Well my new favorite hobby here in Costa Rica is snorkeling and before you say oh geez what a tame hobby let me add a little color. Snorkeling in Costa Rica is not just about putting on some mask and fins and looking around. Not with the guys I go with. These Costa Rica men were raised in this area and they can go out with nothing but a stick and come home with enough food to feed their families for a week. It is quite exciting actually. I went with a guy the other day whose nickname is “Chino” right at the end of Playa Conchal and all was smooth and peaceful until I saw him dive down 15 feet to the bottom. Suddenly there was this amazing tempest and flurry of activity and a storm of sand and did not Chino come up with a competent of writhing and quite frightering octopus. The thing was really fighting mad and a scary wonder to behold. I did eat some and will mention that it was pretty tough but I have not quite gotten around to getting the recipes from the “Ticos” yet. Probably ceviche. They turn everything here into ceviche.
Another Costa Rica Snorkeling adventure we had was at Playa Minas a few beaches south of Playa Conchal and is a well hidden and beautiful virgin beach that at one time contained bauxite mines at each end of the beach. The old rails leading into the man-made caverns are still visible and quite interesting as a conversation piece. Any way we set out with our snorkeling gear and spear guns on this day departing right from the middle of the beach and straight out. It was a wondrous day for underwater sightseeing but not much in the way of underwater spear fishing. First off was a giant turtle which I will mention is much more elegant and agile while swimming underwater than we normally see them pondering trudging up the beach to lay their eggs. Playa Minas is a big turtle beach by the way.
Anyway shortly into the swim I began to notice what I thought were cloud shadows on the ocean floor and saw a few dozen of these before we realized they were a huge assortment of giant manta rays partly buried into the ocean floor. I will mention that this was right at the time the famous nature adventure guy got zapped through the heart by one of these creatures. Of course he went too far with it clearly. We were wise enough to steer clear but seeing these ten foot wide atavistic shadows on the ocean floor 10-15 feet beneath us was the thing of nightmares, but exciting in its own right.
So the local Costa Rica skin divers have become friends thanks to generous numbers of beers at the illegal little beach bar in front of the Playa Conchal resort where the guys sell all manner of mysterious sea creatures destined for Dennis' wood grill. They are beginning to train me in the finer arts of snorkeling in Costa Rica like mainly where to find the good stuff. Those locations for security reasons I am afraid must remain nameless.