my father and i were in the dining hall by 7am for breakfast. the two blondes joined us, their last day at the drake bay resort, leaving via boat to the landing strip later in the day. from the dining room window i could see all sorts of wildlife, hummingbirds visiting the feeder, squirrel monkeys jumping through the tree branches, and a flock of colorful tanagers looking for kitchen scraps.

an hour later we got ready to leave for caño island, met our tour guide gerald ("geraldo"), a french looking, leathery, blue eyed man who got my father and i suited up for snorkeling, getting us some gear from the equipment shack. we waited on top of the loading dock for the rest of the group to show up. i talked with a woman named dee, who was distracted by an iguana resting high up in some bamboo stalks. she and her husband were also leaving today. we were both scratching our head wondering how the iguana got up so high and how it'd come back down. i saw an amazing spider i'd never seen before, thorns on its back, white speckled with black dots, kind of looked like a miniature crab. we met the other half of our island trip, vicki and suish from california. "are you chinese?" she asked me after hearing my father and i speak mandarin. "my mother thought you were japanese," she told me. yeah, i get that a lot as a matter of fact.

the weather was gorgeous, blue sky with big dramatic puffy white clouds. via powerboat it took about 30 minutes to get to the island. from the gps i knew we were traveling 30mph, the boat would slap the water every few seconds as it bounced up and down on the waves. despite the choppy ride, it was actually quite soothing, with the ocean wind and the sun overhead, i nearly fell asleep. we stopped a few times whenever we saw dolphins, which were easy to find, any place on the water where there were a lot of seabirds meant dolphins down below. i don't get seasick, but once we cut off the engine and the boat was just rocking on the water, i started to feel queasy, until we started moving again.

caño island is a fairly deserted island. it's far enough away from the mainland that nothing big lives on the island, other than some insects and reptiles and seabirds. the handful of people who do come are here to relax, sit on the beach, do some snorkeling, walk the trials to the mirador to see the view from the top of the island or check out some archaelogical artifacts, mainly these stone spheres believed to have been carved by the original indigenous people of costa rica. as soon as we arrived on the island, it started to rain. no surprise, as a large cloud could be seem hovering above everything from the ocean. 10 minutes later it stopped, and the weather was back to nice again. gerald and i got into the water to do some snorkeling. vicki and suish were on the shore fighting with their equipment (they didn't bring flippers, so they probably couldn't snorkel anyway). my father got some of his gear on, but we forgot that you can't wear the mask with glasses (fortunately i put on my contacts before leaving the lodge), so i'm not sure how much he could see, but he went back on land after stepping foot into the water. gerald and i bobbled on the surface of the water, watching our snorkeling team disintergrate back on land. we both decided to take a raincheck on the snorkeling because 1) the waves were too rough and there were sharp rocks nearby and 2) there were jellyfish spotted further out near the prime snorkeling sites, and everybody else had already gotten out of the water because of them.

my father and i went hiking through the trails. before we even left the ranger station, i saw these beautiful tiger ants crawling behind the back of the hut,

so called because the yellow iridescence of their abdomen causes black banding that resemble tiger stripes. they look ferocious, and i heard they bite, but later when i asked gerald he said they were harmless. caño island is a good starting point for our costa rican visit. there are no guides to tell us what's what, but left on our own, it gave us more opportunity to explore at our own pace. and despite the lack of critters (i still managed to find some), the vegetation on the island is amazing, our first taste of jungle flora.

a little bit over three hours, after walking the whole trail (a hard walk for a little hot top view of the island from the lookout point), we came out of the jungle, where we found everyone already eating lunch. a blackish grey snake slithered across our path. gerald told us there's two kinds of snakes on the island, both non-poisonous (the other kind is the boa constrictor). we joined them for food, watching the hermit crabs comb the sandy beach for food, a handful of some other vacationers sunbathing. gerald demonstrated how the tender ends of palm fronds can be eaten. soon afterwards we headed back to the lodge, there was some drama with vicki unable to get back onto the boat, but we managed, everyone got back to drake bay resort in one piece.

i took a shower then slept until dinner. some new people joined our ranks for the evening, faye and jonathan, a young british couple, and don and janet, an elderly couple from new jersey. faye and jonathan were fun to talk to, the bright eyed exuberance of vacationing youth, faye even had vacation cornrows in her hair. don and janet i detested though. they didn't seem like much at first, but soon it was obvious they've done a lot of traveling and were shameless destination droppers. "oh, we've been to the antarctic circle, you must see tanzania, zanzibar is great this time of the year, when i was india on my way to nepal, etc." don's even been to cambridge, having graduated from MIT. i mean, i guess at that age they deserve a certain amount of concession, but i found their behavior rather distasteful. i wasn't the only one. john and maggie, who last night were the center of conversations, were noticeably quiet throughout the evening. don's pretentiousness didn't end there: he was also unfortunately all about digital photography, and when i asked him about the specs on his camera, he was more than happy to list them (some sort of olympus with an unwielding 10x zoom). i asked if he brought a laptop to download his photos, and he said he a "device with an lcd screen," an obvious reference to smartdisk flashtrax. that bastard! however, the excellent flan for dessert made up for the bad company.

after dinner we went back to our cabin, but got caught in the rain without an umbrella so we waited out the storm at the bar. there was an american woman there who asked us if we were here for the night tour. "no, we're just waiting for the rain to stop." that's when suish and vicki showed up, only to learn that the tour would be cancelled due to the rain. the night tour actually sounded interesting, with the possibility of seeing live tarantulas and getting to use one of those night vision scopes. i made a mental note of it. once the rain started to slow down a bit, my father and i ran back to our cabin. i perused my daily catch of photos, then took a shower and went to bed.

today's count: 222 photos