Snakes, spiders, dolphin etc…
So we’re running a bit late as we have been in Panama for a week now but we had to write something on the Osa Peninsula as it is the time when we got to discover the big jungle my friends! By day … and by night. The night part was scary. The bugs and spiders, it’s true. Full of it. And you might also come in the way of some felines as well. Probabilities are low but still they do exist. Which was great in the eyes of Amaury, an aberration in mine. So we spent our first day on the peninsula wandering in the jungle with our great guide Tico, a French 24 year old guy who moved there and you will know why if you read the paragraph in italic at the end of this article.
After walking in the jungle for four hours observing the wildlife and eating termites (yes we are wild), we headed to the top of a mountain to have lunch. But let’s be clear, this is not your average picnic we are talking about. We are talking about a picnic with a view, overlooking the whole jungle with the sea lying in the background and some macaws, toucans and amazons flying over our heads while monkeys were playing in the trees. Kind of like jumping in some Disney documentary on tropical wildlife. This was truly surreal. To conclude this enchanted interlude (we were out of the jungle) we headed to a rocky beach to watch what turned out to be the most beautiful / cliché sunset we’ve seen since we got here, while playing with over 5 meter high waves.
But then the sun disappeared, party was over. It was time for us to … head back to the jungle. By night this time. Damn. Good news for Amaury: Animals and insects tend to love getting some fresh air at night as the below photos will testify. Tarentulas, fer-de-lance snakes and scorpions were our partners for the night and we are proud to say we almost saw a jaguar. Or maybe was it something else close to a jaguar. Anyway we just heard a noise but this was intense enough.
And because watching bugs while walking in the mud is great but tends to be less cute than watching dolphins, we took a boat to go swim with them the next morning. Except dolphins don’t really care about human beings so we basically swam on our own but from the boat we saw lots!
Those 2 days on the peninsula were fantastic as we got to discover a part of Costa Rica we had had previews of before but never seeing so many varieties of plants, birds and insects at the same time. Biodiversity makes all its sense here and although it can get scary at times we must really thank Tico who guided us through all this with great humour and patience when necessary! Thank you for telling Amaury his aspivenin is useless unless we get bitten by a big ant or a wasp, and for giving us the real things to do in case it’s a snake. But most importantly, thank you for the fascinating stories on the jaguar photo-hunt!
Tico, story of a love affair between a French guy and the Osa Peninsula’s last jaguars
Tico first came to Costa Rica a few years ago, looking to take the first real artistic picture of the Peninsula’s last jaguars. He soon realized a simple trip there with his camera around the neck would not do. There are only 10 or maybe 15 jaguars left on the peninsula’s 100 000 ha. So deciding to have them photographed and moreover artiscally is kind of life-changer objective. But Tico is not the kind who quits and the harder the better. He decided to move to the Peninsula, raise money, mobilize a community and go for it. After a year of living full-time on the Peninsula, Tico has managed to work closely with the scientists working on the last jaguars and get engineer friends to build him the most efficient photo-traps ever to resist the pretty harsh conditions jungle implies. And he got his first picture, although a broken flash made it not totally satisfying in the eye of Tico who is a bit of a perfectionnist. Such a perfectionnist actually that he refuses to use any kind of artefact that could drive the jaguars to his photo-traps (could be food or the Obsession perfume by Calvin Klein – not a joke, it drives them nuts!) or make them look at the camera once they’re here (putting a mirror right above the trap would make it so much more easier but … no, he won’t do it). A real fascinating project in short and a great example of what patience can lead to. Looking forward to the next picture! If you want to check out Tico’s Facebook page to know more on his project it’s right here: https://www.facebook.com/ticoharoutiounianphotographer?fref=ts