slowing us down at times.
We got to the tour office with a few minutes to spare. At first there was a little hassle as they were expecting the last payment at the location and we paid it in Jaco at the office two days earlier. They had not been updated about that and wouldn’t trust Chris’s email receipt. Finally, the called the office and confirmed that it was all paid for and we were able to get on the boats.
Our tour guide was amazing. He spoke beautiful English and Spanish fluently and was well versed in his guidance. He pointed out various plants and animals with information about them and the mangroves in both English and Spanish. He answered questions about things that weren’t quite related to the tour with his knowledge of Costa Rica.
We started out going to a little troop of monkeys that hung close to start of the tour but they were shy and would only come out on the branches of the tree. Then we cruised down the river seeing the mangrove roots and learning how the Mangrove is not a tree but a family of trees that share things such as location, roots systems etc and are more of a community of different trees living in one area. The types of roots systems is important as the levels of water rise and fall with the tides and it helps keep them from sinking in the mud.
The fish and other species use the root system for their breeding contributing to a healthy ocean and eco system. This river can have crocodiles but our guide indicated that the locals fish downstream and scare the crocs away so we probably won’t see one. Which we didn’t though we hit something on the way down pretty hard.
When we got to the wider part of the river we stopped to see some monkeys, but the tide was going out and they indicated that we would have trouble so they lured the monkeys up to the deeper channel that we rode down on with calls of Tome monkey sounds and throwing pieces of fruit into the mangroves to get them to follow.
Which they did: The females came first but they wouldn’t come on the boat because the bigger males would get upset. Only the queen (the dominant female) would ever come on the boat they said. However, when the males saw the females getting food thrown to them they would get jealous and being more bold would hop on to the boats even people.
That’s George he’s pretty curious. He was interested in my iPhone and I think he wanted it.
He did pose for a selfie with me though.
These are capuchin monkeys or white faced monkey. They have facial muscles like ours that show emotion and personality. They can be identified by their facial features and have ears that look amazingly similar to our own ears.
Well, after hanging out with the monkeys for about 40 minutes we started our trip back up river to the start of the tour. On the way our guide talked about his feeding of the monkeys and how they are careful not to over feed nor introduce any food that is foreign to the monkeys. He indicated their tour helps protect the monkeys but in the strictest sense feeding the animals at all is not a good thing. Guilt?
Recently they stopped allowing tourists to bring snacks into Manuel Antonio because they had been feeding the animals and the animals became aggressive and more demanding creating some major problems for both human and animal. He indicated and it was shown by the monkeys that this troop were gentle and polite. They didn’t try to take the banana away but will come willingly and lick the taste off of the hand of the person that gave him some.
George ate off of my hand then licked it almost caressing it gently. Our guide explained how this troop they call Scar Face’s family is about 20 or so and Scar Face has one twice the title of Gefe or Chief. Their diet is omnivorous but they love fruit which they don’t get much of at this local. They’d have to roam into another troops space to find more fruit so the fruit the guide gives them is mostly the only fruit they get. They only get aggressive if you try to touch them or grab them.
We say a Jesus Christ Lizard (Basillicus). First we saw one run across the water then we found one basking on the land.
When we got back to the tour office we were directed to an area under a tree that had a sloth with her baby hanging out on up high.
If you expand the picture you can see three toes on the baby who is just below mid line of the adult on the left of her.
Some more scenes on the river.
From here we drove back to Jaco and got some lunch at Hicaco , some groceries, gas and booze we headed back to la Casa. Once here I showered off at the outside shower and swam around in the pool for a while before coming in and going through my photos.
It’s early but I’m quite tired so I will say good night, adieu and adios mis amigos. Hasta Lluego
Master Steve with a Monkey on my back.