TNS456 15/02/2016 

We set off on the morning of the twelfth for an adventure not fully realizing the excitement and fun we were going to experience. We were met on the beach by our two dazzling Costa Rican guides. From the word go, we were putty in their hands; girls and boys alike…

After half an hour of bone shaking Nissan and Toyota trucks we arrived into a heavenly hacienda, greeted with fresh coffee and a friendly face. With no time to waste, we were suited and booted i.e. Stripped to our swimmers and equipped with life jackets (don’t ask), and given a leg up on to our horses. During the twenty minute hack to Rio Claro, Eric our guide told us about the rainforest: the vines, the birds, the monkeys and the enormous trees.

Eric led the way into the river and it was then that we realised that there are many more comfortable ways to wear a life jacket when you are walking down a shallow river. Some of us wore them as nappies as modelled by the gorgeous Carlos. Others lay on the jackets in the manner suggested by Eric who led the way by jumping into the first deep pool we saw. We were at all times monitored by our guide who looked after all safety aspects of a crowd of jolly sailors.

Our float down the river was sublime. It was a truly magical and surreal experience. Everywhere we looked the forest was alive with activity. Bobbing around in the crystal clear waters, we saw capuchin monkeys who succeeded in trying to chase away a predatory White Hawk, a family of spider monkeys dancing in the vines and a toucan. Eric and Carlos turned out to be graduates of the Tropical Forest Whistling College. They seemed to be able to imitate so many birds and called the monkeys to come closer to us.

At times we were swimming out of our depth and at other times we were forced to walk like a crocodile in order to cross the shallow rapids. Smoko consisted of sitting on rocks in the middle of the river eating fresh pineapple, with the sun filtering through the lush valley vegetation. We then retraced our steps and remounted our steeds who took us back for a late lunch at the hacienda. The food was superb and we all felt what a perfect day we had.

On arriving back at Drake Bay, we found the rest of the voyage crew where we had left them, relaxing in a posh hotel. Deck Officer Cadet Banks aka Matt wants to let his mother know that he missed out on a cracking day with the beautiful people.

Today we weighed anchor and motored a short distance to Isla Del Cano (unfortunately the wind is still too slight to sail). Here we were able to snorkel and hike and soak up some more idyllic island life on a deserted beach. The icing on the cake was possibly the best sunset yet, with the perfect scattering of clouds which caught all the colours of the rainbow.

Lara AS and Hywell.AP