Quepos, Costa Rica

Whitewater rafting on the Sauvegre River . Its a long time since we have done whitewater rafting, and certainly this river in Costa Rica was nothing like the rafting we had done in New Zealand. But we are older now, so probably this was about the correct level for us these days. I stowed my camera in a waterproof bag - one never knows what will happen along the way. And once clad in helmets and life jackets, we were ready to take to the rapids - well it was mainly fast current, interposed with short white water stretches

A bus took us from the ship, for an hour into the hills, and a bonus was a sloth sighting along the way. There were also acres and acres of the ubiquitous Palm Oil plantations - Costa Rica claims that they have just been replanted on old Banana Plantations, and that no new forest has been cleared.

Sloths are extremely cute, arboreal mammals noted for slowness of movement and for spending most of their lives hanging upside down in the trees of the tropical rain forests of South America and Central America. I would also add that they are very difficult animals to photograph, as they hang motionless in the branches of trees, and it is difficult to get a camera angle that shows the sloth's full body. The six species are in two families: two-toed sloths and three-toed sloths. The sloth is so named because of its very low metabolism and deliberate movements, sloth being related to the word slow. This supports their low-energy diet of leaves and avoids detection by predatory hawks and cats that hunt by sight. Sloths are almost helpless on the ground but are able to swim. The shaggy coat has grooved hair that is host to symbiotic green algae which camouflages the animal in the trees and provides it nutrients. They have made adaptations to arboreal browsing. Leaves, their main food source, provide very little energy or nutrients, and do not digest easily, so sloths have large, slow-acting stomachs with multiple compartments in which symbiotic bacteria break down the tough leaves. Sloths go to the ground to urinate and defecate about once a week, digging a hole and covering it afterwards. They go to the same spot each time and are vulnerable to predation while doing so.

Once we left the river bank, it was the first minute that was the roughest: after that I don't think Chris worried quite so much. In the non fast parts of the river, there was time to look out for birds and other animals. In the faster flowing parts we had to concentrate more on the task at hand. I could not use my camera in the wetter parts of the river, but the stitched in photos represent what happened to us over the whole experience. The boys were very brave and had to do the whole thing without helmets or life jackets as the rafting company did not have any small enough.

At the end of our float, there was fruit and water waiting before being bussed back to the ship. Chris could probably have done more with a stiff drink!

Click on any of the thumbnails to get a bigger version of the picture

On to next port- Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Silver Explorer Oct 2019