Category Archives: Kaia

Corcovado National Park: wild life and sore feet

We were sitting in the common room at our hostel in San Jose, checking the bus schedule for San Jose-Drake Bay – we were headed to Corcovado National Park on the SW coast of Costa Rica and would enter from the north in Drake Bay.  Seemed like the only bus was at 7 am and got in at 3 and then there was a half hour taxi ride and a 2 hour boat ride to Drake Bay. The bus would go through Quepos, which is not very direct. We were exhausted from all the early mornings from Rara Avis and Tortuguero and were really not excited for the next day. My dad decided to check the plane schedule, and the flight left SJ at 7 am and arrived in Drake Bay at 8 am. Even better, the next day was my mom’s birthday. So happy birthday Mommy… (we sang to her on the plane!)

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Corcovado is in red. Drake Bay is just to the north. Thanks somebody from Germany for this map.

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We had a private airplane- my dad was feeling pretty bad about the carbon until we arrived and there were a half-dozen people getting on for the flight back to SJ
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The first part of the flight was over mountains...

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...And the next part was over the coast! See how the rivers drop their sediment into the ocean

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On arrival to Drake Bay, the Taxi driver told us that the 8 km ride from the airport (long gravel landing strip and a bathroom whose toilet has no seat) to the town would cost 8 dollars each. Being stubborn, and thinking there would be other options, we decided to start walking, only to realise that it was the only taxi (and possibly the only 4-wheeled vehicle) in town! Jake and I could hardly walk 400 m at a time with the huge packs on our backs. Then we got to a river we had to cross. Some locals showed us the shallowest place to walk through it. As we crossed it, the taxi drove by us in the opposite direction. It looked like a pickup truck with a raised back that had some seats in it. It is like that because of the river that flows across the road. He told us that he would be back in an hour. So my dad and I started walking there, and Jake and my mom stayed and waited for the taxi with the
packs. When we arrived in the small village we went our our hotel “Martina’s Place”, where we met our Guide for Corcovado, Rodolfo. The next morning, we would board a boat at 6 am that would bring us south along the coast to a ranger station in the park. But until then we were free, so we went to the beach and to the “Heladeria” (ice cream shop) for my mom’s birthday.

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On our way to Sirena, Corcovado National Park, with our guide Rodolfo
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After a very wavy two-hour boat ride, We have arrived!
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Some wealthy tourists arrive here by airplane. Even the Drake Bay airport was more sophisticated than this!

The Ranger station had a lot of services: kitchen, WiFi, covered area to pitch your tent, Restaurant, rooms for rent, and my dad got excited when he saw Solar Panels! We brought and cooked our own food and slept in our tent.

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The Sirena Ranger Station

Our Guide Rodolpho was fantastic. He was really committed to helping us find all sorts of wildlife, and would take us on long hikes and pause all along the way to listen and look up, down, and all around. The day we arrived we hiked 5 hours then went out again before dark for 2 more – we were trying to find a tapir. Second day the hike started at 4:15AM – 30 minutes before there was any light – we were back 4 hours later. After eating, we set out for another 6 hour hike .. the last 2 hours focused on finding the elusive tapir.
Corcovado is known as Costa Rica’s most important park. National Geographic says it is the most biologically diverse place on earth. Here’s some of the stuff we saw along the way:

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Collared Peccary. These are friendly, but the White Lipped Peccary is the most dangerous animal in Central America!
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Scarlet Macaw

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Spectacled owl
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Spider Monkeys use their tails as a 5th limb

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White Faced Capuchin Monkey

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Toucan

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The locals call this the "Gringo Tree" because it's "always red and peeling"
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I wonder if Army Camo was inspired by this!
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Coati:mundi the males are solitary, but the females live in huge groups. We saw three big coati groups!
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A cool river swim mid-way through the hike was much appreciated. A chance to cool off, take off those rubber boots and massage the feet!

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My dad liked to record the sound of the Howler Monkeys with our video camera. He's getting a photo of the tarantula here

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Rodolfo carried around his big scope everywhere, but it sure came in handy!

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This picture was taken through the eye piece of the scope. Look at the resolution!
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Rodolfo was amazing at spotting the animals and identifying them

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There are two kinds of sloths in Corcovado. We posted a photo of the 3 toed slot at Monteverde. Here we found the 5 toed sloth.

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This Puma track was not here an hour ago! Sadly, we didn't see the cat itself.

Cool stuff, eh? We were definitely rewarded for all our hiking. And what was day 3? Oh, yeah, we hiked 20 kilometres out of the park. With rubber boots on. We had to go across two rivers, and much of the hike was on sand beach in the heat of the day. Ready, Set, Go.

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Crossing Rio Claro

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"Just a bit sore"

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Coconut break!

Part way through, Rodolfo showed us a cave with little bats in it!

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We left at 7:30 am. We finished hiking at 3 pm. The last 4 kilometres, I thought I was going to faint. You should have seen the joy on my face when Rodolfo said “200 metres left!”. When we got to the end, all I wanted to do was go out for ice cream, put my feet up, and relax. Guess what we got to do instead? Squish ourselves into the back of a truck for two hours as we got driven back to Puerto Jimenez on bumpy, bumpy roads.

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Our reward of hiking 20 kilometres!

That car had no ventilation at the back, so imagine how happy we were to get out, shower, have some fish dinner and ice cream, and go to bed! Even better, our room had three double beds so Jake and I got our own. 🙂
Kaia

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Playa Manuel Antonio

On etait tellement occupes a avoir des aventures que nous sommes en retard avec notre blog. Regarde pour plus d’entres dans a peu pres une semaine. La journee ici s’est passe le 17 septembre.
Quand on etait a Quepos en train de faire notre certification de SCUBA, on etait pas loin du Parc National Manuel Antonio, sur la cote Pacifique de Costa Rica. Alors, pendant la journee que les vagues etaient trop grands pour la plonge de SCUBA, nous sommes alles. Ce parc est la plus petite dans le pays, seulment 4 km carres, mais recoit la deuxieme plus grands nombre de visiteurs. On avait entendu que les animeaux etaient tres domestiques a cause de ca, et qu’ils volent ta bouffe quand tu paies pas attention.
Nous sommes alles a deux des trois plages MAGNIFIQUES. Sable parfait, eau de 30 degrees Celcius. Les singes n’etaient pas aggresifs, seulment les ratons laveurs! On a aussi vu beaucoup d’animeaux comme des lezards, singes, et meme un Paresseux avec un bebe. Nous nous sommes amuses… (et brules!)
Kaia

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L'Ocean Pacifique
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Cliquez pour agrandir la photo- vous verrez un bebe!
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Je suis un parresseux...
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Nous aimons les vagues

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Les singes "White Faced Capuchin" s'amusent dans l'arbre
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L'autre belle plage. Personne n'etaient la
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Ahhh...
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Aujourd'hui, le 27 septembre, c'est son 44iem anniversaire. Bonne Fete, je t'aime beaucoup!!

Just back from our little Oregon Trip!

On Wednesday we left Seattle for Portland, Oregon.  When we got there, we went to an outdoor store to get rain jackets, air mattresses and stuff, bought some greasy pizza that sort of made me nauseous, drove around for an hour (while getting lost) to find a campsite, and then went to sleep. Fun.

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Portland, Oregon

Thursday, we woke up early and drove 40 minutes to get back to Portland, where we rented bikes. Portland has done a lot of stuff to get people riding their bikes. There are bike lanes on almost every street, bike parking everywhere, and a lot of other cool stuff. We also met with Mia Birk who was the cycling coordinator for Portland for so many years and we interviewed her.  It was really interesting.  Then, we took the train to the top of the mountain with our bikes and rode down. It was so much fun!

That night we slept in a nice little guest house. And in the morning we rode back to the bike renting place. Friday, we visited some people we know and also a science museum called OMSI. There we saw the movie Flight of the Butterflies about the migration of the monarchs. It was so cool! We also saw exhibits about sustainability, and in one room there was a display of each week of the development of a fetus! It was an awesome museum.

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That night we drove to the Oregon coast and camped near Lincoln City. And Saturday and Sunday were spent hiking to beaches, seeing huge trees (and I mean HUGE), and watching people surf in the freezing Pacific Ocean. Without a wetsuit, our legs were numb after 20 seconds. After 30+ temperatures in Portland, I was so cold wearing my fleece AND rain jacket on the coast. But I must say the Oregon coast is beautiful.

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read my T-shirt …”I am the Lorax and I speak for the trees”

I think I’ve covered a lot of the school subjects so far- let’s see,

  • Gym (riding a bike around Portland)
  • Oral communication (interviewing Mia Birk)
  • Geography (finding my way around Portland)
  • Science (going to the OMSI)
  • Math (my mother)
  • Writing (this blog entry)

We had a great little trip to Oregon. Can’t wait for Costa Rica on Thursday!

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looking over Cape Lookout, wouldn’t want to fall down there!

 

Hope everyone is having fun back at school 🙂

Kaia

September 8th

1 day to go!

Expand this map to see where we're off to.  Clearly my photoshop skill needs some work!
Expand this map to see where we’re off to. Clearly my photoshop skill needs some work!

1 year. 1 family. 1 world. Kaia named our blog.

We fly out of Toronto in 2 days time. Big journey ahead … here we go!
If you haven’t already done so, please follow the “About” link above right to understand who we are and what our trip is about.
It was five years ago to the day that I wrote the first entry for our year in Namibia blog. I was at our cottage then, too, just a day or two away from the flight overseas. I was filled with excitement and apprehension. Excited about what I expected and hoped would play out in our year away, and a little apprehensive about the 95% of the year that I really had no idea about. That’s pretty much where I’m at now. I have a broad sense of some places and activities, but honestly, I really have no idea what’s going to unfold.
We were checking out our masks and snorkels in the lake today. We plan to certify for SCUBA in Costa Rica in 2 weeks time (we’ve never SCUBA’d before. Excited about that? For sure … but so many unknowns .. and some anxiety for all four of us.
I do want to go on record here and say how lucky I feel to be able to do this. Yes, we’ve been saving for years to be able to travel this year. But to be able to contemplate such a trip places us squarely in the “1%”. I hope we can give something back along the way, and after we return home.
Our itinerary is listed below. In case you’re curious, I booked the flights through Air Treks. Our agent Sarah was wonderful. And for our plan, they were much cheaper than using one of the “round the world” fares you can get from OneWorld or Star Alliance. The only drawback is these are fixed dates. So this really is our plan! I’ll leave it there for the others to pick up from. See you after Portland & Seattle! Cam

Segment                                                             Arrive             Depart          # days
West Coast – Seattle/Portland         02-Sep-14     11-Sep-14       9
Costa Rica                                                      11-Sep-14        7-Oct-14     26
Equador-Peru-Bolivia                               8-Oct-14     19-Nov-14    42
Fiji (via L.A.)                                                   21-Nov-14      9-Dec-14     18
Vanuatu                                                             9-Dec-14    27-Dec-14     16
New Zealand (in. Auk out C.C.)        27-Dec-14    23-Jan-15       27
Australia – Cairns (Great B.R.)         23-Jan-15        2-Feb-15      11
Indonesia – Bali to Flores (cycling)   2-Feb-15       2-Mar-15     28
Phillipines                                                         2-Mar-15   16-Mar-15     14
Hong Kong                                                    16-Mar-15   22-Mar-15      5
Nepal                                                                23-Mar-15   19-Apr-15      27
UAE (Abu Dabi & Dubai)                     19-Apr-15    22-Apr-15       2
Germany-Neth.-Den.-Sweden        22-Apr-15     14-Jun-15      53
(in Frankfurt., out of Copenhagen. (cycling)
Iceland                                                            14-Jun-15      21-Jun-15      7
Toronto (in time for Kaia’s grad)    21-Jun-15

Two days left in Canada!
We left Peterborough yesterday – I’m writing from my grandma’s cottage near Haliburton. Tomorrow, we will go to Toronto and we fly out to Seattle on Tuesday at 10:00 am. We’ve spent the last two days packing up our house, so it felt great to just relax today. I’m so excited! I’m really looking forward cycling in Portland and meeting with Mia Birk who was really important in the city’s bicycle transformation. I’m also super excited about Costa Rica where we’ll be renting a beach house for a week. One thing I’m a bit anxious about is getting our SCUBA certification in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. I like to snorkel, but SCUBA looks a little bit scary! I guess I’m just going to have to trust the equipment. And after Costa Rica? That’s a bit too far away to think about right now.
I got a free app on my phone called “Duolingo” to learn Spanish. It’s like a game, with a bunch of lessons that teach you different words and sentences. So I can say stuff like “El gato no duermo los viernes por la noche” (The cat doesn’t sleep on Friday nights). It’s an awesome app and it’s really fun too!
Anyway, I’m really excited, it’s kind of overwhelming! Next stop: Seattle!    Kaia

Man, the last few days sure have been exhausting! We basically put everything we could either in a box to store in our basement for 10 months, or in the garbage. And every time I see someone I know, I have to hug them and say goodbye because I won’t be seeing them for almost a year. Today is August 31st, and it’s my 12th birthday. Last Wednesday, I had a birthday party with my friends from school. It was pretty hard saying goodbye to them!
Anyway, what I’m looking forward to the most this year is probably visiting the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador. I find that place pretty cool because since there are no big predators on the island, the animals there (other than the fish: what everything eats) have never learned to be scared of other animals, or humans! So I’m really excited to go there. However, I’m a little scared to go into the big South American cities like Quito and La Paz. There are a lot of robbers and pickpockets, and I really hope we don’t lose something important!
But now that the hard part is out of the way, we’re finally (and I mean finally!!!) ready to go. Jake

As the rest of the family has explained, the last few days have been pretty intense: a marathon of packing, cleaning, organizing, and saying good-byes. We’ve been working towards this moment for a long time but it has always seemed a long way away. The summer had a distinctly different flavour this year because of the fact that I knew I wasn’t going back to the classroom on September 2nd. The crazy ‘teacher dreams’ that one gets before the new school year were replaced with certain anxious thoughts but mostly anticipation of a great adventure. When our tenant arrived last night with her boxes and some furniture, it really sunk in that our house was no longer our own and that we would be “on the road” for the next 10 months. A bit scary, but really, I was so tired of packing that it felt only good to be on our way. I hope Nadine settles in nicely and enjoys #317 Elias Ave!
When we arrived at the cottage just before midnight, I went for a dip in the lake to wash off the day’s layer of sweat and soothe the frantic feeling that comes with heading out on such a journey. In the pitch black, I slowly waded in (the lake didn’t feel so familiar in the dark), feeling the rocks with my toes and finally “taking the plunge”. Best feeling ever! I’m feeling ready to step into the unknown!  Yvonne