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New Cruiser: Expeditions

The travels of an all aluminum Land Cruiser and its owners…

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Matapalo, Costa Rica

Written by Raenelle on Thursday, December 25, 2003
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We returned to the little port town of Pto Jimenez and spent one last day with Ben and Lisa before they left for Panama. We camped at the Pto Jimenez Marina – a small property with a nice big lawn overlooking the bay – which was owned by “Captain Bob” … a wonderful 75 year old man who spent many years sailing and had many interesting tales to tell. He’s an energetic old man who loves meeting people from all over the world and is an environmentalist at heart! What a great place to stay the night! We went out for a wonderful dinner with Ben and Lisa that night – good conversation, drinks, and a last game of cards!

In the morning, we drove to the southern tip of the peninsula, Matapalo, where we camped on the beach forMahi-Mahi the next three nights! There was a small settlement of a few homes – mostly ex-Americans who had moved to Costa Rica about 10 or 12 years ago. We spent the afternoon swimming in the rough ocean and lying in the hammock. A lazy afternoon and evening overlooking the ocean and Panama in the distance. The following day we lazed around a bit more and I spent a few hours sewing fine mosquito netting onto the inside of the tent windows and doors. The stock mosquito netting that comes with the Technitop rooftop tent is not adequate for tropical or northern regions where no-see-ums and other very small biting critters are prevalent. Although we haven’t had too many problems with these bugs, we’ve had enough sleepless nights to know that we don’t want to have to deal with lack of sleep on our rapid return trip home!

In the evening, we met Andy and Terry – a wonderful couple who are expecting their first baby in a few months, and who run a tour company taking hikes into the surrounding forest and informing people on the ecology of the area. They invited us to their nearby home for a drink and great homemade cinnamon buns. They gave us some fish (mahi-mahi / dolphinfish) and convinced us to camp at the beach one more night – “Driving on Christmas Day is just not our idea of fun!” they said!

So, Christmas Day saw us relaxing on the beach for one more day. A large black dog, Chainsaw, came by our cMatapalaamp this morning and adopted us for the day! He follows us everywhere and even comes swimming in the ocean with us. We spent about an hour floating in the large swells this morning and then later on, we took Chainsaw and hiked up a river which took us to a series of beautiful waterfalls. Many were only about 6m high, so we climbed up the waterfalls in the water – the rocks were covered with calcium deposits which made them really grippy under the water! We hiked around a tall 35m waterfall and sat in some pools (with Chainsaw) above the waterfall overlooking the treetops to the ocean in the distance.

So, now we’re sitting here on the beach with scarlet macaws (the big red, blue and yellow parrots) flying overhead and screeching in the trees above us, white-faced monkeys climbing the trees above us, and the ocean in front of us. It’s hard to believe it’s all real, but it certainly is. As we sit here on the peninsula facing south, we can see Panama in the distance and there’s a whole continent beyond that. A world left to discover another day – for now, the southern tip of this peninsula …. the exact spot where we now sit ….. is the furtherest south that we will get on this trip. Tomorrow – the day after Christmas, we will turn around and head north. Tonight we will enjoy the Pacific Ocean for the last time till we hit Canada, and we’ll hope for clear skies so that we can catch a glimpse of the Southern Cross – apparantly visible from this latitude, although it’ll be low on the horizon!

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