A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about weather

Low-key marvels

What the camera did not capture

sunny 21 °C
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I started this memo on my first night in Costa Rica when the soft darkness of rainforest and its heavy, humid air gently enclosed me. It was one of those passing moments that just cry out for an impressionist painter or a poet. There were many such moments, low-key marvels, I call them. My non-native English won't do them justice, of course, but I'm feeling brave, so here goes!

When dusk settles on the forest pathway, hundreds of tinker bell lights flicker on and off. You can almost hear the fairies giggling.

A coconut rolls in the surf on a secluded beach, lulling you to sleep, until the tide rises to tickle your feet.

Geckoes of all sizes vanish with a flick of the bathroom light.

You feel the tinies breeze on your left shoulder. Hummingbird, he says smiling from the other side of the table. You stare at him, then over your shoulder, incredulously. I'm blessed, you think to yourself.

A whole fried red snapper seasoned in Caribbean style, served with calypso sauce and fried yuca (cassava). A glass of dark, smoky Malbec.

Hammock on every Caribbean porch. Rocking chairs up in the mountains.

There's a trail of ants carrying leaf cuttings on the pathway. It's feeding time in their fungal garden.

A very practical bit of rainforest wisdom: "hear the wind, open the umbrella".

A big, stunningly beautiful butterfly with iridescent blue wings. It's the elusive Blue Morpho. It'll fly past you, kind of dipsy-doodling, and flashing those brilliant wings. It won't stop to pose and it won't come back.

The moment you learn that the cold water pool next to the hot springs is +27 °C. Hilarious.

Out for dinner in the dark with rain pouring down, you suddenly have your flipflops sucked off your feet and end up anckle-high in the mud. And you find it amusing!

Posted by sussesimis 07:03 Archived in Costa Rica Tagged beaches animals birds food rainforest drink weather Comments (0)

Hurricane Otto - a historical first? - Updated 2016-11-24

"No, there are no hurricanes in Costa Rica". - Right.

storm 21 °C
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Otto NOAA Nov 22 2016

Otto NOAA Nov 22 2016

Now, first of all, let's make it clear that I'm not in imminent danger here. Not in the evacuation zone, not even close. I'm up in the mountains of Monteverde, at heights of 1100 meters or more. So the winds will slow down before the storm reaches us here. (Would someone call mom and tell her to calm down, please...)

That said, I'm probably going to get more rain than I bargained for. A lot more. There may be mudslides and floods, too. I'll do my best to avoid them, I promise. No reckless moves.

I'd already planned to blog about the weather: about how I thought it couldn't get cold in Costa Rica, and how I ended up putting on three layers of clothes and three blankets on last night. So I was wrong. It certainly can get cold up here in the mountains.

The night was really windy. I've been told that now is when the season here changes from rainy to windy. As there is no insulation and there are little see-though holes in the walls of my bungalow, the wind really got right though and it was freezing in there despite all the covers.

So I thought the winds yesterday and during the night were strong. Huh. Little do I know.

Today was a beautiful, sunny and carefree day. And tomorrow I'll get to visit Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Hoping for another stormless day!

***
2016-11-23 - Otto just got graded as a category 1 hurricane. It's forecasted to land either in Nigaragua or Cost Rica on Thursday. According to NOAA, a hurricane never landed in Costa Rica since they started to keep record around 1850. Otto may be a historic first. How lucky I am!

***
2016-11-24 - Otto made landfall in northern Nicaragua this afternoon as a dangerous category 2 hurricane. It's now weakened back to cat. 1. and is expected to weaken rapidly into a tropical storm. All is well here in Monteverde. We've had lots of rain throughout the Thanksgiving day, but hardly any wind yet. The forecast at the moment is that we will get some tropical storm scale winds during the night. Anyway, we are quietly confident here, or at least hopeful, that Otto will take a path slightly up north from us and will blow off its worst energy before it reaches us here in the mountains.
Otto winds 24h NOAA Nov 24 2016

Otto winds 24h NOAA Nov 24 2016

Posted by sussesimis 13:50 Archived in Costa Rica Tagged weather hurricane Comments (0)

Rainforest 24/7

This forest does not whisper

all seasons in one day 27 °C
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I'm on the Caribbean coast now, in the southwesternmost corner of Costa Rica, just a few kilometers from the Panama border. I'm staying in a small village called Punta Uva. Punta Uva means "Grape Point" and gets the name from the sea grapes (Coccoloba uvifera) growing on the rocky point sticking to the sea in front of the village. The village is made up of a few dirt roads, a pulperia (a small grocery store), a handful of local residents, a couple of restaurants, and a few small lodges.

The beaches are spectacular. You may want to check out the gallery for some photos I just uploaded.

On arrival I was blown away by the sounds of the rainforest. You hear a squeak here, a squawk there, whistles and howls, screeching, chatter, croaks and grunts, shrieks, chant, buzz, and shrils. And then some. The forest snaps, taps, clicks, and rumbles. It certainly does not whisper.

Howler monkey

Howler monkey

The forest sounds are just so intense that they overload your senses. It actually took a couple of days to really notice the beautiful butterflies and colorful birds, monkeys up in the trees, or even the tropical plants and flowers just there along the pathway.

Last night there where howler monkeys (Alouetta palliata ) just above my cabin making ungodly howling noises at 2:30 am. Maybe it was the supermoon affecting them, but they usually move around at dawn, that's just after 5 am.

We are so close to the equator here that day and night are almost as long, so it gets dark at around 5 pm. I'm usually up with the monkeys, then ready for bed by 9 pm, unless there was time in the afternoon for a little nap in the cosy hammock on the porch...

The weather here is constantly changing. On my arrival day it was raining all the way from the San Jose intl airport to Punta Uva, a journey that took over six hours due to the weather and crazy traffic. Since then we've had daily tropical showers of rain, but mostly it's been a mix of clouds and sunshine. The temperature easily reaches 30 °C but never drops below 20 °C, and due to the high humidity, the temperature feels higher too.

You'd think that being surrounded with this tropical wonderland, there'd be not much writing done. But there's a screened window with a jungle view above my desk. I'm inspired. Up to 10 pages.

Posted by sussesimis 14:34 Archived in Costa Rica Tagged beaches rainforest weather Comments (0)

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