A word from founder Bruce Smith

“Welcome to Seascape Kayak Tours. This company began as an outgrowth of my passion for paddling, outdoor education and sharing special marine environments with others. I love introducing people to wild places and helping them feel comfortable and reach their potential on the water. Whether you choose to join us for a sunset paddle, a day trip or an extended expedition, you will travel with just a few others, in a safe, sensitive and environmentally sound manner.”


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Halcyon DaysMay 3rd, 2009

We write this during the final countdown to our seasonal departure from Costa Rica. There are seven days left until we leave to run the summer kayaking season on Deer Island in the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick, Canada. Seven halcyon days.

The rainy season has begun. A few nights ago, we were driving home from Curú Wildlife Refuge at dusk when the first substantial rain began to fall, making the dirt roads suddenly oily and greasy. We nearly got stuck in the slippery mud dropping off a friend who lives near the river.

Green HeronCOMMONLY SEEN GREEN HERON ON THE PANICA RIVER.

 

 

Last night we were awakened by a deafening roar of rain, the first true torrential downpour that lasted several hours and brought a fresh, cooler feeling to the hot, sticky air. As a result of this hard shower, the water in the ocean in front of Tambor Tropical and in the nearby River Panica has turned to a ruddy red. We paddled up the Panica this morning at high tide and saw a variety of birds, including beautiful pink Roseate Spoonbills and tall, regal white Wood Storks. Every paddle offers opportunities to see a tremendous number of wading birds such as egrets and herons, the most common being the Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, Tiger Heron and Green Heron.

 

Boat billedNOT SO COMMONLY SEEN BOAT-BILLED HERON, ALSO ON THE RIO PANICA.

 

 

Two days ago, we saw a heron we hadn’t seen before in the Panica River, the Boat-billed Heron, which searches for fish at night. Its shoe-shaped bill is thought to help it catch food in lower light, in which precise spearing of fish with a narrow bill would be difficult. The bird was hiding in the thicket and very shy, but we got some decent photos that show its huge, human-like eye and unmistakable bill.

 

We also saw a Belted Kingfisher this morning, one of five types we see in Costa Rica, the others being the Ringed, Amazon, Green and American Pigmy. The kingfisher has been the subject of a fair amount of folklore, hearkening all the way back to Greek mythology. There is a myth that Zeus was jealous of a female character, Alcyone, for her power over the wind and waves. In a jealous rage, Zeus killed Alcyone’s husband by destroying his ship with lightning. Alcyone threw herself into the sea to join her drowning lover and they both turned into kingfishers. So through the years sailors believed the kingfisher could protect them by calming stormy weather; they referred to the kingfisher as the Halcyon bird. Kingfishers were also thought to nest for seven days of peace and calm when rearing their young, and these were called the Halcyon Days. (Les Beletsky, Costa Rica Travelers’ Wildlife Guide.)

 

BeltedTHE BELTED KINGFISHER, ONE OF THE HALCYON BIRDS OF GREEK MYTHOLOGY.

 

 

The paddling season in Canada is shaping up with plenty of day trips and multi-day experiences on the calendar May through September and we’ll have to hit the ground running once we arrive. Meanwhile, as we pack gear, clean boats, store belongings and prepare to depart, we are listening to the Howler Monkeys, watching all the birds, feeling the rains move over the sea, and trying to get every ounce of enjoyment we can out of our final halcyon days in Tambor.

 

When we next communicate with you, it’ll be from an entirely different climate at the opposite end of the Americas, but one with just as much beauty and joy to offer paddlers, wildlife lovers and everyone who makes the time to visit our very special corner of the universe: Deer Island. We hope to see you there this summer.

 

Pura vida,

 

Bruce and Frances


Returning rhythmsApril 26th, 2009

Today’s guest blogger is Sandra Jayne Taylor, who participated in the recent yoga and paddling trip: El Espiritu del Mar. The trip will run again January 9-17 and May 14-22 of 2010.

SandyEstuarySANDY PADDLING QUIETLY IN CURU WILDLIFE REFUGE’S MANGROVE ESTUARY.

On my recent trip to Costa Rica, camping on Playa Quesera, paddling in Curu Reserve on El Espiritu del Mar, I felt the comforting, soothing rhythms of my life return. 

 

In the last year, grief and stress were the rhythms I lived.  

 

But nothing could prevent me from feeling all the glorious natural rhythms of Costa Rica:

 

The crash of the tide riding to the shore.

 

The dramatic red fall of the sunset to immediate nightfall.

 

The noisy stealth of the gazillion hermit crabs whose precise footprints in the morning sand looked like a miniature Los Angeles freeway system.

 

Never-ending waves originating in the graceful Pacific swells.

 

The warm peach color of sunrise that blushed the surrounding cliffs of our gorgeous beach.

 

The breaths that came fast and excited as another view gave me such beauty.

 

The breaths that came deep and full while lying in the yoga pose of relaxation on warm sand.

 

The quiet stir of the kayak paddle, its rhythm that gained strength and efficiency and also, to my amazement, gained a rhythm similar to those of the other beach nuts of my great group.

 

BeachNutsSANDY SET UP HER TRIPOD TO PHOTOGRAPH HER GROUP AT EVERY MEAL ON THE TRIP. LEFT TO RIGHT, SHOWN HERE ARE WENDY, LAURI, BRUCE, GREG, FRANCES AND SANDY.

 

All of these and more wonderful rhythms gently returned to me my own way of being, my own rhythm, the wave that begins and ends on its own but constantly connects with the world.   

 

My photo of the brown pelicans gliding on the warm air currents at sunrise is my own reminder to be always present to the rhythms, of the grace and beauty and strength in all rhythms.

 

Thank you so much Bruce and Lauri with a heart full.

 

Sandy

 

PelicanPathPELICAN PATH BY SANDRA JAYNE TAYLOR

 

 


Union of earth, sea, sky and spiritApril 19th, 2009

Today’s blog comes from Laurice D. Nemetz, MA, ADTR, E-RYT, LCAT, who works as a yoga teacher and dance/movement therapist throughout Westchester County in New York. Lauri was the instructor on our recent El Espiritu del Mar, Seacape’s pilot yoga and paddling trip. We are planning future yoga and sea kayaking trips with her in both Canada (July) and Costa Rica (next January and May).

Palm practiceLAURI LEADS HER STUDENTS ON THE COSTA RICA PADDLING TRIP IN GENTLE PRACTICE UNDER THE PALM TREES AFTER KAYAKING.

 

Since returning to the states from Costa Rica, I’ve experienced hail in New York, hugged my boys countless times, have seen many, many students, worked in several therapeutic settings and led my college class of movement and anatomy students through the BODIES exhibit in NYC. 

 

As your guest blogger, I wanted to share a few of my reflections on the trip from the yogic perspective. Like Bruce, I never take for granted the work we get to do, or where we get to share that. As a yoga teacher just outside of the big city of New York, I am near lovely trees and the deep blue Hudson River, but I also spend quite a bit of time in the city itself, both teaching and taking classes. I have enjoyed many an inversion in the studios of New York, but I also enjoyed the experience of my own practice on the sandy shores of Costa Rica, looking at the ocean and sky together reversed.  

 

TEACHING YOGAAFTER A LONG PADDLE, LAURI GUIDES THE GROUP IN EXERCISES THAT WORK OPPOSING MUSCLES FROM THOSE USED IN KAYAKING.

 

When I teach yoga, I consider myself a guide. I share my knowledge and can point towards a path, but ultimately the work is self-initiated. Each person on this trip made such lovely positive changes and I believe that those changes ripple into all life. It is my privilege to teach yoga and share its wonderful gifts. The environment of Costa Rica allowed for this process to be quite deep and meaningful.

 

Kayaking is about connection as well. Whenever I am on the water I gain a sense of how small we are, but also how connected we are to everything else. That is the essence of yoga practice – the idea of union, of linking one thing to another. What we do to any other creature and to the environment matters deeply. When someone leaves a piece of trash, it may not seem like a large amount in the grand scheme of things, but that garbage can multiply and turn a beautiful beach into something else. However, I’m an optimist by nature, and I feel that while life isn’t always easy, our own ease can create something beautiful in an ocean far away.

 

HeadstandLAURI ENGAGING IN HER PRIVATE YOGA PRACTICE ON PLAYA QUESERA IN CURU WILDLIFE REFUGE, BASECAMP FOR THE PADDLING TRIP.

 

The Costa Rican days were full of brilliant sunshine, wildlife and colors, but I also enjoyed the Costa Rican nights. I loved watching the stars, so bright and beautiful, and the last morning of our camping, I woke up watching the stars before greeting the day with an extra early morning yoga practice. 

 

As many of you know, the constellation Orion, known as the Huntsman, is easy to spot in the evening sky, whether in New York, or far south in Costa Rica. For years, I carried a favorite poem about the constellation with me, a small part which l give to you here: 

 

The choice is always ours. Then, let me choose

The longest art, the hard Promethean way

Cherishingly to tend and feed and fan

That inward fire, whose small precarious flame,

Kindled or quenched, creates

The noble or the ignoble men we are,

The worlds we live in and the very fates,

Our bright or muddy star.

Up from among the emblems of the wind

Into its heart of power,

The Huntsman climbs, and all his living stars

Are bright, and all are mine.

From "Orion"

by Aldous Huxley, 1931

 

 

Shanti (Peace),

Lauri