Corcovado National Park

Each week, one of our staff responsibilities on the ship is to write a Daily Expedition Report (DER). These can be found on the Lindblad website under “Guest Experiences” if you’d like to read about what’s happening on the fleet’s ships all over the world. I wrote the DER for today, and here it is!

29 December, 2011
Caletas and San Pedrillo, Corcovado National Park

We spent the night anchored in the sheltered waters of Drake’s Bay on the northwestern edge of the Osa Peninsula. During breakfast the National Geographic Sea Lion repositioned a short ways south of Drake’s Bay to a place called Caletas in Costa Rica’s rugged Corcovado National Park. The park is known for its dense vegetation, abundant bird and wildlife populations, and beautiful coastline adorned with sandy beaches and rocky outcroppings. Corcovado is a great place to explore and we had the good fortune of spending several hours there this morning. For our morning activities, our naturalists led several jungle walks through the rainforest, pointing out interesting species of plants and trees and using their spotting scopes and binoculars to find birds, monkeys, and other wildlife. There was an option to do a long, vigorous loop that traversed several steep inclines, or to do a more mellow, leisurely walk that allowed for ample time to search out wildlife. Several guests also took the opportunity to go horseback riding along a trail that paralleled the coast and meandered through both forest and beaches. At the end of the horse trail there was a refreshing river where the riders could cool off and relax before returning back along the same trail.

The hotel staff and galley treated us to a delicious BBQ lunch ashore complete with hamburgers, hotdogs, and blondies for dessert. While eating, we were entertained by several pairs of macaws that flew by and a capuchin monkey perched high in a tree. All too soon it was time to return to the ship for a short reprieve before commencing our afternoon activities.

After a brief reposition down the coast of the Osa Peninsula, we dropped anchor again at a a place called San Pedrillo. We arrived at the sandy beach by Zodiac and after washing the sand from our feet and changing into sneakers or hiking boots, we set off down the trail. Like this morning, there were two hiking options. One was a more strenuous hike to a beautiful waterfall and the other was more flat and ran along the shoreline. Both walks were beautiful and reminded us of what a diverse and lush ecosystem we were visiting. Several guests even spotted a crocodile! But thankfully it wasn’t in the swimming hole they were swimming in.

The National Geographic Sea Lion set sail just in time for us to enjoy a nice sunset on the aft bridge deck. Tomorrow is another full day of exploring and enjoying this beautiful country!

Becky Timbers, Wellness Specialist

In Fairy Land

Well, I finally made it to Alaska, after 24 hours of sitting in airports, standing in lines, squirming in airplane seats, and not really knowing whether I’d make it to Sitka on time. My flight from Miami to Dallas got delayed three hours due to bad whether in Texas, so I grudgingly accepted that I would miss my connecting flight from Dallas to Seattle, but kept my fingers crossed that I could jump on a later one. We finally got underway and arrived in Dallas around 9:30 pm where I spent the next two hours standing in line waiting to see whether I could get on the last flight from Dallas to Seattle (which already had 62 people on standby – the weather in Dallas had messed up many peoples flights significantly and the airport was teaming with stranded travelers. I could only laugh when I saw airport workers roll out stacks of army cots for people to sleep on).

I must have good karma because when I finally reached the counter and gave the woman my ticket (the one for my 6:00 flight), she promptly printed out a boarding pass for Seattle. Somehow I had already been confirmed, which made my night look a lot more manageable.

I slept most of the way to Seattle and by the time we touched down it was almost 2 am. I had a hotel booked through Lindblad, so I picked up my bag (slightly amazed that it made it) and took the shuttle to my hotel to sleep for the next three hours… I had to be back at the airport at 6:15 to catch my 7:45 flight to Juneau and connecting flight to Sitka.

It was uncertain at times whether I’d make it, but I am on the ship now and just returned from a beautiful hike a few miles outside of Sitka. I went with Lavon, the purser, and we hiked up through the mossy forest and old-growth trees to a cascading waterfall, and then down to a small lake nestled between steep ridges. I can’t even describe how beautiful it was. I felt like I was in a fairy land. Lavon brought her camera, so hopefully I can upload some pics later.

My last day in Miami was good, but I wasn’t ready to leave! The evening before I did a water massage workshop, which was amazing! The instructor had made props out of foam noodles that supported our heads and legs. Then we took turns either floating and receiving, or giving the ‘massage’. It’s not really a massage in the sense that you palpate the body. Instead you use your hands, the traction made from moving in the water, and your own body motions to move the other person. It felt amazing to both receive and give and it’s definitely something I want to pursue later. The next morning, after yoga class on the dock, Mina and I had a nice chat over breakfast (really good homemade granola!) about my new position and the company in general. We did a bit more training for the treatments on the ship and then it was time to leave!

Being staff now is a lot different. It was weird to step on the ship and know that I didn’t have to worry about getting my cabins turned or setting up the dining room for dinner. I didn’t really have any obligations, so that’s why I got to go for a hike. Being Wellness Specialist will be a lot more laid back and less stressful, which I’m very very grateful about!

It’s HOT! Here!

I’ve only been in Costa Rica for three days and already I’ve seen so much. I’ll start at the beginning. I arrived in San Jose around 6:30 Friday evening and spent a good 45 minutes standing in the customs line getting hotter and hotter in my long sleeved shirt. Other than that, though, my flight were good, although there was a little delay in Burlington when I presented my one-way ticket to Costa Rica at the check-in counter. Apparently you need to have a two-way ticket or a visa to enter the country, neither of which I had. But, a letter from the offices of Lindblad stating that I was working on a cruise ship got me onto the plane.

After I passed through customs in Costa Rica, I boarded a shuttle bus that took me three minutes down the road to my hotel. Best news of the day? Free international calls and free WiFi! So, after a shower to cool me down, I spent the rest of my evening sprawled out on my king-sized bed, talking to my parents and chatting with my boyfriend, Ben, who I really wish was down here with me.

I rose around six the next morning and meditated for 20 minutes, then gathered my stuff and went to checkout. The transfer guide, wearing a beige Lindblad polo was in the lobby to take me and four others the meet the Sea Lion. The drive was beautiful. Everything is so green and mountainous and every other tree is a mango tree! (I love mangoes). It took us about two hours to arrive at the marina where the Sea Lion was docked. On the way, we stopped at a bridge where we could see crocodiles basking in the sun, half-submerged in the water below. There must have been 20 or 30 of them!

It was so good to see the ship again! Almost like coming home. As expected I was put right to work turning rooms for the next group of guests. I was hot when I first arrived, but I got even hotter as the day progressed. It was actually nice being inside the rooms because they’re air conditioned. At around 3:30 the rope swing from the lido deck was set up and we took turns jumping off the 200 level into the warm, but refreshing Pacific water. I attempted to do a back dive, but ended up doing a belly flop.

With rooms done and swimming over, I didn’t have much time but to shower and dress for dinner service. It’s been a year since I was last on the ship, but everything from cleaning rooms to serving meals, has come back as if I had never left. This morning, after serving a 7:00 breakfast (meaning I have to wake up at 5:55) I made my beds as fast as I could, mopping my face every two minutes, then boarded a zodiac to shore. We were anchored right off of Manuel Antonio Park and I spent a few hours walking along the jungle trails and watching monkey’s swing through the trees. Back at the beach I was just about to get in a zodiac headed back to the ship when I spotted a GIANT iguana hiding in the shade beneath a tree. It looked like something from the prehistoric age. I quickly snapped some photos, then rushed back for lunch service. Not bad for two days in Costa Rica.

Today was another good day. It started off a little rainy, but by the afternoon, the sun was shining and the heat was on. After lunch I went ashore for hike through the jungle up to a waterfall and to swim in the fresh-water pools. It felt so refreshing! On the way back Luke, another steward, and I spotted a small crocodile not far from where we had been swimming… At least he looked content lying on a rock, basking in the sun. Back at the beach, I still had a little while before I needed to be back on the ship, so I practiced some yoga on the grassy lawn by the trailhead. It has been a bit tricky to do yoga on the ship because the boat rocks quite a bit, but I’m managing!