Chooks, squirrels, lizards and plans

The rooster and two hens at our lodgings are to be killed because “they have become too aggressive”. The rooster did chase me thirty metres along the path from reception to the foot of the stairs to the treehouse last week and all I’d said was “Hi”. But, clearly these people never lived next door to Mrs Blakely at Marshlands in the 1980s. Now, her rooster was aggressive. If he’d been chasing me, he would’ve caught me and quite rightly given me a few good spiteful pecks for invading his harem. I’m going to miss seeing them pecking around in the dirt for food, resting in the pooled water from the outdoor showers in the heat of the day, and nestling together at night inside their makeshift chook pen.

There doesn’t seem to be any shortage of domesticated animals and wildlife here. I’m embarrassed by the number of crappy photos I’ve taken of cute chestnut squirrels with black stripes down the middle of their backs that end in bushy black tails with flecked white tips. But, not so embarrassed that I’ve stopped taking crappy photos. I’ve turned into one of those tourists in Sydney’s Hyde Park who take close-ups of Ibises.


Cute sunbaking squirrel

Apart from surfing most mornings and some afternoons (the surf has been remarkably consistent!), we’ve been spending a lot of time in the hammocks at the top of the treehouse, mostly reading and napping, and occasionally logging into Netflix to watch the old Star Wars movies. According to ‘Lonely Planet’ and ‘Footprint’ there are other things we could be doing, but right now I’m more interested in watching a big lizard inch it’s way up a tree a few metres away, occasionally dipping down behind a branch when it catches me watching, and listening out for howler monkeys. When I first heard them howling one morning, I thought there was a large animal with a really bad sinus problem snoring outside our window.



The tree house 


The beach, surf, roads and restaurants were so busy during the week of Easter, but apparently most people went home on Saturday night or early Sunday morning, because it’s much quieter and more peaceful now. We have four more nights to go in Santa Teresa and then we’re heading north to Granada in Nicaragua.


Small, windy, onshore afternoons at the beach – still pretty though


Thirty two hours of gastro hell

OK, the title might be a bit of an exaggeration, but they weren’t my finest hours and I should warn you that if stories about vomiting aren’t for you, then best not read on.

When I vomited all the delicious ceviche Eddie and I’d had for tea into the toilet a couple of hours after we went to bed on Saturday night, I naively thought that would make me feel better, I’d go to sleep, wake up at 5:30am on Sunday, go for a surf, and that would be the end of it. Instead, I got up every half hour or so for the rest of the night, expelling everything I’d eaten until there was only bile and the small sips of water I was taking from my water bottle left. I wasn’t going anywhere when Eddie got up to check the surf at 6:30am. Or when he got back and started putting fins in his 6’8, which meant the surf was bigger than yesterday. My whole body ached and when Eddie said I’d have to eat plain food for a few days, listing those foods as bananas, bread, rice, I had to tell him to stop because even thinking about food was making me feel sick.


My view for the day – to the left

I spent all of Sunday in bed, except to get up to vomit. The only upside was that I’d put electrolytes in my water in the morning, which is not as harsh on your throat the second time around as ceviche and water.


My view for the day – to the front

Eddie came back from his surf a few hours later to tell me he’d had a great surf and had been barrelled twice. I was jealous, but consoled myself with the memory of the two barrels I’d had a couple of days ago. Five foot end sections with steep faces that fell away beneath me. I kept my rail dug in and made it out the end of both of them.


My view for the day – to the right

By 6pm on Sunday night, I hadn’t vomited for nearly 3 hours so I took a couple of antibiotics and, apart from a wee dry-retch at 7:30pm, by about 11pm I was feeling much better, most of my body aches had disappeared and I could drink my electrolytes in mouthfuls rather than sips.

At 5am this morning, I got up and had a shower, the first time I’d been able to get out of bed in about 32 hours without vomiting. I was feeling a little bit shaky, but was determined to do the morning surf check with Eddie at 6am.

Now, at just after 8am, I’m in my hammock, nibbling on dry crackers, drinking electrolytes and taking it easy while Eddie’s out surfing.

Santa Teresa


Eddie – cat whisperer

Last Wednesday at 6am, Bismarc picked us up from Carol’s Cabinas in his taxi van and drove us to the border town of Paso Canoas. From there, we caught a bus to Jaco, then a taxi to Herradura beach, hoping we might be able to get a water taxi to Montezuma and against all odds make it to Santa Teresa in a day. We got to the beach at about 2pm and were too late for the last taxi, so ended up staying the night and catching the first water taxi at 10:30am the next day.


Playa Herradura – waiting for the water taxi to arrive

The water taxi from Herradura beach to Montezuma was much smaller and faster than I expected. Including us, there were 18 people waiting for it on the beach and we all squeezed in with room to spare for three staff and our board bags, which was lucky because otherwise they would’ve charged us extra for our boards.

At Montezuma, we landed on the beach, hopped off the back of the boat into the water and were handed our bags, so we could take them up the beach to the shuttle that would drive us to Santa Teresa and our accommodation at Don Jon’s 20mins away. It ended up taking us 40mins because of some road works, but we made it.
Today is Monday and we’ve been staying at Don Jon’s in Santa Teresa for four nights. Santa Teresa is one of three cute little towns, including Playa El Carmen and Mal Pais to our South, stretched out along a 6km long beach and a 6km long road, equal parts dirt and tarseal, which is owned by quads, motorbikes, truck, 4WDs and bicyles, in that order. The road is just wide enough for the bigger vehicles to squeeze by one another and the speed limit seems to be as fast as you can go. There are no footpaths.
The beach is about 100 metres away
We’ve surfed every day since we arrived. It’s a beach break and there are plenty of banks for everyone. The waves are punchy and the inside section makes you, or at least me, feel like a ragdoll. I’m so glad we got to warm up on a point break where the paddle out was so much softer and easier on the body.
Local cat demanding a cuddle while I was writing this blog
Apart from surfing, we’ve just been chilling in our hammocks, shopping at the local supermarket, taking our clothes to the laundry, watching the surf and eating.
Chooks at Don Jon’s
Eddie met the owner of a place called Chicken Joes in the sur. Yummy food and only a two minute walk from Din Jons. Eddie gets the 1/4 chicken with salad and fries and I’m working my way through the rest of the menu. So far, I’ve had the chicken tacos and the fish tacos and next time I’m going to try their Peruvian Ceviche, which is made with grouper.
Restaurant next door – when you want gallo pinto and casados


Final days at Pavones

On Sunday morning we drove past Pavones, which was small, clean and peeling along the beach with only two guys on it, down to Roger’s favourite spot Punto Banco, which was smaller, with mostly fat, crumbling waves that, even when they did peel, sectioned off into unrideable pus. I couldn’t bring myself to paddle out. When he saw that his favourite right-hand reef-break wasn’t working, Roger wasn’t keen either. But Eddie was determined, so he paddled out and eventually drifted way down the beach towards a break called La Plaza, named for the plaza across the road from the beach, and stayed there for three hours.

Rocky in the morning
Roger and I sat back in a couple of plastic adirondack chairs set up under a canopy of coconut palms and waited for the surf at Banco to improve on the incoming tide. Every now and then, I stood up to look down the beach and see if I could see Eddie and after about an hour I could see that he was taking off on the odd right-hander. But, Banco didn’t improve and Roger still wasn’t keen to paddle out, deciding he was tired and going to take the morning off. I’m not sure if he was tired because of all the surf he’s had over the last two weeks, or because of his new house guest and friend, Jim, an interesting and congenial man, also from Oregon, who, has taken up most of the floor and table space to sort out his fishing gear, “drinks a lot of rum”, and made the huge mistake of losing his keys for the house and garage for a few hours yesterday.
Looking down the beach towards La Plaza
After about two and a half hours relaxing in the adirondacks, Roger and I decided to drive down to La Plaza to see what was keeping Eddie in the surf. It turned out, if we’d been sitting in front of La Plaza I would’ve paddled out a couple of hours earlier. It wasn’t as good as Pavones, but it was a respectable beach break, with lefts and rights, a little bit of wind on it and a solid 3-4 foot. Too late now! Eddie finally caught his last wave and came in to ask why we hadn’t joined him hours ago.
Driving from Banco to La Plaza
On Monday we all paddled out at Banco at about 8:30am to avoid the dead low tide. There were still some nice 3-4 foot waves around, but, of course, Eddie kept telling us it was better on Sunday. By the time I paddled to the beach at about 10:45am, the day was clear, the sun was hot, and even though I’d applied a ton of 50SPF sunblock, I still managed to get a good sunburn on my bum!
We had our last surf with Roger at Banco this morning. Not the best waves we’ve had by far, but that’s OK, because tomorrow we’re off to Santa Teresa on the Nicoya Peninsula just in time for another big swell to come through.
Eddie and Roger tying down their surfboards after this morning’s surf