Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cocos Island 2011 - Arrival


I moved into the park guard station on Cocos Island, Costa Rica yesterday night.  My room is sparse and my roommates were a battalion of mosquitoes and several spiders the size of my palm.




One insisted on perching on the leg of my bed.  This made me nervous and I tried to encourage him to move to the floor.  He disagreed and was more stubborn than myself.  I finally admitted defeat and in the AM found him in the same position.  He later disappeared... as all the spiders do during the light of day..  I am hoping to beg or borrow a mosquito net today and have a sounder quality of sleep tomorrow.

Mosquitoes and spiders to the side, this island is magnifico!  It is the crown jewel in the Costa Rica National Park network and is one of the final places we find healthy numbers of large marine animals on earth today.  It is the largest uninhabited island in the world (while I am staying here now... there are no permanent residents, only short term caretakers who rotate in and out)
 
With over 300 waterfalls visible as you circumnavigate the island and with, steep, lush, emerald walls that plummet hundreds of feet into crashing waves, the vista appears to be a Tolkien concoction of Middle Earth with Elfinkind fairies not far away. White Holy Spirit Terns air dance and brown and red-footed boobies dive into the sea as they hunt for unsuspecting fish.

Visiting Cocos Island on the heels of realizing the AB 376 success (California anti-finning bill) has special meaning. The surrounding waters boast huge schools of scalloped hammerheads, white-tip sharks by the hundreds, fat-and-happy Galapagos and Silky sharks, dolphin, turtles and myriad other animals.  Also in large numbers are the poaching vessels that dot the horizon... Some blatantly casting their lines only a mile from the ranger station.  We need to pull international attention to this problem. 

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