We rounded off the trip with a couple of days of diving around Isla de Cano, from palm-strewn Drake bay. On the second day conditions were right to head out to bajo del diablo - a set of pinnacles set away from the island that can attract big pelagics in the passing currents.
We dropped in to stunning vis and the rocks were thick with life as cool water mingled with warm in a jumble of thermoclines. After about ten minutes the hoped for beasts loomed hulkingly out of the blue like alien craft scanning for life.
Of staggering size and with striking markings they were by far the biggest I’ve seen. The frame above, taken from video, gives a feel for their scale - at least five metres across the wings. Feeding in the currents and intrigued by our presence, three or four intermittently circled us throughout our two dives. A jaw dropping spectacle and fitting climax to a wonderful trip.
Glass frogs & other wonders...
A fantastic night walk spotlighting with Esteban in Bahia de Drake yielded some amazing frogs - reticulated and amarillo glass frogs the most striking among them.
Tapir in Corcovado
Famed for its potential for tapir sightings, it was Corcovado on the Osa peninsula that drew us to Costa Rica in the first place. After three days searching every wallow and trail around the Sirena ranger station, deep in the park, it was with real elation that we finally encountered one. He was out on the trail and very relaxed, nosing and nibbling fallen fruit. We followed him quietly along a track for about a hundred metres between patches attracting no reaction at all. For such a massive animal he moved silently in the forest and let us approach very closely. A wonderful sighting.
Olingo in Monteverde
One of our targets in the Monteverde cloud forest (apart from mountains of baked goods) was an elusive relative of the racoons - the bushy-tailed olingo. We had heard there was a good chance late at night at the hummingbird feeders outside the park entrance. After three hours in broken rain on the first night we abandoned our vigil - some stunning hummers and great bats had sustained the motivation! Then just as we were packing up after another three hours the next night we heard a rustle in the bushes, and sure enough there it was - in the space of about 10 seconds it zipped down from a tree, drained what was left of the feeders and was off in to the darkness. We wandered home down the muddy track, grinning from ear to ear. We also managed to pin down some lovely birds in the area, including quetzals, three-wattled bell birds and long-tailed manakins. Lovely spot - and with a great bakery - what more could you want?
Honduran white bats!
These stunning little puff-ball bats, that roost communally under palm leaves, were one of the most hoped for mammals of the trip. So we were stoked to see them up close, while joining local researchers mist netting in the forest. The evening turned out to be one of our best, also yielding kinkajou, mexican porcupine, Northern racoon and our first Hoffmann’s two-toed sloth.