The (Naked) Pool

Deep in the jungle (actually not far at all) you will find a little natural pool that’s a great place to cool down on a hot day.

We discovered the pool a number of years ago when we were looking for a source of water for the property. It was full of gravel and big rocks then but once we had moved the loose sand and stone and used the rock to make the dam higher we found we had created a beautiful little bathing pool.

The area around the pool is a great place to spot our little green and black dart frogs so bring a camera.

The pool is mostly shaded by the forest canopy but the light shining through is particularly pretty in the early afternoon.

It’s there for you to use whenever you like and as the name suggests skinny dipping (though not obligatory) is perfectly fine!

In rainy season the stream that feeds that pool can carry a lot of loose gravel, fallen leaves and branches with it and it’s not uncommon for a particularly prolonged downpour to deposit enough gravel to completely fill the pool. However we usually have it cleared in a day or two!

The Island

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Jim & Jason at base camp

We can always justify an expedition by calling it research, and our trip to explore ‘Los Farallones’ fell into that category. This loose collection of small islands and breaking rocks sits a few kilometres off the coast near the village of Cacique. The largest island which hosts an unmanned lighthouse was our destination. It was our second attempt, the last time the swell was too big to allow a safe landing, and even this time in the flat calm the lancha could only get us within 50m of the rocks and we had to paddle our gear in on kayaks and a small dinghy.

We ferried our camping gear and supplies ashore as fast as possible, piled it up and quickly covered it with a tarp before an approaching squall hit. Even torrential (warm) rain and wind isn’t really a problem in the tropics, and as the sun quickly reappeared, we assessed where to put up the tents. A stark and vaguely hostile environment, dead skeletal trees, a jumble of bare guano-covered rocks, no shade, curious frigate birds and boobies wheeling overhead. We decided to explore and see if there was an easier place to make a camp.

We scrambled over the rocks, climbed up the scary near vertical steps to the lighthouse. The views were breathtaking but there really wasn’t anywhere obvious to set up. In the end Jim wished he’d brought a pick axe as we worked to create a flat space for our tent near where we came ashore. Jason ended up sleeping on a canted piece of concrete slab ( left over from the sea-destroyed dock ) and Amy & Austin decided on a spot up by the lighthouse. There was very little breeze that night and when it got too hot they abandoned their tent to sleep outside on the bracken-like grass. Amy said there was nothing quite like waking up to the sensation of a hermit crab combing through your hair (!) Jason felt the birds were deliberately using him as target practise, as he woke to find streaks of bird poop ONLY on him, and not his surrounds. We were lucky, slept much better on our lumpy floor than we expected, but it was sweltering.

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If these are Boobies, does that make their perch site a Boobery?

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Base camp from the lighthouse

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Sunset over the Caribbean….

 

Our underwater experiences more than made up for the discomfort of the camping… we had wanted to explore out there for years… the visibility is spectacular, 10m, 15m, 20m? The fish obviously don’t see too many fisherman. We almost got tired of the Angels, both French & Queen. We’ve never seen so many Black Durgons. A pair of majestic Eagle Rays glided (glid?) past  several metres below us. The underwater landscape is like nothing I have experienced since Gozo in the Mediterranean, or Saba in the Caribbean.

The viz is out of this world, far enough from the mainland that runoff from rivers, or aguaceras, has no effect. The current sweeps it clean also.

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Holding on tight!

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A pair of Porkfish

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A beautiful French Angel fish

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Typical sea life

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A Honeycomb Cow fish

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Lined rock and pounding surf

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School of Doctorfish

It was a great trip with great folk, and as Arnie would say “We’ll definitely be back!

Monkeys & Skyways

Three of the four monkeys often seen at Tesoro Verde….

When we first bought this piece of land overlooking the Caribbean, we didn’t have a definite plan of what to do with it, other than plant bamboo. It had been a finca, or farm, several decades back and then left untended. Most of it was infested with a several metres tall plant called paja mala (bad grass). There were very few trees at all, and consequently, it wasn’t an attractive prospect for the monkeys to cross feeling safe. We decided to change that, and from the start almost ten years ago, we either planted trees, or allowed them to grow. I coined what I think is a new word, skyways, ie planted rows of trees that allow the monkeys to cross our land. It means we get to see them close up. Howlers, Tamarins, Capuchins. We see troops of them most days. They are too wary to come close to the buildings, we will never leave out food for them ( I prefer to encourage plants that they can forage for themselves ) and so far it seems to be working. In dry season, as the leaves fall, we notice at least half a dozen sloths everyday, and in the wee sma’ hours, the night monkeys pass by on their regular route. Olingos are frequent visitors, Tayras, Woolly opossums, Armadillos. Jim once even saw an Ocelot ( sooo jealous!). My ‘best’ sighting was an Anteater carrying a baby. This month saw us opening for business as a BnB, and our guests so far seem to love this place. We’ll try to build on what we’ve done so far….

Photo credits; Howler & Tamarin; Kyle Noble. Capuchin; Fraser Andrews