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Announcing the release of Sweet Gulf, the ultimate coffee table photography book!

Season 4 Episode 7, 8 and 9

Happy new year everyone. It’s been 12 days since my last post from Osa Eden so this one is a little longer than normal (20 photos).   

 I’ll start with some amazing Bird Porn, transition to Fish Porn and finish with some Scenic Porn.   OK…  I experimented with some nighttime photography that included our local hummingbird residents and was able to capture some great shots with my Nikon Z 7 and flash unit. The species in the first three photos is the Long-billed Hermit hummingbird which is somewhat larger and brown/tan in color. They seem to be very friendly and curious little creatures that will often hover about two feet from your face and check you out as if to say hello.  Using the camera flash at night allowed me to freeze their wing action and have the background completely dark to fully highlight the birds as they were feeding.  Since this was my first attempt with this new technique, I will certainly improve the quality of photos as I set up more outings over the next few weeks.         

 The next set of photos include a few more of our local Toucan tribe.   The first three shots are of the Chesnut-Mandibled Toucan which is the most common and largest of the species that inhabits many parts of Central America. In one of my earlier posts, I shared photos that captured several birds as they frequently gorged themselves on a Papaya tree, just off our back deck.  I’ve been able to get within 20 Feet of the birds staging in the top of the tree and when the light is right with a dark background, their colors really pop. The contrast between their deep blue colored feet, intense yellow and black body, florescent green eyes and striking multi-colored beak is truly stunning.  In fact, it’s hard to imagine getting better pictures of “birds in the wild” than the several hundred of this species that I’ve now archived.         

OK, It get’s even better with the next three photos…   Getting pictures of the fish that we catch is relatively easy compared to wild animals that you are not holding.   For the better part of three years, I’ve been trying to capture photos of the more rare Toucan species inhabiting the Osa Peninsula – the FireBilled Aracari.   They are very rare to see, very fast and when you do see one, they are wary of people and tend to hide deep in the rainforest.  Today however, one emerged to also feed on the Papaya tree and I was in the right place at the EXACT right time.   

I consider these birds to be the single most colorful creatures in inhabit the Costa Rica Rainforest. The more you look at them, the more different subtle color patterns you discover and you suddenly realize with their acute vision (as they carefully rotate their head and stare at you) that there is actually some serious intelligence within that bird brain.  Once again, it’s inconceivable to me that I will EVER improve very much on these photos that I’ve now archived (unless I’m shooting at the San Diego ZOO). These shots were taken with my trusty Nikon D-800 and a 80-400 MM lens.         

Now for the fishing report…   Katie and I decided to start the new year off right by fishing with Captain Cory along the Pacific Osa Coast north of Matapolo adjacent to the Corcovado National Park. We’ve done this trip before but this time we encountered some extremely rough sea conditions.   

The full moon created some abnormally large swells, combined with a strong tidal flow and opposing winds – It was literally like being inside a washing machine for 8 hours. As difficult as the conditions were, the fishing was nothing short of extraordinary.   

At the start of the day (around 6:20), the bait we needed for the entire day was virtually everywhere. We loaded up and headed out to first fish along a lagoon that was overflowing into the pacific.  The target – Was Snookzilla.   

Cory would time the large swells in order to drive his boat near the mouth of the river to enable us to cast live bait into the “frothy mix” of crashing waves, fresh water streamflow and blue water from the ocean. He then would quickly position the boat several hundred feet offshore as we allowed our line to free spool off of our spinning reels so that the bait was in the feeding zone of the Snook.   Every time we did this our bait got hit. Most often by a new species of fish for us – the Colorado Snapper. BTW… We’ve now documented 52 different species of fish that have been caught over the three seasons we’ve been here.     

On the third sequence of positioning the boat and casting, I hooked into something really big.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t hooked for very long but I’m confident it was a huge Snook.   We then moved up the coast and fished several of Cory’s favorite spots that all produced something. All total - we landed 10 different species of fish on January 1st but once again, at the third spot we fished I hooked something really-really big.  As hard as I tried to keep the fish from diving down deep into the abyss, It broke off my leader (that was rated at 50 pounds).   

The hardest part of losing a really big fish is that - You begin to second-guess your technique by asking yourself – What did I do wrong, What could’ve I done differently and WHAT THE HELL WAS IT THAT JUST KICKED MY ASS!   In fact, what keeps me super motivated to go fishing is not so much when I land a special fish, it’s when I lose one that I shouldn’t have. To quote the Great Philosopher Michael Jordan…     So after losing that second monster fish, I channeled my anger to make sure the next one didn’t get an early release.   

Just then, Katie hooked and landed a spectacular Broomtail Grouper (her first).     Not long afterward, I managed to put the graphite to a really big one in the mid 20 pound class. These fish are truly stunning to look at and they are really powerful.     

At the next spot, Katie came through and landed what was the fish of the day at the time (a great Snook that put up a real battle).     

After next catching a variety of Jacks, Snapper and Bonita, we began our long journey back just in time to make some final casts along our favorite beach section of the Osa (near the Iguana Lodge) with the hopes of hooking into a big Roosterfish.   Well, Katie came through once again with the true fish of the day, a magnificent Roosterfish in the high 30 pound class. As you can see in the next photo (with Katie trying not to be pulled off the boat), these fish are stronger pound for pound than any other here in the Pacific.       

Whereas we dodged heavy rain all day, we were treated to a spectacular thunderstorm scene at sunset – just as we came into port. Somehow we navigated to miss this final storm as well to make the first day of 2021 really special.       

The final two photos were from our bike ride today. The first is a vertical panoramic shot of the most massive tree here on the Osa (several hundred feet tall) and the second is a little local art from Playa Blanca.                  

Happy new year to everyone, enjoy and share the photos and once again… Plan your trips.   T.O.

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