Bruce in kayak.

"We specialize in small group travel, which minimizes environmental impact, increases safety standards and allows for personalized, enriching and authentic experiences."

— Bruce Smith, founder and owner, Seascape Kayak Tours Inc.

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Bella Vista RanchApril 10th, 2009

Here at Seascape’s southern headquarters, it’s the second cleanup day after a five-day paddling, four-night camping trip on the Nicoya Peninsula with a couple of Canadian clients, David and Rosi Jory. 

The Jorys chose to begin their Costa Rica experience with a pre-trip extension to the mountains north of San José. We joined them for two nights at the relaxing mountain retreat known as Bella Vista Ranch near the area of the Turrialba Volcano. 

BV HikeBELLA VISTA GUIDE JOSE (KIKO) LEADS BRUCE AND DAVID ON AN INTERPRETIVE HIKE OF THE AREA BELOW THE TURRIALBA VOLCANO AND NOT FAR FROM THE RIO REVENDAZON.

Bella Vista is comprised of a series of simple cabins linked by a raised walkway and set into a hillside overlooking the volcán and several other montañas. This special getaway is owned by Mark Shultz and Anabelle Solano, from the U.S. and Costa Rica respectively. Visits to the ranch are hosted by Anabelle’s mother, uncle, aunt, brother and sister-in-law, so the experience allows clients the chance to interact with a wonderful local family. 

Green BasiliskA RESIDENT AT BELLA VISTA, THE GREEN BASILISK IS REFERRED TO AS A JESUS CHRIST LIZARD BECAUSE OF ITS ABILITY TO SKIM ACROSS THE SURFACE OF CREEKS AND STREAMS.

Birding here affords glimpses of Montezuma Oropendolas, a variety of toucans and hummingbirds, and many other fascinating species. A lily pond near the main cabin is inhabited by frogs who begin to call at dusk and continue throughout the night. We were also visited by a variety of local lizards, including ground anolis and the beautiful green basilisk with its prominent crest. 

The retreat provided an opportunity for David to hike up into the mountains and down into the valley, and to learn from a local guide about the organic crops that are grown on the fincas or farms in the area, crops such as sugar cane, culantro (cilantro), beans, rice, coffee, plantain, mandarin lime and guava. Meanwhile Rosi sketched the incredible vistas from the lodge. Meals were all traditional locally grown Costa Rican fare accompanied by refrescos naturales, fresh fruit juice drinks. Rosi has a keen interest in cooking and asked to participate in a culinary experience with Doña Lila, during which she learned to make tortillas, Tico style.

Tico TortillasROSI JORY, ORIGINALLY FROM GERMANY, LEARNS HOW TO MAKE TORTILLAS COSTA RICAN STYLE FROM BELLA VISTA HOSTESS LiLA SOLANO AND HER DAUGHTER-IN-LAW ALEJANDRA.

If you search YouTube for Bella Vista Ranch, Turriabla, Costa Rica, you can see a great little slide show of the flora and fauna and incredible views from this exquisite mountain lodge.

Happy Easter weekend,

Frances

 

 


The rains are comingApril 4th, 2009

During the last few days, there has been an electricity in the air. A feeling of anticipation, excitement, expectation. 

Perhaps it coincides with the energy of spring finally manifesting itself in North America, bringing our friends and family there a sense of awakening and renewal.

Scarlet MacawENDANGERED SCARLET MACAWS HAVE BEEN REINTRODUCED INTO THE WILD IN SEVERAL PLACES NEAR TAMBOR, INCLUDING CURU WILDLIFE REFUGE WHERE WE RUN MANY TRIPS.

On tierra firma here in Central America, this energy is easily observed in the increased activity of all things wild. Trogons seem to be calling frequently and with a heightened intensity. Chattering Scarlet Macaws seem to be ever present and in large numbers. Ctenosaurs (black) and Green Iguanas are on the move. Monkeys are even more active and vocal than usual.

On the water recently, we spotted a pod of Spinner Dolphins who put on a spectacular show. Large groups of pelicans sometimes dive for fish so close to our kayaks that its impossible to tell where our boats end and the birds begin.

Pelican kayakFISHING PELICANS SURROUND JUAN CARLOS IN HIS KAYAK AT SUNSET IN BAHIA BALLENA IN FRONT OF THE HOTEL TAMBOR TROPICAL.

Perhaps this frenzied animal activity is in relation to the ever increasing temperature, climbing during the warmest part of the day now to 37 C (close to 100 F) which is a clear signal that the rains – which usually begin sometime in April and dominate the climate through late October – are coming. Other signs are slightly more cloudy days and humidity continuously on the rise. 

Environmental changes are a constant reminder that everything is connected in life. Seasons affect us just as they do the animals. We can learn so much from our natural surroundings if we are only open to the lessons. 

Black CtenosaurLIZARDS AND IGUANAS OF ALL KINDS SEEM TO BECOME MUCH MORE ACTIVE IN ANTICIPATION OF THE COMING RAINS.

Even after the first signs of the rainy season appear, sometimes the rains themselves take weeks, even months to arrive. Last year, there were many days when all the ingredients for rain were there, but the outpouring waited and waited, even until the middle of May.

We know that, like spring, the rains are coming. We’ll let you know when they do. Meanwhile, here’s to the water of life.

Pura vida,

Bruce

 

 


Touch the earth and the seaMarch 27th, 2009

As mentioned in the previous entry, the yoga and kayaking expedition was a life changing experience.

The combination of yoga and paddling in a beautiful warm, natural environment allowed participants to focus on the important things in life… fellowship, personal health, spirituality and taking care of mother earth.

Yoga trip paddle

These experiences are essential ingredients for personal growth. It is important that we reflect on the lessons learned and incorporate these into our everyday lives….

Yoga dancers

Remember the glow of the candle, the brilliant stars, the sound of the surf, the dolphins, the pelicans and most importantly the overwhelming sense of peace.

Touch the earth and the sea.

Bruce

Water babies

Click on "Check out our videos" at the top of any page to see three special paddling moments captured by El Espiritu del Mar participant Gregory Kofsky. Thank you, Greg, for sharing.