Waking up to a thunderous tropical storm, the sounds of the rain simply pouring from the heavens, and the smells of washed earth wafting in from your open cabana window is a wondrous way to start a day. You feel small, but alive.
Realizing you booked a kayaking tour and you have to go out in it. Not so great.
Making our way to the dock, we were already soaked. Whatever semi-dry spots were left became drenched as we sat on the wet benches of the uncovered motor boat. Why did I bother to get dressed? Why am I not just sitting here in a bathing suit?
The little motor boat putts up the river, stops in at the park station to register our visit. It’s 6:00am. Tortuguero National Park is highly protected; every boat, every person who enters the Park is tracked and your entry can only take place during four 30-60 minutes windows throughout the day. They know we’re coming, and within minutes, our four person crew is puttering through potentially the most green, lush canals on earth. The space is breathtaking.
Beyond protecting the time and number of entrants, motorized boats are only allowed down the large, main canals within the rainforest. If you want to go further, you’ve got to paddle it. So we venture as far as we can down our captain’s canal of choice and slip our two kayaks into the water.
It is utter silence. Yet it is anything but quiet.
So far from any kind of settlement, miles and miles from a roadway, there is zero noise pollution. Zero. And the jungle fills in the gaps.
The remnants of the storm is our soundtrack: light rain hitting the surface and water falling from the tree leaves, making magical patterns across the canal; birds and animals just starting to wake up.
We are paddling through an untouched world. Trees stretching up to the sky. Undergrowth so thick with vines and flowers. Birds drying their wings. Monkeys hanging out overhead.
It is so peaceful, tranquil. All I can think, and say, is how beautiful it is. You feel small, but alive.
We paddle our way back to the little motor boat and our patient captain waiting under a giant golf umbrella. The ride back is joyous, and reflective. Every inch of me is soaking wet and every inch of me is happy.