We woke up to find there is no coffee maker in our kitchen. What?! Ugh! Let's try the free breakfast then. It was not that good. Oh well. Let's book our guided tour for Manuel Antonio National Park then. Uh, not so fast - at this time of year you need reservations, and those reservations need to be made before 7:30 in the am, which is when the tour starts. Try again. Hmm...I heard a lot of good things about Isla Damas, so we booked an afternoon boat tour of the estuary and mangroves. $130 for the two of us - it included all transportation and lunch.
Lunch took place at a restaurant by the Quepos airport. It was good. We met all the other people in the tour group. It seemed the single people were going on the mangrove kayak tour and the couples were going on the boat tour. There was a couple from New Jersey that cracked me up. They were so typically from New Jersey, constantly bickering with each other with that accent. The guy was sweating profusely throughout the entire tour. Such characters. They were nice though.
our guide and the couple from Jersey - is he on his cell phone?!
into the mangrove forest - very cinematic
me photographing some kind of pod
jesus christ, lizard!
sticking his tongue out at us
crawling into his tree hole
hairy little fingers
the trees have so much personality
this tree hasn't fallen - it's growing like this!
The guide was very excited coming across this silky anteater sleeping in the tree. Apparently they're hard to spot, as they're a very tiny species of anteater, about the size of a tennis ball! The guide got out of the boat to get as close as he possibly could.
sleeping silky anteater
some type of eagle
A very interesting day trip. The tour was through Mangrove Safari Tours (can't find a website).
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Mangrove ecosystems are pretty fascinating. They occur where salt water meets fresh water and protect the mainland from hurricanes. (The mangroves themselves are the trees and shrubs that thrive in these salty conditions.) My husband, who's a big fan of E.O. Wilson, told me about some research Wilson did in mangrove forests in the Florida Keys. He and ecologist Robert MacArthur came up with the theory of island biogeography, which attempted to predict the number of species that would exist on a newly created island. Wilson and grad student Daniel Simberloff fumigated some of the mangrove islands with methyl bromide to get rid of all the arthropods, then they monitored its recolonization. As predicted, islands closer to the mainland recovered more quickly and the larger islands had more species at equilibrium, which is the optimum number of species it can support. (An "island" can be an actual island or it can just be one ecosystem surrounded by different ecosystems.) Findings of this theory have been applied to biological conservation. The idea is that one large region (for instance, a reserve or national park) is better than several smaller, isolated regions. This theory also supported the idea of wildlife corridors, which serve to connect one "island" or biological reserve/park to another, thereby extending the range of the animal inhabitants and increasing the species diversity. This is especially beneficial to larger animals like bears, wolves and big cats who need this larger range.
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