Thursday, July 27, 2006
4th of July 2006
In early July we left Scholarship in a quiet bay in the Gulf of Nicoya and headed for greener and cooler pastures. Our destination was Arenal Volcano. When I first saw the volcano or didn't really because it's almost always drapped in fog and clouds, I as not impressed. My opinion changed after I saw the fireworks. Below, part of Mark's log and there are no pictures of the lava. I took about 20 and they all turned out dark.
July 3rd... A rainy misty morning in Arenal. Today we got up early and watched all the birds outside of our room overlooking a manicured garden to which cute little frogs are not strangers. After a traditional breakfast of pinto gallo, we headed out to walk 15 hanging bridges through the most incredible rain forest I have ever had the pleasure of strolling. There were molting lizards and huge powder blue butterflies. The bridges were a series of rigid and suspension cables that traversed cataracts to plumeting jungle streams. It rained almost the whole time we were walking but the canopy provided good protection from the drizzle. The day was clearing as we emerged from the thickness and we got our first clear view of the Volcano. Not an overly gripping sight anymore to us that have seen our share of them in Central America untill you realize the activity this one has the death zone you don't see from this distance
July 4th.... When I awoke this morning an hour before dawn I thought I might take a peak out the window as it had stopped raining quite some time ago. OMG.. I was delighted to see the face of Arenal glowwing with red vines of light .. It was amazing to see. Then I realized that the vines were growing and changing and were not rivulets of lava but glowing showers of sparks exploded from huge house size boulders as they carreened and smashed their way down the death zone . The humongous boulders were calfed near the top with surprising regularity and as soon hurled down the steep face, spinning and traveling at what seemed over a hundred miles an hour. They leapt off a rocky outcropping and were tossed hundreds of yards into the air and down the face to impact and spit into a million sparks and three different rivers of light. In the day light it was no less spectacular. You could look with our spoting scope and tripod as the gigantic boulders glowing red on the inside were calfed and accelerated down the face and could see the debris they took with them. At one point the Volcano burped and and sent a plume of black smoke skyward over a burst of flames from the top. This was accompanied by a tenebrous rumble, like thunder but with more authority to do unspeakable damage.