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Thursday, 31 January 2013

Snorkeling with the fish!

Morning sun over the beach at Cahuta National Park

  I was awoken by Howler Monkeys first thing this morning and at 08.30, with others from the hostel, I was in a small boat half a mile out at sea. For $20, you could go snorkeling with the fish and anything else you might see, for two hours! All the equipment was provided and immediately on entering the warm Caribbean Sea, there just in front and below me, were shoals of 100's of fish! I couldn't tell you what they were and I didn't care what species they were. One of the reasons why I couldn't tell you, is because the guide didn't have a clue either! Shouting from the boat 'There's big blue ones over here' and 'Small green ones over here' Well at least he was letting us know that he knew his colours and which direction to go if we wanted to see the colours. This was an amazing experience, as I found myself floating just above the reef with all colours darting all over the shop. I had no idea that they would be this close and expected them to scatter as I approached them. I could of touched all of them! It was just like you see in the documentaries of when a diver goes to look at the sea life deep below. With your head down, swimming effortlessly, the current moved you closer and closer to the near shore and it was only when you lifted your self up that you realised how far and quick you had moved from the boat. The water was maybe three meters deep in parts and therefore you could see every nook and cranny in the rocks. I also managed to see a large lobster hiding in a hole in the reef, a spotted Conger Eel and found by another group and the highlight, a Nurse Shark on the sea floor! Missed out on two turtles though. Back on the boat and a single Eagle Ray was spotted on the surface of the water.

The boat that took us all out to the reef and the guide who lets everyone know that he's not colour blind

Just off shore Chauta National Park

Over 20 Royal Tern tolerated me as I floated close by 

Return to the hostel I came across these 2 House Wrens in heavy conflict locked together.

These beautiful dragonflies were hawking around a very small road puddle

Semi-palmated Plover, Spotted Sandpiper and this Hudsonian Whimbrel and Jesus Christ Lizard were on the nearby beaches

Green-headed Lizard? Many of these were on rocks next to the river

The creek at the national park held the Little Blue and the Boat-billed Heron. Note the female on the nest behind the 2 of the latter species

Above the hostel garden there were good numbers of both White-collard and Chimney Swift

Seen a lot of these Common Black Hawks hanging around

  In the late afternoon, I made a visit to the Chocolate Farm just up road and guess what? They didn't sell any chocolate! I only really like Chunky Kitkats anyway and they ain't got any of them or Whispas, Areos, Wine Gums, Chews, Cojack Lolly pops. So instead I had a look around their big garden which was full of wildlife. 

Yet another beautiful dragonfly near the garden pool

There were a family of Howler Monkeys moving through the trees. Were these the buggers that woke me up early this morning?

Same beach this evening

I said in the blog about Kojack's Lolly pops. I remember getting them from the paper shop with a picture of his face, hat and in his month, lolly pop, from up the hill. I also remember the beginning of this top cop TV series so well and last saw the program in the early '80s. Everyone was scared of the bald headed man, (the great late Spike Millingham wrote a funny song titled 'The Bald Headed Man') with that Lolly pop always in his mouth and not once did he choke on it. He should of used it to poke out one of the villains eyes when they resisted arrest. They had great cop shows back then. Hawaii Five O, Starsky and Hutch, and what I first thought was a program about food 'Chips' And what about The Rockford Files with James Garner? The intro sound tracks to all these cop shows were also first class. However, we had great music too and the best hit cop shows around. The Sweeny and The Professionals! Then the states went and put out some shite called Magnum and David Soul tried to sing!

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Bob Marley is god!!

Well he is here in the Caribbean! This legends great music is in your face constantly all over Costa Rica. But do you know also why this main man is a legend?
  For most people all over the world, he's known as a freedom fighter, king, legend, god and hero! For the folks who recognise the great late Robert Nasta Marley as their hero, will know that what he tried to do for Jamaican politics and the world! Marley's political interest grew and reflected itself more and more on his music. This reflected a median resistance and challenge to the system of neo-colonialism. Marley did not mimic the master at the core of the plantation culture rather he sought to create a separate identity for blacks.
  The '70s and '80s brought with it a great sence of uncrtainty as political tensions between the two rival political parties often resulted in deaths and a growing sence of distrust for political parties and the game of 'politicks' Marley's message of solace to the oppressed cannot negate the wider scope and impact of his messages that of both a deep sence of self-realisation and self-actualisation which was needed. This was crucial period in Jamaican politics. The cities ghettos had been torn apart by gun battles between Marshall and Massop's quasi-political street gangs (Massop's supporting Seaga's Jamaica Labour party and Marshall favouring Manley's ruling Peoples Nation party) However, the two sides had declared an uneasy truce and the Peace Concert was planned to celebrate the ending of the killings. On stage at the 'One Love Peace Concert' Marley held the hands of both political leaders, the Prime Minster, Micheal Manning and opposition leader, Edward Seaga, and locked them both together above his head in front of the 80,000 crowd. At the same time 'Zap Power' who were covering for 'The Wailers' because the Wailers had gone missing or were in hiding, carried on playing.
  The reason why Bob Marley's band was hiding, is because, two days before the concert, Marley, his wife and Don Taylor were shot by an unknown gunman inside Marley's home. They were all wounded and later made full recoveries. The shooting was thought to have been politically motivated, as many felt the concert was really a support rally for Manley. Marley was wounded in the chest and arm, but still continued with the planned concert. When asked why continue? 'The people who are trying to make this world worse aren't taking a day off. How can I!?
  Tell me, how many stars do you know that would go on stage after being shot, knowing that it could happen again? If this is what smoking weed did to Bob Marley, then perhaps all of us should try it?

So next time you hear this reggae star on the radio, just think what he tried to do for peace in Jamaica.

  Recently, a major study has discovered that teenagers who smoked weed regularly could be permanently damaging the development of their brain and are likely to end up with significantly lower IQ scores than teenagers who do not use an illicit drug. After these results, David Cameron told teenagers, 'if your going to smoke dope, do it at a later age' Very good advice from someone who smoked pot from the age of 15 and look what it did to him? Maybe he should of smoked more pot?

Bob Marley bringing the two leaders together in the hope of peace on the streets of Jamaica

  On the streets of Cahuta on the south east Caribbean coast and that's where I am now, you are likely to encounter someone shouting 'Hey brother, da yeah whats marijuana?' The best thing to do is stay clear and drift slowly away in the other direction. In Costa Rica you've got to be careful what your doing, especially in this area. I've been told that people here will stab or kill to get hold of my optical equipment. Just outside Limon, I stopped for a look around on the side of the road. A couple pulled over and told me to get out of here! 'Go! Go!' In their best English. I had just made it to the car when this black guy in car shouted at me 'What you doing here bro? Dona yeah know? Thief's up and down this road man, waiting for fools like you!' I got the message and was out of there. Back in Cahuta and I went to see an awesome band at the Reggae Bar' Here you can catch a whiff of marijuana from joints being smoked all over the shop. It should be called the 'Stoned Bar' because that the way the folks come across. Even the dogs look stoned! Everyone's high and having a good time and there's no harm done.

Just like Ben Harper says in his song 'Burn One Down'

Let us burn one
from end to end
and pass it over
to me my friend
burn it long, we'll burn it slow
to light me up before I go

if you don't like my fire
then don't come around
cause I'm gonna burn one down
yes I'm gonna burn one down

my choice is what I choose to do
and if I'm causing no harm
it shouldn't bother you
your choice is who you choose to be
and if your causin' no harm
then you're alright with me

if you don't like my fire
then don't come around
cause I'm gonna burn one down
yes I'm gonna burn one down

herb the gift from the earth
and what's from the earth
is of the greatest worth
so before you knock it try it first
you'll see it's a blessing
and its not a curse

if you don't like my fire
then don't come around
cause I'm gonna burn one down
yes I'm gonna burn one down

I'm staying at a hostel and a 5 minute walk from here and your in Cahuta National Park. On crossing over a creek to the entrance of the park, there were single Tricoloured, Green, Little Blue Heron and 4 Boat-billed Night Heron Heron, including a female on a nest, and 2 Caiman. Following the creek I came across male White-collard Manakins and shortly afterwards, male Chestnut-backed Antbird in the forest. Also there were Ovenbird, Wood Thrush and Northern Waterthrush. All three species have been blowing across the Atlantic and ended up at home on Scilly! The canopy of the forest held, Keel-billed Toucan, Fiery-billed Aracari and Montezuma Oropendola. I joined the main path and in a three hour period that I was there, I got 2 Yellow Vipers, 1 Vine Snake, 5 Racoons, Howler and White-cheeked Monkey, 5 species of lizards and in a line on a branch, 5 bats of some kind?

small town Cahuta

Both Green Iguana and Iguanas were widespread in the park as was male Emerald Basilick Lizards. In town a fella shouted 'Maijuana?' I shouted back 'Thanks, but I've had lots of Iguanas in the park' He looked at me in a strange way.

Green and Tricoloured Heron and 2 Caiman were sharing the creek together

2 male White-collard Manakin  were located by there loud electric type snap sound

While 2 male Chestnut-backed Antbirds sounded like quiet elephants

This Ovenbird didn't show as well as the indervidual that graced Scilly in October '04

Up to 2 Yellow Vipers and a single Vine Snake were spotted in the park

I've played music from his two sons 'Ziggy and Stephen' on the blog in the past, but never the main man himself. That's because everyone knows his amazing music. Here is the clip of the two political leaders holding hands above Marley. At the same time he says 'Love, prosperity, one and for all in front of the 80,000  rastafarian's who were watching this historical event happen through their clouds of marijuana. However, the peace never lasted and nothing changed.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

My first snake of the trip!

Male Orchard Oriole

  You only have to step out of the hostel  to notice the numbers of birds and species that are on offer. What would take someone 40 minutes to walk where I went each morning, 20 minutes there and 20 minutes back, took me over 2 hours! There was so much going on I didn't know which way to turn. I just stayed rooted to the spot most of the time and waited until I had to move on. Altogether I had a total of over 70 species and everyone of them showed very well. I don't know if this is good for this area, but when the 2 hours was up, I could still see the hostel when I turned around and started returning back for breakfast. For $3, breakfast was different every morning and first class!

Variable Seedeater

Smooth-billed Ani

Golden-hooded Tanager

Male Yellow Warbler in the garden

Streaked-headed Woodcreeper

Red-crowned Woodpecker

While eating breakfast, 2 Crested Caracara and Yellow-headed Caracara were in the fields just across the track from the hostel

A few of the other birds seen included Male Yellow-crowned Euphonia, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Grey-crowned Yellowthroat, Ochard Oriole, Yellow-bellied and Blue Seedeater, Blue-black Grassquit, Black-striped Sparrow and Bananaquit

Sunday night American football AFC championship match between Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots Ravens bear the Pats handily outside at the hostel.

While watching the football Tree Frogs and Geckos are busy trying to keep the mossies down

The hostel from where I took a lot of my  pics from

Part of Quepos Town

  The great thing about staying in a hostel is that meet some very interesting people. Two guys there told me about a waterfall that you jump into. So in the early afternoon we all made the short drive to Jungle Creek. After a 30 minute walk following the creek through semi-jungle, we finally made it to the waterfall and here we had a cool time.

I spotted this Green Parrot Snake just off the path that we were on leading to the waterfall

Michael Davis Pratt (born March 10, 1957) known professionally as Jim White, is a Southern American singer-songwriter and guitarist. White's music can be loosely described as alternative country, but veers off in different, sometimes experimental directions with occasional nods to Tom Waits and the literary narratives of Flannery O'ConnorCormac McCarthy, and Harry Crews. Searching for the Wrong-eyed Jesus is a 2004 BBC documentary, directed by Andrew Douglas, in which Jim White describes his idea of the rural South. The film features performances by like-minded musicians such as The Handsome Family, David Eugene Edwards of 16 Horsepower and Johnny Dowd