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  COSTA RICA, FEBRUARY 24th, 2006 – DAY 356

Incredible! A year already since we left everything to live our adventure around the world. We are very proud to have accomplished this first year without any big problems occurring. While writing these few lines, we’re about to take the plane that will bring us to see our family and friends for a month in Quebec. The idea of meeting the ones we love gives us butterflies in the stomach. After all this time, we have tons of things to tell each other. We are ready for this magic moment, but our adventure is far form being over yet. If everything goes like planned, we still have three years of adventure in front of us.

Patrick et Caroline à l'aéroport de San José
At the airport of San Jose, Costa Rica


Un tique dans la peau
A tick under the skin

SCORPIONS, SPIDERS AND poisonous snakes
We just left the jungle of Costa Rica where we stayed more than two months. This country has a biodiversity unique in the world; so pleasant to discover. We find everything: birds with flaming colors, curious mammals, dangerous reptiles, strange insects and toxic amphibians. Even if we appreciate these fascinating bugs, we prefer them keeping a certain distance.


It was night time when we came back from the village of Playa Cacao. Equipped with our frontal lamps, of which the intensity was diminished by batteries almost uncharged, we took the path that brought us to our camp. When enlightening the underbrush, it is often possible to see little gleaming eyes. There are active animals all around us, but they always keep off. It makes it more fascinating than frightening. The time we were the most scared was when we came face to face with a fer-de-lance, a poisonous and deadly snake. It was lying down the path; it was at least 2 meters long. We surprised it at only 3 meters from it. Promptly, our feet were rooted on the ground. It was out of the question of taking one more step.

Le serpent fer-de-lance
Bothrops atrox, by no means should you
disturb it


Caroline effrayée par le serpent
Caroline didn’t appreciate running into that snake

Quite obviously, Caroline was so frightened that she became dizzy. With the camera in his hands, Patrick went around the snake to photograph and identify it with certitude. In general, the locals would have killed it because it was at only a few meters from our working place. Since we didn’t have a machete with us and didn’t know the animal’s potential reaction, we didn’t try to kill it. Afterwards we heard that a couple of years before, another fer-de-lance lead Don Alvaro (the man with who we are sharing the place) to the hospital for ten days and that his brother died from its bite. As to us, it will have left us cold footed and gave us some nightmares.


We found a scorpion under our mattress, another in the roofing and a third one, a baby, under a mirror positioned on the floor. No need to mention that we pay a lot of attention to where we put our hands. Even if that specie isn’t deadly to humans, we prefer avoiding its dart. After the discovery of the baby scorpion, we cleaned everything to make sure that the mommy didn’t have a huge offspring. Hopefully, we won’t have any other similar room mates. 

Scorpion du Costa Rica
One of our three roomates


After a half hour turtle step walk to take pictures of insects, Patrick heard something that sounded different from the sound of the cicada. He first thought it was a baby feline because it sounded like a meow. He leaves the path and tries to locate the origin of the sound. Suddenly appears two gray hairballs. It was two sloths hanging from a branch at 70 feet from the ground. Right away, he grabs his recorder to capture that animal’s sound. At this moment, one of the sloths unhooks itself from the branch, coming down right towards Patrick. Just in time, after a fall of about 30 feet, it hooks itself back on a branch which it dashed into. Our photograph took advantage of the situation to get closer shots.  

Paresseux du Costa Rica
A sloth

Patrick et Caroline sous la tente
Sleeping sheltered from insects

The climatic conditions of this part of Costa Rica can be very exhausting. Already, at 7 o’clock in the morning, the sun crushes us under a heat of 38°C. The presence of the sea makes the air filled with humidity, about 85%. This makes our work much harder, and we can better understand why Costa Ricans work at a slower rhythm than North Americans. In Zamia, for the sustainable development project, we must transport all the necessary material by a pedestrian trail more than a kilometre long. It’s nothing to make the work easier. Nonetheless, the fact that it’s far gives it all its charms.


After Alvaro left, the guardian of the place, to visit his family for a week, we spent a couple of days without running water. Everyday, we had to pick up the river’s water and wash ourselves in it under the looks of howling monkeys. We couldn’t feel more in nature! At Alavaro’s return, the water problem was fixed up in three minutes. We had checked all the pipes, but never would we have thought that an air accumulation in the tubes would have stopped the water from running.

Patrick et Caroline se lavent sous le regard des singes
Washing ourselves with monkeys staring
Patrick à la recherche d'or

Playa Cacao’s village will forever be engraved in our best memories. There, we discovered a tranquility that we never found elsewhere. This unique contact with nature reminds us that there is a Creator much more powerful than us, and it’s our duty to protect its work of art.


Patrick gold searching, without success

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