31 Mar 2015

Up up and Away on Chris's Birthday

Finally I am able to upload the blog, after a couple of weeks with very little power or no internet (and never both at the same time) and are now in a cafe with internet in a small town in the middle of the jungle.

After 3 more days at Pearl Lagoon we all went back to El Rama for another night in a Hotel before saying goodbye to Shannon, Mike and Cisco, but not before being branded as savages by the Hotel Receptionist. All 3 bikers walked in covered with mud  as we arrived in a torrential downpour) and Cisco thought it best to remove his boots and outer gear inside the door to avoid spreading any more mud, but this left him walking around reception in his underpants!

After another night and a wonderful meal in Granada we made our way to Gigante on the coast for 4 days of rest and recouperation camped next to a really nice Hostel on the beach. The bad news was meeting some Canadiens with a RHD Toyota (imported to Canada from Japan) that were refused entry to Costa Rica (our next stop) due to the RHD. Two days later we head for the border, enlist the services of a fixer and $50 does the trick.

We then have a series of 1 night stops through the hills, including a night next to a really nice restaurant overlooking Lake Arenal, a dip in a Spa, which is actully a large hot stream in the jungle and a night in the car park of an Adventure Park. It is Chris's birthday the following day so we do a hanging bridges walk in the morning and take on 9 zip lines up to a mile long before heading back to the coast and hot weather once more.

Another night in a restaurant car park, 2 nights at what looked like a refugee camp (we only stopped 2 nights because they had a washing machine) and now we are at  Puerto Jiminez, on the Osa Peninsular joined yesterday once more by Shannon and Mike (Cisco went his own way a couple of days before). Sadly they are no longer with Ducatti the Chihuahua who fell from a ledge at their camp site on Ometepe and broke his neck, RIP Ducati.

The camp site we are at is really amazing, just behind the beach (with water so calm and warm you hardly notice you are in) and close to the town, is full of wild life.Iguanas roaming the ground and up in the trees, one even tried to pee on me from high in a tree because I was getting to close to its mate on the ground. Scarlet Macaws arguing high up in the trees, the occasional Toucan landing in the tree next to us, plus a multitude of other birds large and small. The stars however are two young crocadiles in the small lagoon next to camp, currently 3 and 4 metres respectively will eventually grow to over 5 metres. The camp owener took meat to the shore last night and they both came up on the bank to feed.

We have been at panick stations over the last few days once we got the news that the ferry service from Panama to Columbia ceases on April 20, so lots of research and emails looking at crossing now and taking a flight back from Bogata instead of Panama,  in the end we decided to stick to the plan, but we have met a number of overlanders that have speeded up to make the ferry before it stops running. We are now back to shipping by container in June as there were too many things to re-arrange and go wrong in too shorter time.

Mike, Shanon, Chris and I doing our Vietnamese boat people impression, I was smiling at this point, but not for long!

Cisco, looking like the slave overseer on a Roman Ship

 Our third of 4 breakdowns on our trip to Bluefields, they think it is dodgy fuel so a guy from another boat provided his fuel.

 Time for tea on the road from Pearl Lagoon back to El Rama, to see a film of the road to Pearl Laggoon  link to road video click on following link, put together by shannon, using footage from her and my go-pros.

 Parting again

 I get the big seat

 Crockadile on a rock in the river

The view from the Restaurant we camped next too
 Climbing inside a tree up to one of the hanging bridges.

Chris getting ready to do the longest zip line, almost a mile long

Chris coming in like a bullet after reaching a speed of over 50 MPH.

 Almost there

Cant remember the name but of the Racoon familly

 The smaller of the two crocs in the lagoon tricked into attacking a leaf thinking it was meat (the next evening they were fed meat, but too late to get a decent picture.

An ant eater sauntering across the road in front of us, not at all bothered about us getting up close to take photos

 Feeding the crocks at dusk

8 Mar 2015

Announcing the funeral of Mr Alvin Thundafux

So there we were, doing our tourist bit, Leon and then Granada and we get an email from Mike and Shannon (on 2 motor bikes with Ducati the Chihuahua) with a challenge to join them to drive across to Pearl Lagoon on the Mosquito (Caribbean) Coast (on the other side of Nicaragua). Very few tourists visit this area and those that do fly in by small aircraft.

They were still a few days away, so we decide to ship the cruiser over to the Island of Ometepe (dominated by two massive volcanoes) for a few days while we wait.

Once back on the mainland we realise we are just 20 miles from Costa Rica and here we are setting off for almost 300 miles in the wrong direction!

Next day we meet up with Mike, Shannon and Ducati, plus Cisco, a third motorcyclist from Guatemala and together we set off on a rough muddy track to Pearl Lagoon, with lots of massive puddles (that Shannon always takes a little to fast and soaks herself).

All goes well until we set off again after a short break, Shannon skids on the mud and ends up on her side with the front wheel in the bushes. Mike sees this in his mirror, stops, puts his bike on the stand and starts back to help. Shannon gets out from under her bike and immediately starts sprinting towards Mike’s bike that has toppled over into the ditch with Ducati in his bag strapped onto the back seat. After a few moments of bedlam everyone confirms to everyone else that they are OK, the bikes are righted, start with no problem and we resume our journey with no further incident.

A couple of hours later we were parked in the middle of the village, with quite a few onlookers (3 loaded motor bikes and our landcruiser causing a lot of interest as we came in) and an old guy with a loud haler in one hand and the other arm dangling useless by his side comes limping down the road announcing that the funeral of Mr. Alvin Thundafux will commence at the church at 2 pm the following day, it just could not get anymore bizarre.

We find a Hotel (too wet to camp) with a few tourists who have all come via boat and can't believe we have actually driven here. We are also pretty sure that we have the only UK registered vehicle that has ever been here!

To cap it all, we then talk to some Canadians visiting family in the village that were surprised that we drove through Mexico because it is so dangerous!

Today has been a rest day, getting caught in the occasional deluge, having a few beers and doing the blog. Tomorrow we take the boat to Bluefileds (06.00 start! I'm going to have to sleep on the jetty) and maybe a trip out to one of the islands before finally heading for Costa Rica.

Fabulous Finca Los Alpes between Leon and the beach.

Meet the Lallys, a family of 5 going home from the US to Ireland the long way.

View from the roof of the Cathedral in Leon


A view of one Volcano from half way up the other on the island of Ometepe

Shannon speeding through the puddles.

 We stop for a break

 Mike contemplates righting Shannon's bike

Arriving at our Hotel (no room for the cruiser but I find someone down the road to look after it).