So many stars!
19.11.2011 - 03.12.2011
View Surf Holiday '11 - Costa Rica on Exitalterego's travel map.
So I'm going to start with an apology. Apparently, I'm not actually able to keep up with these posts on the actual day things happen. I think I've been getting into the Playa Guiones lifestyle a little too much and have generally been a little laid back. But, I'm really OK with this. The sun is shining, the fans are spinning and I have a cold drink sat next to me, so if I'm late with journal posts, tough luck! Today is the day off though, so I now have plenty of time and no real excuses.
Again, I'm kind of rolling several days into this post, partly due to the surfing not providing great commentary on a daily basis and partly due to the aforementioned relaxed attitude.
Day nine (Sunday) saw my return to the waves after my somewhat unexplained, and very unfortunate, injury. I wasn't entirely back to 100% and I think this showed (and is still showing) in my surfing, which is something that has annoyed me greatly. The aim of this week, as I had now graduated to level two surfing was to continue practising the techniques that I had learnt in the previous week (angled take-off's, carving turns, trimming down the line, dynamic wave selection etc). This meant that the entire week would be spent mostly out back in the green waves. The unfortunate downside to this is that the number of waves you actually catch drops from around 9 out of 10 to maybe 1 out of 10 or less, thus reducing the amount of skill honing that can be achieved. As an example, in the morning session (1.5 hours) I caught 3 waves and bailed on all of them! Sadly, this trend continued over the next couple of days too, and in fact on Tuesday I caught only a single wave in each session, failed to stand on either and bailed on both. Sad times! My somewhat rapid progession in the world of surfing last week, looks to have ground to a halt.
Even though the surfing hadn't gone quite as well as liked, these few days weren't a total write off. On Sunday, myself and two of the new guests (Saturday being changeover day) went down to the beach in the evening to look at the stars. Now, I know certain individuals believe that you can see the stars in the UK, and to a certain degree, in certain places, this is true, but believe me when I say that the UK has nowhere you can go that even compares to the view of the night sky I had. And I have science to back me up here!
Here we see a lovely picture of UK light pollution. As you can see, the only realistic place to look at the night sky is somewhere in Northern Scotland, but lets face it, you're more likely to end up staring at rain clouds. Now lets look at Costa Rica.
I'm staying in the sliver of complete black down in the bottom left of the country. Can you guess what this means? A sky full of stars, planets and the fuzzy patches of light from nebulas and galaxies far, far away. This was complimented by the setting; an empty beach of soft white sand, backed by the jungle and being a lot nearer the equator also meant that the moon had set beneath the horizon by 9 in the evening.
The following night, we went back again with a few more of the guests and unbelievingly, this night was even more majestic than the last. As we walked through the tress out onto the beach, the moon was just setting and had taken on a very red colouring, similar to that of a harvest moon. The stars were just as impressive, but we also walked down to the sea as well. When turning back, you got the entire night sky reflected in the wet sand. It truly felt like you were sitting in the void of space.
To top this off, we also discovered something in the sand that was bioluminescent. You could rub your hand through the sand and leave a trail of little white sparks behind you. Finally, we discovered the source of these tiny pinpricks of light; plankton in the water. We waded out to waist hight water, in nearly complete darkness, and as the sea washed over us, the tiny sparks ran down our bodies, in a natural mimicry of the night sky above. We were, in the very real sense, in the middle of a star filled night (I challenge anyone to try and tell me that this is something you can experience in the UK!)
There aren't many experiences that I've had that remain crystal clear in my mind. Usually, over time they become watered down, diluted and merged. I think though that the image of seeing literal stars in all directions is something that will stay with me for a very long time.