Coco Island, Welcome to Jurassic Park…

Dear F&F,

April 25, 2009
Coco Island (The island the book and movie \”Jurassic Park\” is based on)…..

We are off to an excellent start here at Coco Island. I got up at 5:15 a.m. to catch a glimpse of dawn & have plenty of time getting ready for the morning excursion. We took the 15 minute dinghy ride to the main ranger station outpost at the other anchorage called Wafer Bay. The beautiful schooner we had met in Los Suenos was still anchored there. They left a bit later for the Marquesas – all crew, no owner on board at this time. We got some photos of the boat with the lush island foliage & a waterfall in the background. We were a bit too early for our hike since it turns out they require you take one of the volunteer guides with you. They have hydroelectric power equipment that runs along parts of the trail & they are justifiably concerned about tourists breaking something. We waited until the park rangers staff & volunteers (about 15) finished their staff meeting & we met Andrea who is Costa Rican but born in Riverside County & graduated with an Environmental Engineering degree from Humboldt State. Perfecto! A great English speaking tour guide who could answer most of our many questions about this island. She has been a volunteer here for 2 months & plans to stay another 2 months.

I cannot wax poetic enough in describing the terrain here. It is everything you would imagine a tropical rainforest to be. Lush, green, vines, dense trees & shrubs; overall fantastic. I was grinning from ear to ear the entire heart pumping uphill hike of 1 hour. The reward at the top was another waterfall with a pool that we jumped into. So cool & refreshing. Unfortunately Scott slipped on a rock, landed on his bum, cut & jammed a finger on his left hand. Poor guy. Everything was damp & slippery. He was a trooper & we still enjoyed our dip in the water. Andrea joined us & also took our picture. Then it started pouring rain. Except for wanting to make sure the camera was safely tucked in its dry box, we enjoyed the down pour. It was perfect: rain while in the rainforest, it definitely cooled us off. We wore our tennis shoes & bathing suits on the trek down. Andrea gave us each a stick to help prevent slipping on the trail. I found it very helpful. A wonderful outing.

To continue enjoying the scenery, we kept close to shore on the dinghy ride back to our anchorage. One dive boat came, another left. We showered & napped a bit. We were awakened by excessive motion of the boat. Scott knew he had to dive the stern (rear) anchor & likely move it into a better position to hold us bow into the swell. I stood by at the helm in case he needed me to take in or let out the stern anchor chain. He was able to use a lift bag to help hoist the weight of the anchor & move it to where it would keep our rear in the best position. It helped a lot.

Then I got into dive gear to test out my new wetsuit. I wanted to do a weight check plus get my ears accustomed to descending. It is always a bit of a re-learn when we have not been diving for a while (January with the mantas!) It was amazing how much good stuff is right under our boat! Hard coral, variety of fish, white tip reef sharks (aka: hamsters of the shark world). It felt good to blow bubbles. I was afraid my 6 mm wetsuit would feel too warm, but I know myself, after 3-4 days of 3+ dives per day, I might be shivering. So I think it is a good suit & some of the buoyancy will squish out after a couple of uses. For now I need 6 lbs on my weight belt. With my old 5 mm wetsuit & a steel tank, I don\’t need a weight belt at all. So I may start the week of diving with the old one & as my core temperature goes down over the week, I can switch to the toasty new one.

We ran the generator as we did a load of muddy laundry, rinsed all our dive gear, filled scuba tanks & desalinated water. Life is good. Scott checked in with 2 different ham radio nets: the Maritime Mobile Network & the Pacific Crossing Net. He talked to folks from Texas, Florida & heard a guy in NY.

It will be early to bed, early to rise again. We want to get a couple of dives in on our own. Scott is eager to test out his new underwater strobes, bought on the last LA trip. He was missing a lot of good shots waiting for his strobes (flash) to power up. These are rapid fire goodies & he should have a heck of a time with them.

Scott & Cindy