I spent our day off enjoying the sights and sounds of Costa Rica by taking the bus down to Manuel Antonio National Park. At the park entrance, I bought a “pipa fria” which is a common staple on the beaches and streets. Pulled out of a cooler and with a chop of a machete, straw inserted, I am handed a ice cold coconut which contains about a cup and a half of fresh coconut water. The perfect way to hydrate before the 2 or so mile trek to the beach through the jungle park trails.
I reached the beach along with the other visitors. I found it strange that the sand on this side of the peninsula was almost white. A complete contrast of the “chocolate” sands just on the other side.
There were quite a few more people there than I expected for a Tuesday. There were also a TON of monkeys and I was surprised how close they came to everyone. The iguanas and hermit crabs were everywhere and there were also a few raccoons running around eating up scraps of food left by the visitors.
I wondered off and found a trail that lead to another beach that was completely empty! “SCORE” I thought to myself as I started my walk down the shore. I swan and combed the beach in amazement that I was completely alone. After a couple of hours of swimming and enjoying the solitude, I spotted a shack at the end of the beach by the rocks and headed over to explore. It was some sort of a ranger station and I spot two park rangers that looked puzzled to see me. They asked what I was doing and I explained that I had just been enjoying this amazing beach all to myself. One of the rangers whipped out his iPhone and asked if I had any idea why there was no one here. He then proceeded to show me a picture he has taken earlier of a huge crocodile that was spotted in the area! I guess I must have missed the memo, or the sign that I bypassed by taking my own off the path route. Oops…oh well….guess it’s time to head back to Manuel for my surf lesson with Bati. Finished the day with some good waves, good surf, good company and no crocks!
That night and the next couple of days were spent studying more dive theory and polishing our presentations in and out of the water. We also completed our EFR Instructor course which ended up providing some great entertainment! Georgia also managed to squeeze in a Nitrox and Equipment Specialty Instructor certs for us. She continued to reiterate our knowledge and skills as the anticipation of the upcoming IE was starting to wear on our nerves. The days were long and the nights were becoming less restful and before we knew it, it was the day of truth! IE was first thing in the morning at 7 am.