Monday, August 31, 2009
Chorotega Guaitil pottery
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Guaitil Chorotega Pottery
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Return from gyrocopter flight
Friday, August 28, 2009
Hacienda Pinilla houses
Thursday, August 27, 2009
J.W. Marriott Guanacaste Resort
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
J. W. Marriott Guanacaste Resort
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Hacienda Pinilla Condos
Monday, August 24, 2009
Hacienda Pinilla Golf Course
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Langosta Beach and Hacienda Pinilla
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Hacienda Pinilla portion of Langosta Beach
Here are two views of Langosta beach at the Hacienda Pinilla portion of Langosta beach. This scene is just across Langosta estuary from the location of our condo and the Barcelo Resort. As you can see from this photo, the beach is unspoiled, with soft, clean sand extending as far as the eye can see. The top photo looks inland, and the second photo shows the view up the beach from approximately the same spot.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Mouth of the Langosta Estuary
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Mouth of Langosta Estuary
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Tamarindo and Langosta
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Flying Crocodile Gyrocopter
I have been showing aerial photos of Tamarindo taken from the gyrocopter, so I thought I should show a photo of the gyrocopter in flight. The cockpit is open on the sky and to the sides, which offers outstanding visibility and better photo taking than helicopters, as the passenger in the gyrocopter does not have to shoot through glass the way you would normally have to do in a helicopter.
The second photo shows the logo of the company that owns and operates the gyrocopter. They call themselves the Flying Crocodile, and they operate the Flying Crocodile Hotel, which is a small hotel in Samara, Costa Rica, which is south of Tamarindo down the Pacific Coast. Samara is much smaller than Tamarindo. The website for the Flying Crocodile Hotel can be accessed by clicking here.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Tamarindo beach in front of the Diria Hotel
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Diria Resort from the air
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Central Tamarindo fron the air
Friday, August 14, 2009
Aerial view of Tamarindo
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
The mouth of the Tamarindo Estuary
I thought it might be an interesting perspective to show from the ground the same scene that I showed from the air in my photo yesterday. This photo was taken on a somewhat hazy morning, and the blue of the water seems to blend in with the blue of the sky, creating a tranquil atmosphere that I think is quite appropriate for such a serene scene.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Playa Grande & the Tamarindo Estuary from the air
Playa Grande and the Tamarindo Estuary are part of the Las Baulas National Marine Park. The beach at Playa Grande is the primary nesting site for the endangered Pacific leatherback tortoises. They swim to Tamarindo from the Galapagos Islands to lay their eggs.
If you enlarge the photo and look closely, you may be able to detect that there are some homes and small hotels nestled within the trees near Playa Grande. That is the site of a major environmental controversy over the boarders of the park and whether private property near the beach should be purchased by the government to protect the beach (and, of course, at what price should the land be purchased).
As I have mentioned before, Costa Rica prides itself on having a larger percentage of its land set aside for national parks and wildlife refuges than any other country -- 25%. The country has many needs for government expenditures, including roads and other infrastructure. Spending tax money to buy expensive beachfront land, primarily from foreigners, is difficult. On the other hand, some international environmental groups have put pressure on the government to proceed with expropriating land, otherwise they have threatened to withhold funds from conservation initiatives underway or planned.
Landowners have challenged the government's right to take their land, but my understanding is that earlier this year the court has ruled that the government has the authority to do so. This is a difficult issue and the position of both sides undoubtedly has merit.
As you can see from this photo, Playa Grande and Tamarindo Estuary are a beautiful area. With all of the growth and development in recent years in Tamarindo, which you will see in some fo the upcoming aerial photos, I think it is worthwhile to have areas set aside for wildlife and conservation close to Tamarindo. And the pristine area shown in today's photo is indeed close. The town and beach of Tamarindo are right below the spot from which this photo was taken, as the mouth of the estuary is a very popular place for surfers.
Monday, August 10, 2009
The gyrocopter takes off
The gyrocopter carrying my son and Guido, the pilot, takes off. It does not go straight up like a helicopter, but lifts off after motoring down the runway.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Turtle mystery solved
WITZELL, W. N. 1983.
Synopsis of biological data on the hawksbill turtle Eretmochelys imbricata (Linnaeus, 1766). FAO Fisheries Synopsis
No. 137, Rome."
One of the comments yesterday said it was an Olive Ridley rather than a hawksbill turtle. My niece, the marine biologist has agreed, and asked me to relay the following correction:
">"I totally agree with one of your responders that it does look like an Olive Ridley. I thought the picture was from your solar eclipse cruise, so I was in the hawksbill mindset looking at that pointy beak, and never considered the Ridleys as I've never seen them before. This pic http://animals.
Friday, August 7, 2009
Here is a sea turtle that we saw during our recent fishing excursion in off the coast of Tamarindo. This is not one of the endangered leatherback turtles, however. During the winter months, it is possible to go on evening beach visits, led by park rangers, in the national park directly adjacent to Tamarindo, to watch the turtles come up on to the beach to lay their eggs, and to watch the hatchlings find their way to the sea.
My wife and her brother went out one evening with a park ranger to watch for turtles. The park ranger keeps everyone in the dark, except for a red flashlight, because the lights are harmful to the turtles. They can get confused by lights on the beach, which can interfere with their laying their eggs and the struggle of the hatchlings to find the ocean. One theory is that they find their way by the light of the moon. Minimizing the lights on the beach is one of the reasons that conservation groups favor additional steps to prevent development along Playa Grande, which forms the northern half of the beach in Tamarindo Bay. The area is part of the Las Baulas National Marine Park, but the boundaries of the park are in dispute.
On the night that my wife and her brother went out on the beach, they did not see any turtles. Instead, they saw a lot of fire flies. Maybe the light of the fire flies was a deterrent to the turtles.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Here is my favorite photo of dolphins from our recent fishing excursion in Tamarindo Bay. I love the combination of the jumping dolphins and the dolphin who has leaped completely out of the water. The dolphins look like they are ready to perform at Sea World.
This brings up a subject for possible discussion and comment. How do people feel about places such as Sea World, aquariums and zoos where animals are confined and in some cases trained to perform?
My view is that if the animals are well cared for and humanely treated, there is a net benefit in making it possible for large numbers of people see, enjoy, and be educated about the animals and their habitats. The message of environmental protection can be communicated, particularly to children, much more effectively in the “hands-on” experience of encounters with live animals than in books. The excitement of seeing the animals will hopefully spark greater interest and awareness of conservation.
The interest in the animal world sparked by visits to wildlife parks will hopefully lead to greater public support for conservation. Nothing compares to the thrill of seeing animals in the wild, in their native habitat. Costa Rica has preserved more than 25% of its land area as national parks and wildlife refuges, which is more than any other country.
The area off the coast of Tamarindo is protected as part of the Las Baulas Marine National Park. One of the purposes of that park is to protect the endangered Pacific leatherback turtle. I will have a photo of a turtle encounter coming soon.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Dolphins, up close
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
I have several times gone on "Captain Dave’s Dolphin Safari” from Dana Point in Orange County, California. Captain Dave is skilled at finding and photographing dolphins, and he has made some videos that have won awards. The dolphin encounter that my sons and I had off the coast of Tamarindo was more extensive and dramatic than the dolphin safari trips I have taken in California.
The purpose of our boating excursion was not to watch dolphins. We were supposed to be fishing. Our fishing excursion was rendered a success, though, because of the dolphin encounter. Tomorrow and the following day I will show my two favorite dolphin photos.
Monday, August 3, 2009
The other Corona
Sunday, August 2, 2009
A few days ago I showed a photo of a person fishing in the surf. Here is a photo I took from a fishing boat off shore from Tamarindo. As you can see, we found ourselves in the midst of a huge pod of dolphins. Some of them swam playfully alongside the boat, just off the bow, skimming the surface of the water. Everywhere we looked there were dolphins jumping around.
Dolphins are among my favorite animals, and I presume yours, too. They are smart, they seem to enjoy contact with humans, and they always have a smile on their face.
I have found it difficult to take good photos of dolphins. On auto-focus, by the time the camera focuses on the jumping dolphin, he is back in the water. On manual focus, the photo might be blurry because I do not know the precise distance of the dolphin before he jumps. And of course the dolphin is moving fast, and I am taking the photo from a boat that is also moving, bouncing, and rocking.