Our Class IV boaters had a front row seat this week to the incredible power of water. The week started out with two gorgeous sunny days here in Costa Rica, giving us a chance to warm up and then enjoy the Lower Pacuare (a must for any level trip) before what seemed like a moderate overnight rain turned into a maelstrom.
After such great weather we were initially unfazed by moderate rainfall over night….until it continued into the morning and then hit full force, inundating the caribe zone/montains. Almost within hours we were in the middle of a full fledged flood situation. Fortunately the group was not indecisive when it came to whether to continue on our Class IV itinerary and gamble things would settle down, or change course and head for sunnier zones. We spent about 30 minutes watching rain fall so hard that even Miguel–who is typically unfazed on the road, began to get nervous about driving. That was all it took to convince us to turn our vehicle around from the route to the Sarapiqui and head west to the coast.
Miguel–our resilient road guide, got us safely to the coast in time to catch some great surf for the afternoon!!
The Rio Naranjo gave us the best example of how powerful the water can be. The effects of Hurricane Tomas were felt in Costa Rica just a month ago. The west coast was underwater. And landslides on the upper end of the Naranjo created a dam…temporarily. When the water broke through it came raging down the Naranjo, tearing the river bed apart with giant boulders digging out new channels 100 years wide. At one spot, nine houses were destroyed.
The irony of it all is that just three days after departing the rains of the caribe, we finished up the week with a day so sunny we got one of the Colorado boys to discard his dry top and enjoy paddling in the sunshine!!
This week was about a solid group of Class IV boaters dealing with altered itineraries, changing expectations, and appreciating being able to paddle in Costa Rica at a time when residents were watching their couches float away. We were fortunate to have such a great week of paddling; while at the same time well-aware that others were struggling for survival in the midst of our fortune. It definitely made us humbly thankful.