Thursday, December 11, 2008


I have a new obsession: mangroves. Man are they a cool ecosystem. I had the chance to go kayaking last week in the mangroves near Manuel Antonio. It was a 3 hour trip, some how I ended up being the only one in a single, but I managed to just keep up.
Mangroves grow in the places where fresh and saltwater meet, they grow in the mud that is deposited by freshwater on its way out to the ocean. The way that they survive living in the oxygen poor mud and water is by growing these crazy root systems that are exposed at low tide. Different species use different systems to accomplish respiration, some have little snorkel like tubes that stick out of the mud, some grow father up the shore line, some have tall root systems that stick out of the water. Ooooo they are cool.
But the best, most amazing part are the super tall white mangroves. They can be 10-20 meters tall, have long trunks and amazing roots that support their heavy trunks. They only grow back from the main canals as they need firmer mud to support them. Along the canals grow the shorter more bushy red mangroves and the pine mangroves.
The nice part about being in the kayaks is that is was super quiet, we could hear everything, and mangrove forests make a lot of noise. Sort of like a bowl of rice krispies, cracking and popping, I am not sure what makes the noise but it is really amazing. The whole thing reminded me of the life of pi, when he gets stuck on that island for a while.
On the paddle back home we fed some capuchin monkeys palm fruits (one of their normal foods, unlike bananas). My passengers were totally stoked on it, I was pretty impressed but kept my distance, I still haven't gotten over the monkey attack in Nicaragua.
There is something so magical about being out on the water under your own command, sans motor, just cruising along. I think that the weirdness or other worldliness of the mangroves makes the whole thing more special.
okay I am going to take my dreamy self and get ready to start my next trip.

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