Thursday, December 23, 2010

San Blas

Following our visit to Isla Isabel, we continued 40 miles south to the lovely town of San Blas. We stayed at Marina Singlar San Blas and truly enjoyed our time at San Blas. Most of the streets were cobblestone, (seen in the above photo), and the town itself operates at a very leisurely pace.

Just vertical of downtown San Blas on a bluff overlooking the town and the Pacific Ocean stands the remains of an old Spanish church (above) and a semi-restored fort.

We spent the good part of an afternoon meandering through the ruins and had the entire place to ourselves.

The semi-restored fort with the town of San Blas and the Pacific Ocean in the background.

The town again. In the middle distance, one of the many estuaries nearby is visible. (More on the estuaries below...)

There was a very large (nameless) statue of a man's torso at the semi-restored fort.

The actual size of the nameless statue is clearly visible here.

The cannon in the above photo was reinstalled following the near destruction of the fort by Hurricane Kenna in 2003. The fort reconstruction appeared to still be in progress during our visit.

We also took a jungle tour of the nearby La Tovara estuary with friends from the sailing vessel Savannah (Monica, Andy, and Jake). We hired a local guide with a fairly durable panga to take us for a three hour tour (a three hour tour...) of the estuary.

A standard issue great blue heron met us in the main river channel before we turned into the jungle for the majority of the tour.

An unidentified orchid that was at least three feet in diameter.

The remains of the set from the movie "La Cabeza de Vaca", filmed here in 1990.

More marine iguanas. They seem to be everywhere....

Just outside the entrance to the crocodile reserve and nursery, (at the back of the estuary), we saw clusters of turtles everywhere. I don't know the species name and didn't get a good look because they proved to be very skiddish when approached by the panga.

Once inside the gates of the crocodile reserve and nursery, we were treated to quite a lovely facility. The most prominent feature were the fenced-in pools set up as mating areas for the crocodiles. Per pool, one mating pair was allowed.

The mating ritual apparently involves some very slow chasing in the pool and some very enthusiastic tail slapping. And lots of sitting around with their jaws open, which is how they regulate their internal body temperature in the heat.

The products of the mating are placed in a separate cage from their parents and kept in captivity for two years before release into the estuary. In the bottom right corner of the above photo, a baby crocodile is seen. The tail accounts for almost half the total length of the baby crocodile.

Not only did this facility house crocodiles of various ages, wild boars were also kept here for rehabilitation and breeding.

As were jaguars - although this one seemed in fine health....

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