Noticed the first crocuses in the garden today. It was actually quite warm in the sun.
This Time Last Year
Woke up at 5.30am to walk down to the lagoon at Cano Negro. The water is so low that we have to carry the boats down to the Rioo Negro; normally we can paddle. We have breakfast at the lodge and are back to get started on the river at 7.50am. The idea is to start early as this paddle can take 5 hours and we want to finish before it gets too hot.
As it turns out it doesn't get too hot today, but it's still hot enough for the caymans to be out sunbathing on the river banks. We see plenty of them, the largest being 3 metres or so.
During the paddle we plenty of iguanas and other lizards as well as many different types of birds. For some reason we don't see many monkeys. sometimes we see three different types along this river.
We stop for lunch at the second lagoon and get caught in a small shower and then continue for another houruntil the take-out at the bridge.
Luis is here to meet us and we get everything loaded for our drive to Escondido at Saint Therese.
This Time in 2007
After breakfast we were ready to paddle. Carlos had arranged a boat to take us and our canoes downstream to a small tributary of the Rio San Carlos. at the mouth of which we switched to our canoes. I went with Lee in the Old Town canoe and Carlos and Florence went in a traditional canoe (though not so traditional that it was a dug-out).
The stream was very narrow and strangely devoid of bird-life. This was probably because it was farmland on either side. The only things of interest were groups of boys paddling downstream in dugouts piled high with firewood. They were on the way to El Castillo to sell it. At one point we had to help push and pull one of these boats as it tried to get around a shallow corner.
Further on we came across a group of small boys swimming in the river who were accompanied by a pig and two piglets!
Eventually we ran out of river and so turned around and paddled downstream back to the Rio San Juan. We were too early for our rendezvous for our tow back upstream to El Castillo so we decided to paddle our way back instead. At first we paddled downstream alongside an island in the river and then turned around at its base to go back upstream. We kept close to the island at first and then ferried over to the far bank before creeping up the shore towards El Castillo.
This went quite well until I had to stop for Lee to get the sweat and suntan lotion out of her eyes and then we had to work quite hard on the last few hundred yards before we reached the hotel. I thought Carlos wasn't going to make it as Florence was hardly paddling at all.
After lunch we had a walk around town, finding the baseball stadium. Then we walked up to the castle and enjoyed the views up and down the river as well as learning something of the history of the place. We walked down the hill and stopped off for a coffee and a piece of cake.Here we met Holly - more about her tomorrow.
In the evening we again had camorones for dinner - this time with jalapeño sauce. Me, Carlos and Florence then went to a St. Valentines Dance just outside town. What is Spanish for gooseberry? I stayed for one beer only!