Don’t Drop Your Keys!

I’m a bit behind on the blog, but I have a few posts to catch you up…

After leaving Islas Tortugas we spent a couple of days at Bahia Herradura reprovisioning and getting some laundry done. Then, we were off to Punta Quepos. We really wanted to go to Manuel Antonio, which is probably the number one tourist attraction in Costa Rica. It is a beautiful National Park and wildlife refuge right on the water. I had visited Manuel Antonio over 15 years ago, but Mike had never been there.

You can anchor at the park, but you get charged for anchoring. The fee wasn’t really the problem though. Because we would be anchoring inside the park, you are supposed to get the permit and pay the fees before you get there. In order to do that, you would have to go into Quepos, bus over to Manuel Antonio, pay the fees, and then move the boat from Quepos to Manuel Antonio. That seemed a bit ridiculous to us, so we decided to anchor around the corner about 6 miles away at Punta Quepos.

Punta Quepos was a beautiful little anchorage away from the town of Quepos. In order to get to the small beaches around, you either had to hike in or come by boat. The first day we were there the anchorage was nice and calm. We had a fun time paddle boarding around and checked out the beaches. We asked some locals who were renting kayaks on the beach how we would get to Manuel Antonio. They said we could hike out, walk to the main road and easily catch a bus. So, that became the plan for the next day.

We dropped the dinghy in the water the next morning and rowed to shore. The “hike” out of there was definitely that, with a rough and ragged trail up to a road. From the road we started walking in the direction we were given to get to the main road to catch the bus. What we didn’t know was that this was about a mile and a half of a windy, uphill road. By the time we finally made it out, we were a hot, sweaty mess.

We stood on the corner for a minute looking for a bus when Mike suggested we try and hitchhike. We’d had pretty good luck with hitchhiking in Costa Rica so far, so it was worth a shot. Immediately a car pulled over and we piled in. Our new friend was a 20 yr old college kid from New Jersey named Mohamed who was on vacation by himself and also headed to Manuel Antonio. He seemed glad to have the company, and so off we went to explore Manuel Antonio.

It is amazing how many people visit this little park, which is a well protected piece of rainforest that opens up onto a beautiful beach. It is also a wildlife watcher’s paradise. We saw all kinds of monkeys, sloths, iguanas, coatis, raccoons and birds. There are beautifully marked trails that take you to waterfalls and overlooks that give you fantastic views of the ocean.

After roaming around in the park for a few hours, we grabbed some lunch with Mohamed and invited him to come back to the boat with us to hang out for the afternoon. We hung out for a while and Mike jumped in the dinghy to row Mohamed back to shore so that he could find his hotel before it got dark.

I was starting to think that it was taking an awfully long time to get him back to shore when Mike suddenly appeared and said, “We’ve got a problem…” Apparently, when they were about 20 feet from shore (in about 7 or 8 feet of water), Mike suggested that Mohamed take his phone and wallet out of his pocket and set them in the dinghy, so that when they jumped out to pull the dinghy ashore they wouldn’t get wet. (There was a bit of surf on this beach and we definitely got wet getting in and out.)

When Mohamed went to pull the phone out of his pocket, the rental car key flew out and plopped down in the ocean. They quickly borrowed a mask from someone on shore, but they weren’t having any luck finding the key. So, Mike rowed back to grab his mask and fins. I grabbed mine as well and we headed back to shore.

All three of us began frantically diving down looking for the key. The main problem was that because of the surf, the sand and silt were stirred up and there was zero visibility that close to shore. We would dive down and really were only able to see the bottom when we were a foot above it.

Mike and I looked at each other thinking this was a pretty futile exercise. It was a needle in a haystack, and we had no idea what Mohamed was going to do if we didn’t find this key. He had rented the car in San Jose, hours away, and all his luggage was in the car. So, we had to find the key.

Just when we were about to give up, I made one more dive down and Voila! The key magically appeared on the ocean floor a foot away from me. I popped up and yelled, “I found it!” Mike and Mohamed both looked a bit shocked, but we were all pretty ecstatic that it turned up. Mike kept shaking his head at me the rest of the night saying, “I still can’t believe you found that key…”

So, the moral of the story is, make sure I’m around if you lose something in the ocean. Just kidding…



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