Erika Hernandez, Expedition Guide, Safari Voyager
The morning was grey and gloomy but the warm tropical air felt good.
The rains are heavy and non-stop in the rainforest sometimes, and this day was the perfect example.
I was excited about our hike at Campanario Biological Field Station but I was nervous that no one would participate in the activities because of the weather.
However, when I made the announcement for my group, I was surprised to see everyone was ready for it!
Even when it rains it is amazingly beautiful here. And once we’re certain that we’ll be soaked from the inside out, we let go of all worries and become children again, walking in a tropical forest on muddy trails and enjoying life outside our comfort zones.
Unable to bring equipment that might get damaged by the rain forced us to witness things with our own eyes, rather than through lenses.
The absolute disconnection from any technology brought us to the present and then, our eyes glowed big and wide with all the different colors, smells and shapes of the living things in this magnificent place full of biodiversity.
It’s one of the most intense places on Earth.
This day was not one of those days to see monkeys, sloths or even birds (although we got to see a few of them). It was a day to simply enjoy a hike outside and talk about the coexistence of plants to explain the orderly chaos of the Neotropics.
It was a day to feel like the first explorers crossing an indomitable jungle, and for some, to be thankful for the cozy dry clothes waiting for them at their cabin.
After the hike, we all went back to the ship energized and happy for the unique experience we had just shared.
However, our day was not over.
The Safari Voyager went into expedition mode and we moved to Golfo Dulce, a place with calmer waters and a little less rain. It was announced that we would do a night hike in the jungle and a skiff tour through the mangrove systems of Rio Esquinas.
Everyone seemed excited at the thought of being outside at night, and I was the lucky guide who got to lead the skiff tour.
After dinner, everyone got ready. The rain had stopped and the moon began to shyly show her face between the big cotton ball clouds.
Tony was our skiff driver and what a blessing it was as his superpower is night vision! Tony was born and raised in this area and he can spot things that I would never be able to find in a million years.
With our lamps ready, we set out for our night adventure. We saw night birds, fishing bats and explored in the mangrove system while the Safari Voyager illuminated the horizon, making beautiful designs of different colors in the water.
At one point, the sky opened up and we could see the constellation of Orion behind a two toed sloth slowly moving on top of a high branch.
It was a beautiful sight and an amazing finale to one of the best days of my life.