Happy Mother’s Day to my Mom! My Mom still worries about me and does all that other Mom stuff that she’s supposed to do and I love her for it!
As you can see, I did get my Mom to Costa Rica this year! She’s at the top of a overlook in Montezuma. We must have drove and parked nearby because I know I didn’t make her walk up that steep hill to get there (we had walked enough as it was!).
We had problems with flights at both ends of the trip (and a piece of my luggage was lost, I’m so thankful it wasn’t one of hers!).
And to all you other Mom’s out there, just do your best and don’t worry too (so) much. As kids we’re pretty durable and can weather much more than you think we can; and I’m talking both physically, mentally and emotionally. So just be a Mom and love us, model appropriate behavior and odds are that we’ll (mostly) turn out okay!
I’ve got to go! It’s time to get over to Mom’s and make our yearly Bahama Breeze pilgrimage!
So I had to show my Mom how to operate my digital SLR for this one. It came out pretty good. This is at the lower falls in Montezuma, Costa Rica.
I thought the colors stayed pretty good for converting this to an animated GIF, if you click the image for a larger version it looks pretty good too. I used GIFQuickMaker, which I got from the MacApp store.
Yeah, I know I’ve shown you high-def video of a similar thing not so long ago (but I’m in Montezuma again, so I’m doing it again), but I’m playing with the photos and animation software so you get it again.
I’ve got several clips of fire dancing for you! I’m in Montezuma and they did it tonight at a recycling festival. I haven’t seen it for a while, so I was pretty excited about it! I think the second one came out better since it’s tall so it’s a better zoomed in shot.
Of all the days I’ve ever been in Costa Rica I don’t think I’ve gotten up for a sunrise (and it’s probably over 80+ days over 10+ trips) . Beautiful! I might even try it again since it was a little cloudy today. But here’s a photo and a video clip…
Both of these were taken on my iPhone, I’ll try to upload higher quality ones at some point later.
I got some other traveler I’d been talking with to use my camera to video me jumping in at the upper falls in Montezuma. I’m guessing this is 30 feet(?) up, I worked out the people behind me are about 40 feet up (did some GPS based calculations a few trips ago), so maybe a little higher than 30 feet.
The water really hurt my face when I went in the water. I guess my head is tilted a little forward but I’ve jumped from the higher spot (where you can see the people) a few times before and never noticed anything. But then I can see it took me longer to come up than from the higher spot (which makes no sense either).
This isn’t the most exciting photo of the upper falls
but you can see the whole falls and the ledge where I jumped from
(the ledge on the right that looks even with the top of waterfall).
Someone else in his group got a picture of me with the SLR, but she never e-mailed it to me, which isn’t a huge surprise, but since I actually got him jumping in on hidef video I thought they’d at least e-mail for that…
So the my blog host was acting up a few days ago, but it made me look around a little bit. Tried (again) to speed things up and make the pages load a little faster; I tried some stuff a month ago, but it might have slowed it down (but then I’ve been posting a lot more photos, so who knows?). I think it’s faster, but who knows.
Sunset from Montezuma Beach
So I removed some of the things from the sidebar, I never got the feeling a few of the things were being used. I changed the banner (it’s a snippet from the above photo) and shifted it way up, I don’t know why I never thought of moving it up before. It’s another sunset picture, but it fit well (with the title and search box), so it’s not a drastic change.
Okay, so maybe it’s not a super big secret, but it’s a really nice view; two views actually. When walking back down the hill from the upper waterfalls you walk right past it (see the end for specific details on finding it).
Looking south-west down the coast.
Before turning right to get the above view, you could have continued straight and to the left a little (through the brush) and you can see north-east up the coast. From the spot you’re at, you won’t even see Montezuma, you’ll be looking right over it.
So as you come down the big hill, either from the upper waterfalls or from the Mariposario Butterfly Gardens, after you pass the private bridge to the really big house (you can’t miss it), keep your eyes to the right shoulder and about 50 yards (or 50 meters) past the bridge you’ll see the grass on the incline is a little worn (see picture) climb up there and head left.
When you get near the end on the right you’ll see south-west down the coast, towards Cabuya and Cabo Blanco; if you veer towards the left you’ll see north-east. It’s a really nice view in either direction! The north-east view is a little hidden, but just take a minute and you’ll find it.
There used to be fencing there so watch out for barbed wire. And keep in mind, it’s not a public park, so tread carefully…
So one of my essentials for travel is an Immersion Heater, I stick it in a glass with some water and in a few minutes I’ve got hot water. It’ll boil water if you want, there’s no moving parts and it’s really easy to use. I think it’s just for water, some bad reviews talk about other liquids, but I’ve never tried it with anything but water; I’ve never considered anything but water.
You can use it for heating up water for tea or coffee or whatever. I initially got it for heating up water for my Netty Pot, sometimes the hot water when traveling isn’t warm enough (or I don’t want to use tap water if it’s somewhere I wouldn’t drink the water).
But since I’ve got it with me, sometimes I’ll use it for heating up some instant soup or Ramen-in-a-cup for a snack when traveling. I’m trying to think of what else you can just add boiled water to: instant oatmeal(?), instant soups + noodles, instant potatoes (but that sounds boring), Mac and Cheese (I think Kraft makes a just add hot water?) and if you had a fridge to store them, you could probably boil an egg.
You’ve got to remember to unplug it before you remove it from the cup of water or it’ll burn out (or something) and watch it when you’re using it because if it boils all the water away it’ll stop working permanently. The one I’ve got has lasted a long time but I’ve let it boil down pretty far before when I’ve forgotten about it; I actually travel with a spare, just in case.
Before I went down to Costa Rica last month I knew they eclipse was going to happen and I knew the Moon was going to be full. But I forgot all about the fact that the do some horse rides down the beach in the moonlight; I knew that from the last trip and forgot all about it. While I don’t really like horses (they’re big, scary and I don’t know how to turn them off or reboot them), down the beach during the full moon sounds pretty cool.
This was the full moon lighting up the beach,
it’s really hard to show how bright it really was.
It’s completely night out, but it was just so bright.
This one came out a little brighter but it’s a little washed out.
They might have come out better if I’d had a tripod. I think it was brighter the next night (less clouds?) but my pocket camera just doesn’t appropriately show how it really looked. I don’t recall even thinking it was really bright this night, I was actually just scoping out the sky to see if the eclipse would be viewable.
So I picked up a disposable waterproof Kodak camera before my trip to Costa Rica. I’ve been tempted to get a waterproof camera but couldn’t justify the cost.
The weird part was getting it developed. It’s been years since I got film developed. I can’t even remember the last time. When I stood at the counter at Walgreens it was weird, I knew I wanted it on CD but did I want prints? It seemed so foreign to want prints of the photos I hadn’t even seen yet…
But in the end I ordered a set of the prints. And they weren’t as interesting as I’d hoped. It’s hard to stell that the shots I took from the water are six feet deep, they could be ankle deep. And the waves that are crashing down at me, you can barely tell.
The resolution was pretty disappointing at 1545 × 1024 they weren’t very detailed, even for 800 ASA (IMHO). I’m not saying the pictures are bad, they just weren’t any better (visually) than many that I took from shore…
Here’s a few for your viewing pleasure :)
Me at the upper falls (actually the upper-upper-falls about 15-20 feet high).
Sunset from way up the coast from Montezuma.
This a cRaZy one of me jumping in the water.
I’m at the lower falls, it’s probably only about 20 feet (15?).
It looks like I’m hurtling to my doom.
I think the above shot of me jumping is from the same spot as this video of me jumping off the rock. So the camera was $10 (for 27 shots) and I think it was $12 for developing (developing, negatives, and one set of photos) so $22 for an experiment; I’ve certainly spent more for something I’ve never used again. I’m not saying the camera was disappointing in itself, although the pictures were only 1545 × 1024 pixels (but that just might be the Walgreens scanner), I just hoped taking the pictures from different angles in the water would look much more interesting. I’d try it again, but I think I’ll try again with this Snap Sights Waterproof Underwater Reusable Camera with Flash, especially if I was to go snorkeling.
It was four years ago today that I was in Jaco with Mark and wanted to check out the Nicoya Peninsula. We heard the easiest way to get there was to take a taxi boat from the beach North of Jaco to a little town called Montezuma.
I think we were there about ten minutes and “I said can we stay another day?” and by the end of the evening asked if “we could spend another day” on top of that one…
I’ve been back at least six more times and I think I love it more every time. I’ve talked about Montezuma many times (the first post with probably be this one, so scroll down) and plan to talk and visit it many more.
Just a quick pan of the upper falls in Montezuma. I’m thinking they’re about 40+ feet, but looking how tiny the people at the top looks I want to say it’s taller. Next trip I’m bringing a ball of string to drop over the edge and then I’m just measuring it…
And the chicken (as usual) was delicious, and the big piece was huge! The two pieces plus the bread “stuff” was $3 and I think I paid about a $1.20 for each of the two Coca-Cola’s that I drank; honestly that sees a little pricy for the Coke for just being the vegetable stand in Cobano, but usually I get the bottles at a restaurant and they’d charge more so it’s hard to tell…
The Word Lens application is amazing, one of the best uses of augmented reality yet! You just point it at a sign (or any text) and it removes the words that are there and superimposes the translation over the old text.
The program is free and if you want to test it out, it’s two translation modes: “erase the text” and “reverse the letters”, while not very useful, make a great demonstration. The Spanish-to-English dictionary is $9.99 (they also have English-to-Spanish for an additional $9.99).
Here’s the sign that was taped up that I wanted to read.
It’s not the best video, but I really wanted to demonstrate this in a real world example. And since in the middle of recording the video I realized it was time for my bus, it’s pretty real world…
You’ll want to make the video full screen to actually be able to read it (and maybe you’ll need to pause it to really see what’s going on).
As I said you’ll want to look at it full screen (in HD) or you won’t be able to see the action on the iPHone screeen, so be sure not to just watch the embedded version.
I forgot to mention, no internet connection is required to use it! Once you purchase a dictionary it’s on your device (I assume it runs on the iPod touch with the camera also), it’s actually got a “dictionary” where you can look up words.
Actually, later I did notice a few people adding some smaller rocks to the tops of some already existing piles. I was too high up to get some good footage though. Some people calls these piles “cairns” or “ducks”; personally, “cairn” makes me think of something religious or a memorial.
I was really hoping that zooming in would change the rocks scale to make them look huge, but no such luck. Not sure if it’s the plant life or that everything looked in focus (or something else) that made it look so different. But I still thought it was fun enough to share…
Just kind of beast crawling around making a lot of noise on the roof. At first I thought it was someone (I say “he” in the video) up there fixing a leak or something (it’d just been raining). But a little while later I spotted this. The video is a little slow in the middle but it does pick around 53 seconds.
The next morning I was eating breakfast on the balcony and this guy was up in a tree nearby. It’s something different, doesn’t appear to have the spiky things on it’s back.
The image is a little dark, but you can see better if you click to enlarge it. FYI, I don’t eat breakfast without some kind of camera nearby, you never know what might be nearby. Usually we have the lizards and monkeys, but I’ve not seen any monkeys by the hotel yet.
As always the ride from Puntarenas to Paquera was fun and we got the big ferry which is a lot nicer than the little one. The boat was packed, I’ve never seen it that full of people before. The weather was gorgeous but got a little cloudy at the end of the ride (before the rain that started after the ride) but otherwise it was a great day for the ride.
This isn’t charming music that I edited into the video, it’s what was actually playing on the ferry in the background while I was shooting the video!
This video is watchable in HD (and for the first time you can watch video from me in 1080p! If you do watch in 1080p, let me know how it looks, I don’t have a screen with that high of resolution.
PS – This was mostly just me playing with the zoom on my new Canon Vixia HF20 that I mentioned the other day and I’m still a little shaky using it…
Would you rather live somewhere where the you see significant changes in the seasons throughout the year, or where it pretty much stays the same? What is your ideal daily temperature? from Friday Question #91.
I like the changes in weather. While I’d rather have winter shorter, Michigan weather isn’t too bad, but then again I’m used to it. I need more sunshine though! Give me more below freezing days but with sunshine I’d be a happy camper.
My preference would be the nice weather of Costa Rica every day (75-95° F) but I can’t have that here if I have to wear a suit every day. Plus, when you get something like the nice weather of Costa Rica you get the ultra-rainy season to be the down side (and when it stops you can’t get around due to the flooding).
So I think I’d choose Costa Rica. GIve me the hot weather and if I complain in the rainy season just remind me that I live in paradise.
I was looking at the Montezuma Beach web site the other day and I found the best map of Montezuma that I’ve ever seen. The town is mostly just those two blocks at the center of the top. Montezuma really isn’t that busy, it’s the names of all the places that take up space. It even shows the start of the path to get to the waterfalls (at the bottom).
It’s one of the few maps that shows both roads in and out of Montezuma; the split at the South end of town that goes to the North always gets left out (even my Costa Rica purchased GPS maps don’t have that road!). There is an “Open Source” Open Street Map of Montezuma. I’ve actually added a lot of the items on the Open Street Map of Montezuma. If you look at it and zoom out you can see how small Montezuma really is. I’ll admit most of the locations are estimates based on the few roads already in the image, but they’ll get you there. I’ll use the GPS next time I’m there to make it more accurate.
I’ll (probably) tell more about the Open Street Map project in a future post, but it’s one of the few maps only zoomable map with all the roads in and out of town that actually shows some detail of “downtown” Montezuma. This is all that Google shows and I’m not even sure where that (nonexistent) road the goes North-East up the coast goes..
People in Costa Rica barely look at the stop signs. Do they really think someone is going to read this one? This is a pretty busy sign, no matter where you are. And just in case you aren’t sure: Alto means Stop.
This is on a busy side-street in San Jose, Costa Rica; It’s a block or two east of La Sabana Park. I think it’s this messy intersection off of Calle 40; but if that’s where it is, it’s not even a very good representation of the intersection.
I like this jump even though it’s kinda high because there aren’t (m)any rocks below you so you don’t have to push out as far. It’s not that I mind the pushing, it’s just I worry about not pushing enough.
It’s always a debate to how high the waterfalls in Montezuma are. It comes up almost every visit to the falls. So today I specifically took some readings with the GPS (location just isn’t longitude and latitude, it’s height too!) and came up with the following numbers –
Water level of first waterfall: 82 feet (above numbers see level)
Waterlevel of second fall (which is top of the first fall): 238 feet
Top of second falls: 280/313 feet
If you don’t want to see how the numbers work out and the how whys of my rounding (and I rounded way down for the first one and a little for the second one). I’d say the first water fall is 130 feet (40 meters) and the second is 40 feet (12 meters).
Here’s the way I did the math and the “rounding”:
So 238-82=156 and rounding down I’d say this makes the big falls about 150 feet (47 meters). That’s higher than I thought it would be and there is error in these GPSs so lets round down to 40 meters and say it’s 130 feet. I’m hoping that’s generous enough to where people wont’s say it’s an exaggeration. This is mostly consistent with some readings I took last fall.
The next falls up, where people do a lot of jumping was 42 feet when I took the readings, I did the math then and I know that’s what it said. The bookmark on my GPS says it was at 313 feet, but maybe I moved when I wrote the bookmark, I know I started talking about it so if I stood up and went to a higher rock I easy could have added another 12 feet. From last fall I recorded 303 feet, but at the time I was looking for long/lat and not height so I have no idea where I was standing (and all my readings for fall were about 18-20 feet higher but it was extra cloudy). So I’m going to stick with 40 feet for this measurement (12 meters) since every thing else says it’s actually higher (I would have guessed it’s more like 30 feet, maybe 35 but what do I know?).
Yes, I know there are many variables in the GPS so these are estimates, but it’s better than how it’s been discussed before which is a bunch of people standing around looking at it and guessing. Also, the water levels change here, but only by a few feet. It’s particularly low right now.
It just started to rain out. It’s really been looking like it’s wanted to for a few hours now, the waves have been pretty rough all day (I didn’t go into the ocean, even though I planned to) and there’s been cloud cover and extra humidity all day. I dashed into the Pizza Parlor in Montezuma. I’m now sitting upstairs under the steel roof and it’s coming down pretty hard right now and it sounds great. I can see the waves crashing in and I’m pretty happy about it.
It’s been pretty long since they’ve had rain in Montezuma. It’s been drier and a lot dustier than normal since I’ve been here. I’m hoping for at least a 1/2 hour of this (if not hours more), I can see it’s pretty clear in the distance. Although I’m looking more south than west; hmm, do the weather patterns go NW here? And I meant to bring a plastic bag for my stuff
Everything has just been so dry. I’ve really been missing some of the greenness I saw on my last visit (there are leaves, they’re just kind of wimpy/sad looking). Hiking has been a little tricky since there is gravel and pebbles everywhere making the hills a little slippery, some rain would help wash that away.
So I’ve got a great slice of pepperoni and a glass bottle of Coca-Cola for 1,800 colones (the exchange rate isn’t great right now, so I’m guessing about $3.50). Actually, it’s dos (2) bottles of Coke (they’re only 12 ounces). And if I’m trapped here in the rain for a while I might need more.
The other problem is they tore up the road to put some new draining piping in. I’m not sure how far they got before the rain started. It’s been inconvenient for people driving who drove into town and a few minutes later there was no road. There’s only two ways in and out from that section of town and it’s probably ten kilometers around the long way. That’s really annoying if you don’t know your way around.
It’s cut in and out a few times since I’ve been typing this but I think it’s go for a little bit longer. I’m not sure if it’ll be enough to cut through the forest and clears the paths, but I guess I’ll know tomorrow. There was one big flash of lightening/thunder when it started and while I’ve heard some thunder I haven’t seen more lightening. It’s by far the coolest for this time of day since I’ve been here.
Later: It’s stopped (maybe 45 minutes of rain?) but I can hear lots of thunder in the distance so maybe we’ll get some more later.