We returned to Vancouver yesterday. The weather is cloudy and cool, and when I walked in Stanley Park this morning, there were still a few places with some patchy snow. It is nice to be back anyhow.
We had a great time in St John with our friends from the Blue Water Rally. Teri and Lee organized a great program, including a sail with snorkeling and a tour of the island, which has many wonderful beaches.
Now we are on our way back to Vancouver and are stopping in Atlanta for two nights. We are staying in an old house that serves as a B&B, and visited a few sites today.
We flew from Miami to St Thomas yesterday, in the US Virgin Islands. The island group was named by Columbus on his second voyage and they have a checkered history. From 1671 on the Danish ruled this area, but sold it to the Americans in 1917. We took the ferry to St John, which boasts one of the safest and oldest harbors in the Caribbean. The island was settled by Taino Indians a couple of thousand years ago and I visited one of their sacred sites today, a waterfall with a pool and some petroglyphs. It was a wonderful hike, about 4km from the road, down to a nice beach. Coming back in the heat (28 deg C) was rather more strenuous. I met a deer and a few tourists on the way. We are staying above Cruz Bay in a lovely place. Tomorrow the Blue Water Rally Reunion begins here and we look forward to meeting our friends again from the time we sailed from Gibraltar to the South Pacific (2007-2009).
Like many other tourists, we spent a few days in Manuel Antonio on the Pacific Coast. This is very hot, great beaches and the smallest park in Costa Rica, Manuel Antonio. On the way there we passed huge palm oil plantations, and then enjoyed a few quiet days on the beach. During the visit to the rather crowded park we saw squirrel monkeys, but they were too fast for me to get a picture. The white faced Capuchin monkeys check up on people (and their packs) , and are much easier to photograph. On a kayak trip, we saw a horde of them taking a bath in the mangroves. Today we came back to San Jose to fly to Miami tomorrow.
We have spent the last couple of days in Monteverde, exploring the cloud forest here. The roads in are all dirt roads with huge potholes, but there are quite a few tourists around. We are staying in a tree top house, and have done a number of wonderful excursions. Pictures of our trip to the cloud forest, a zip line run (14 cables!) and a night excursion can be found by clicking on the links.
We have moved from the coastal rain forest to the inland rain forest around El Arenal, a volcano that erupted violently in 1968, but has been quiet since 2010. The area is well liked by tourist, but we are staying in the quiet Nayara Resort. The first day was very rainy, now we have sunshine, cloudy periods and the occasional shower. We even saw the top of the volcano briefly. The first day we walked along the hanging bridges, saw lots of beautiful flowers and a snake. The afternoon was spent in the La Fortuna waterfall. Yesterday we hiked along the old lava flow, saw monkeys, a very large caiman and many birds. We recovered from the 5 km hike in the hot springs of Eco Termales. Today we are moving on to the Monteverde area.