Costa Rica (Day 4: Punta Leona, Shipwrecked at Tortuga Island)

We left the wilderness of the jungle and drove another three hours to the coast, Punta Leona, Puntarenas. We had a rental house that we were going to use for the remaining duration of our stay in Costa Rica. Mario and Nilla’s boat, lovingly named after her cat, Balloo, was docked at Punta Leona. We made plans to sail to Tortuga Island, fish, and snorkel for a while. Tortuga Island, named after its turtle-like shape was expected to have white sand and clear water, so I anticipated prime snorkeling territory, but we could not have anticipated what was yet to come.

We sailed to (what we anticipated would be) a fishing hot spot, hooked fresh shrimp onto a hook, and dropped our fishing lines in the water. We didn’t have fishing poles, only a spool of fishing line with a hook attached at the end. I could feel the tug of the line rather well and caught the first of two Red Snapper. After an hour of fishing, the sun was burning down on us and we were all ready to jump in the water for some snorkeling. We turned our eyes to the horizon and headed for Tortuga Island.

Plainly put – stuff happens and trouble does not overlook you because you’re on vacation. Merely a few hundred feet from the island, the boat motor tipped and nearly fell into the water. Luckily, our navigator hooked the motor with the anchor before it fell in completely. We fished the damaged motor out of the water – we were immobile. I peered down into the water and noticed the dozens of translucent jellyfish that littered the water. We were very close to the island. As a popular tourist spot, there were a great number of people and boats around us. We hooked “Balloo” to a smaller boat that taxied us to shore. Once on the island we spent two hours pushing the boat against the ebbing currents onto shore. We tied the boat to the base of a sturdy palm tree and waited to hitch a ride on the next cruise ship back to Puntarenas.

At this point, we were a bit tired and hungry. Andrea and I went searching for coconuts on the island and found a few that were esculent. We also found a little boar (who happened to be someone’s beloved pet) and several purple/orange crabs (called Halloween crabs). There were unique birds and iguanas everywhere, generally sunbathing on the trees or strolling the coastline. We used the rocks along the coast of the island to break open the exterior, outer shell and Mario used his pocket knife to draw holes in the inner flesh of the coconut. We were all grateful for the sweet coconut water and fresh, raw coconut as we waited for a boat. Parched and hungry we were ever so happy to see the boat as it arrived. We watched Balloo fade into the shadows as we boarded and departed the island. I sat on the floorboards of the boat and started to nod off. Before I closed my eyes I shot one last picture. It’s possible the delirium had set in from the extreme sun, but that sunset was arguably the most beautiful I had ever seen.

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(Trip continued on Day 5)

NOTE: All blog posts, articles, and photographs are the intellectual and creative property of Melissa J. Koziol. Thank you for reading!

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