Friday, June 8, 2007

Cocodrilo en Salsa

So there we were...My friend Ashton, for the past few weeks, has been hounding me to paddle up the Langosta estuary with him in kayaks so finally out of lame excuses and feeling even lamer about being so lazy, I relented knowing that as soon as I sat in the boat it was probably going to be really fun anyway. We went and picked out boats, slathered on some sun screen, and dragged our goods down to the river's edge.

"You know, we're doing this at the most difficult time right?" Ashton asked as I fought the initial wobbles of being in a boat and we started our paddle up stream. The tide was going out and the current from the river was running shallow and strong towards the sea. "That's ok," I said, "I could use the exercize anyway", thinking about the load of "hey you got fat in the US" comments I've received from the Ticos.

After getting situated and remembering what I had been tought in my Chattahoochee kayak lesson from older days, we made it around the bend and up into the woods. I was shocked to see how quickly we left behind any trace of human influence and slid into through neighborhoods where the locals are river oysters an purple fiddler crabs lined up on the shore watching the strangers cruise past.

The further up we went the narrower the pass got and soon we were busy dodging the branches from either shore reaching down into the murky water. "The general estuary rule here is 'don't touch it'" Ashton said as we slid under our first low hanging branch. "That's the best way to get bitten by a weird spider or have one of those crazy tree snakes drop in your boat."

"Great" I thought to myself.

Despite my being green in a kayak I was having a great time learning how to paddle and steer and soon enough I finally felt comfortable enough that we could paddle one or two times and then coast in earsplittng silence up through the dense forrest.

After a slalom of four or five arched branches, we slid up, one in front of another, into a shallow lagoon, as far up as we were probably going to make it before the tide came in. I paddled once and coasted, saying over my shoulder "It looks like we've hit the end of the li..." and before I was even finished there was a huge cracking noise twenty five feet of the nose of my boat as a six foot crocodile freaked out and shot, Steeve Irwin style, straight out into the narrow pool.

What do you think my response was? Yup...scream like a girl. Yup...backpaddle and fast. I knew in my head that he was definitely way more scared than I was but I was having a hard time getting that info from my brain to my now charging arms. I was absolutely floored, laughing hysterically as I paddled hard, blasting past the branches I had gingerly snuck past fifteen minutes earlier. As I broke out into an open area (where I couldn't see any crocodiles) I finally stopped paddling and coasted, leaning back in the boat panting.

"That was insane," I said to Ashton.
"That happens all the time," he said.
"If that's the case...can we do this again tomorrow?" I asked guessing that there was probably no way I'd get to see that again in my whole life.
"Any time," he said.

We paddled back out, taking a break on the shore in front of the ocean before heading out to try my hand at kayak surfing...and now I'm addicted. Every time my arms ached as I rolled over in my sleep, I would grin and replay that lizzard ricocheting off the water in my mind.


Cheilita said...

OH MY GOD!!!!!! and here i am being scared to kayak down the lazy river in the county park! YIKES!

Nate said...

I think I like you Zachary Meloy.

zachary said...


Tyler said...

Holy crap!! I just had serious Crocodile Dundee flashbacks... You are such a wilderness man. Glad all appendages made it out intact. :)