Saturday, April 25, 2015

Punta Marenco

This one has taken a while to get to because it was complicated.   We got to the small port of Sierpe and found you needed to pay one of the locals to park behind their fence and gate.  So far so good.

Then we went to find our boat.  It's fairly chaotic but we found someone who said he organised the departures.   They got us on our boat but said that they hadn't been expecting us (we'd pre-booked and paid for our lodge some five months previously).   Anyway as we were paying the boat owner they didn't mind and off we went on a one hour buttock-numbing ride along the Sierpe River to Punta Marenco.

It's described as a tropical paradise with a lodge backing onto pristine jungle.  On arrival we could see both of these claims were entirely correct:


The lodge itself is up a half-mile track from the dock and it was sweltering. Thankfully the staff carried our luggage.  Absent electricity and running water there's a sometimes refilled water container and occasional tea and coffee too.

The lodge staff confirmed they weren't expecting us so we provided the paperwork Helen had very sensibly brought along, that demonstrated both the payment and confirmation and also the agent we'd used.   Smiles all round.

Next we asked about using a bird guide.  No bird guides.  OK what about a trail map?  Nope, you can't use the trails without a guide as it's too risky for non-experts to navigate.

So we're stuck on a remote shore, with no communications, limited birding in the searing heat and humidity.

We went for a little wander to calm down.   Just outside the lodge a Purple-crowned Fairy was feeding acrobatically:


We moved into our room and generally took it easy due to the heat and discomfort.

That evening over dinner they told us they couldn't identify or locate the agent but would keep trying. The sunset was lovely though:















The next morning we got up early for the second breakfast sitting (the first one was for those going out to Cocos Island - we thought about doing this but given what was described to us by people who did go, gave it a miss.   Basically there's a couple of people in a hut to validate your documents on arrival.  No facilities, no drinks and you can't get into the island proper as the jungle is impenetrable, so an expensive waste of time by the sounds of it!).  On the way to breakfast I had to dash back and grab my camera, a Scarlet Macaw was feeding on a tree in the grounds:


As the sun rose higher it provided a golden glow on the local birds including a Black Vulture:


Cherrie's Tanager:


Fiery-billed Aracari:


Golden-naped Woodpeckers:


And a Grey-capped Flycatcher:


After breakfast we decided to walk down to the beach for a look around, see this House Wren:


A sunning butterfly:



And the bit that will always stay with us from Punta Marenco, the pristine volcanic beaches:



Helen has her obligatory paddle:



This one looks like a picture postcard:



We wandered as far as the sign for the Rio Claro Turtle Conservation area, before heading back:



This is the Rio Claro heading out to sea:


After lunch I snapped, hastily, a pair of Scarlet Macaws flying over the ocean, past the lodge:


Then it was time for a nap to escape the heat.  Still no sign of our money...

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