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Wounds, Scars, and Testosterone

More information flows from trail cameras than I ever could have imagined back in 2011 when I started using them. Hiking or wandering through the rainforest is interesting whether or not you see any charismatic fauna of which there are 100s of species including anteaters, agoutis, all kinds of snakes, poison dart frogs, many different species of birds large and small, bright, and dull, and several species of carnivores. But how often do you see a jaguarundi, an ocelot, a tayra, or a puma? I recently retrieved and reviewed the memory card of a trail camera that was located at the edge of a swampy forest that bordered an open area. On the computer monitor I saw 11 different species of mammals, including three carnivores, six different birds, and one reptile. During the fifty years that I have lived near the rainforest I have seen all but one of the animals that were captured by the camera. But I had to walk 100s of hours to see some of them. Looking at the photos on that one camera taught me things and stimulated me to investigate things that otherwise would have taken me years to learn. Let me give you an example.

The memory card contained over 4500 photos all captured during the two months since I put it in the camera and flipped the “on” switch. As always, the first three photos were of me moving out of the field of view of the camera after turning it on. The fourth photo was a coati with a large wound on the side of its head. The quality of the photo was good, but even so I couldn’t be sure if the coati’s left ear had been torn off or not. As the wound healed more photos of the same animal appeared on the camera and it became obvious that the ear was still there right where it was supposed to be and in good shape. It was also clear that the wound was healing properly.

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That’s Fishin’ – April 2023

A huge welcome to all the visiting Anglers from around the world for this month’s OFFSHORE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS being held here at the Marina Pez Vela this April 16-21st. We are so glad that you could make the trip to Costa Rica and hope that you enjoy some excellent Fishing, the beauty of the Manuel Antonio area and our warm Costa Rican hospitality. Have a great visit and Tight Lines to you all!


March provided some great variety for all of our main Offshore species. Blue Marlin were prevalent and there were good numbers of Blues in the 150-250lb range caught throughout the month. There were some really big Marlin caught in recent weeks including an estimated 900lb Blue Marlin caught aboard MY THREE SONS, huge congrats guys for the fish of a lifetime. We had a good run of Black Marlin throughout the month with some really nice Blacks caught at the Offshore reefs. The Tuna fishing was exceptional during March. Livebait was the preferred bait to catch the Tuna for most of the month and there were some really nice sized Tuna caught, with various reports of fish over 150lbs. Dorado numbers thinned out during March compared to previous months as summer water temps continue to rise but some really nice sized Bull Dorado showed up and made dreams come true. We had some great Sailfishing at times with some excellent catch reports posted with some slow weeks mixed in. April should be an excellent month for Sailfish this year and hopefully the bite is on fire ready for this month’ s two tournaments, the Marina Pez Vela Open and the Offshore World Championships.

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Indian Butter Chicken

Chef's corner headerIndian Butter Chicken – Desiree Brassert

Treat yourself to a quick and tasty journey to India with this simplified version of an all-time favorite. The bold flavors are optimized by marinating the chicken overnight and by making your own Garam Masala spice blend in these few easy steps.

Ingredients for 4 portions


  • 500 grams of boneless chicken breast or thighs
  • 2 tablespoons of lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons of ground paprika
  • Dash of cayenne pepper to taste
  • 1 cup of plain yogurt


  • 2 tablespoons of cooking oil
  • 1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons of finely grated ginger
  • 1 chili pepper, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons of Garam Masala
  • 1/2 cup of tomato puree (passata)
  • 2 tablespoons of heavy cream (can substitute with chicken stock)
  • Cilantro leaves for garnish

Garam Masala
Ideally made with whole spices but also good if using already ground.

  • 1 teaspoon of whole cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of whole coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of black peppercorns
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 1/2 star anise
  • 1 whole nutmeg or a grateable chunk of whole nutmeg
  • 4 whole cloves


  1. Cut chicken in bite size pieces and marinate for a few hours or overnight.
  2. Make the Garam Masala. If using whole spices, dry-fry in a pan until fragrant. Place in a mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder except for nutmeg that you should grate a small amount by hand separately into the final mixture.
  3. Heat oil in a heavy pan and build the curry starting with onions, garlic, ginger, bay leaf, and Garam Masala.
  4. Stir often before adding the marinated chicken.
  5. Cook for 10 minutes before adding tomato puree.
  6. Cook for another 10 before adding cream or stock.
  7. Adjust seasonings and slowly simmer uncovered for another 10 minutes or until fully cooked.
  8. Garnish with cilantro leaves and enjoy with basmati rice, naan or flatbread of your choice.

Ralene Boshoff


Costa Ballena Lifeguards Update

Surf CR logoCosta Ballena Lifeguards Update – Greg Gordon

The guardavidas of Costa Rica have been protecting the beaches of Playa Hermosa and Dominical for years. They were the first program to be awarded a contract by the Municipality of Osa for four lifeguards, but that agreement had expired on January 1st. So for 2023 they are currently relying on community funding to keep the group afloat (pun intended).

In 2022 they had over 3000 preventions to keep swimmers from the dangerous rip currents at both beaches. They performed 13 rescues and another 10 first aid applications. Without them many lives may have been lost.

Also in 2022 the Costa Ballena Lifeguard association was awarded a $30,000 grant to build a new lifeguard tower in Playa Hermosa de Uvita. That gave them more visibility along the beach and a more comfortable area to perform their jobs. The work was completed by Tarzan Construction.

Uvita Brewery also hosted a summer benefit that raised over $5000 for the program. There were dozens of prizes donated by local businesses for their raffle and silent auction and Drew Laplante and DJ Bosque provided excellent music for the event.

A GoFundMe project was able to raise enough money to buy an ATV for the lifeguards in Dominical. And other one organized by Punta Gabriela is helping pay for the lifeguards’ end of year bonuses.

This year they are already active in new projects. The first was hosting an open water rescue led by Swim Safe, an international program for lifeguard training. Seventeen participants performed rigorous swimming and running tests, learned CPR, surfboard rescue techniques, and then had to log 24 hours of volunteering on the stand before they were certified. The goal is to have a larger pool of trained candidates to be employed.

On April 7th and 8th will be the 10th annual Semana Santa Classic surf contest in Dominical. Dozens of businesses are sponsoring the event and the best surfers in the country will compete for cash and prizes with all the proceeds going to the lifeguard program. Later in the year will be a 4th of July party and hopefully a second edition of the Uvita Brewery Summer Benefit.

If you want to get involved with any of these events, please email lifeguardscostaballen[email protected]. And if you wish to make a donation, use this link, paypal.com/donate/?hosted_button_id=ACBS9J3CKSHFS. It is tax deductible in the United States, too. Or follow the links on their website, lifeguardscostaballena.com.

What’s Shaking @ Marina Pez Vela – April 2023

What’s Shaking @ Marina Pez Vela

The HEAT IS ON here at Marina Pez Vela in April. More than just a reference to one of the warmest months here in paradise at the end of the traditional dry season, the temps here at MPV are on high as this is another action packed time for us at the Marina. April includes one of the busiest and most sacred holidays here in Costa Rica, Semana Santa, as well as the Marina Pez Vela open and the Offshore World Championships.

Semana Santa, April 2 – April 9

From Palm Sunday, Domingo de Ramos to Easter Sunday, Costa Rica celebrates the iconic Semana Santa. This week sees a huge part of the nations population, concentrated in the Central Valley flocking to the beaches and coastal communities to celebrate. Quepos and the marina is no exception, and this is one of the most exciting and busy weeks of our year. At the marina we’ll be having a special schedule of activities, beginning on Wednesday 5th with the last Movie Night of the season; the on Thursday, Friday and Saturday will be offering live music and traditional folk dance during sunset.

Stay tune to our social media profile on Facebook where we always post the schedule of activities.

Marina Pez Vela Open, April 15

The Marina Pez Vela Open is going to be a one day shoot out. The Tournament is an important warm up event for the Offshore World Championships, which start with their kick off event the next day, but is also a chance for locals or visiting anglers to compete and share in these fun one day events. This years MPV Open brings the best of competitive fishing with the IGFA (International Game Fishing Association) division. Don’t miss out on your chance to be a part of this amazing kick off event!

Offshore World Championships, April 16-April 21

The Super Bowl of sports fishing returns to Costa Rica again this April and will be bringing together the World’s Best Anglers to compete for ths coveted World Championship title. Unlike most tournaments here in Costa Rica and around the world, the OWC requires that teams have won a prequalifying tournament to participate and anglers fish all days on a rotation of Costa Rican flagged vessels. This tournament is an important support for a local charter fleet. There is no better time to come to the Marina and watch the international teams with their daily weigh ins, national flags and team spirit and 4 days of the worlds most competitive fishing. These anglers compete by international rules, don’t have the luxury of their own boats, captains and crews and are on a new boat each day to insure parity and a focus on angler skills. Come out and support all the international teams, but moreover Costa Rica and Marina Pez Vela as the host of this global celebration and competition.

¿Qué Pasa en Quepos? – April 2023

Bienvenidos… Welcome to the land of Pura Vida. Let us help guide you through this very busy month of April. There is a lot of celebrating going on this month. With Semana Santa being one of the busiest weeks of the year here in Manuel Antonio. So, relax, have patience, and enjoy the celebration.

April should bring a little rain to help cool things down a little bit and provide some incredible sunsets. So get to one of our many fine restaurants Mira Olas or Marina Pez Vela in Quepos for a great meal and cocktails and enjoy the show. If you’re on the mountain you can’t beat the view from Ronnie’s Place or at the beach, En Todas (The Magic Bus) is the place to be for Happy Monkey Hour 2×1 Drink Specials.

More great sunset options… By sea. The Brisa Elegante or well, the name says it all, Sunset Sails.

Marina Pez Vela will be in full swing this April. The Marina Pez Vela Open (April 15) kicks it off with a one-day tournament designed for all anglers to compete and have a lot of fun in the process. MPV is once again welcoming back the OWC. MPV will be hosting 4 days of the most competitive fishing competition of the year. The Offshore World Championship (April 16-21) has teams from around the world all competing for the title of World Champion. So come out and support all the international teams and enjoy this world class event.

The Earth is an incredibly complex, vibrant, and fragile ecosystem. Where living organisms interact with each other and their environment to create the ideal conditions for life. It is time to Take Action. Be part of the green revolution. Earth Day is April 22 and in the words of Bob Marley, “Let’s get together and feel all right”.

We want to thank for this months Dance of Brown Pelican cover. Also want to thank The Brisa Elegante for getting it to us.

We hope you enjoy our magazine and it helps guide you through this enchanting paradise we call home. You can always follow and share us here (we are almost at …AMAZING) or on Facebook/Quepolandia. We appreciate and Welcome your comments.

Peace and Enjoy…D

Kids Saving the Rainforest – March 2023


Spanish Sucks – March 2023


Costa Rica Non-Profit Groups We Supported in 2022

Surf CR logoCosta Rica Non-Profit Groups We Supported in 2022 – Greg Gordon

I review which groups I donated money to every year. I want to be sure I am fulfilling the benefit mission statement of my business, “To help surfers unite their communities by promoting sustainable tourism and protecting coastal ecosystems.”

Each year I pay dues to be a 1% for the Planet member. They encourage partnerships between businesses and non-profits globally and facilitate donations and do marketing for those non-profit organizations. The group I support with my 1% of my profits is called CREMA—Conservación, protección y Restauración de Especies Marinas Amenazadas (Conservation, Protection and Restoration of Threatened Marine Species).

This group I have supported for over 20 years. On one of the first surf trips to Costa Rica I met Randall Arauz and through the years we have worked to identify sea turtle species that came up on the beach, both alive and as carcasses, and to protect the endangered species from trawling, tuna farms, and turtle egg thieves. I sponsor five turtles a year through their website, crema.org and I get a certificate showing the geolocation of each turtle that was tagged and a photo.

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R.I.P. The End of an Era

R.I.P. The End of an Era by Todd Pequeen

ICON—noun—a person or thing regarded as a representative symbol or as worthy of profound respect.

BARBA ROJA—restaurant—from 1975 until February of 2023.

The most fabled establishment of Manuel Antonio’s history was laid to rest last month. It is now only spoken of as “back in the day” and “remember when” banter in future drinking holes in our once sleepy beach town. I am still driving around with a souvenir of the legend. My hard-shelled extra tire covering on my Toyota, is somehow marked by the bright yellow paint from the railing of the handicapped entrance that leads from the parking lot! The memories that flood my mind are similar to that of most families—joy, friendship, love, sadness, loss, communion, betrayal, fights, dreams, and of course brotherhood. Like any celebrated drinking establishment—which the old television show Cheers, 1982 – 1993, made millions on—one could walk in and find a friend and a conversation almost instantly. They might forget your name, but they often remembered your face! Tourists never seemed to actually get the name right and locals in last ten years or so simply started calling it “Barbs,” everything is abbreviated these days. Regardless, Red Beard is no more, and I am very sure almost anyone reading this knows what is coming in its old and tired footprint. Sadness does not overwhelm me though, nor will the continued closing of iconic locations in this town. Everything and everyone have their beginnings and their ends, to mourn is a waste of time.

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That’s Fishin’ – March 2023

Welcome to the March edition of That’s Fishin’ for Tales from the High Seas and all things Fishy in the Quepos and Manuel Antonio area.


The Offshore fishing has been excellent this past month and should continue through March & April. We are in the midst of peak Sailfish season right now and there have been some exceptional Sailfishing days in recent weeks with many boats releasing upwards of 10 Sailfish in a day, and on occasion some boats have been releasing 20+ Sails in a day when the bite is on. The Blue Marlin fishing has been great also with lots of Blue Marlin being caught. There have been some big Black Marlin caught at our Offshore reefs, many of these fish in excess of 500lbs. In addition to the Blues, Blacks, and Sails, there have been some Striped Marlin being caught also and when those guys are running it will give you your best shot at the coveted Grand Slam here in CR of 3 different Billfish species in one day.

The Dorado fishing in January and early February was excellent but as February progressed with long periods of settled weather heating the water up, the masses of Dorados that we had, seemed to thin out in recent weeks. We are seeing a few Dorados on most Offshore trips and you will still have a great chance at catching one during March and April, which is when some of the largest Bull Dorados of the year make an appearance.

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Snake Stories from the Jungles of Costa Rica

Are it’s Eyes Open? – Jack Ewing

One day, just as the sun was peeking over the mountain tops, I was hiking up a hill on a narrow trail in the dim morning light with a friend. “Hold it”, he cautioned, grabbing my arm. “Something’s up there”.

“I saw it too. It’s right there”, I pointed. Juan hastily dug a flashlight out of his backpack and shined it where I pointed. Right in the middle of the trail, coiled and posed to strike was a terciopelo viper (Bothrops asper). Normally we would have just gone around it and left it alone, but the trail was cut into the side of a hill with a steep upward slope to the left and an equally steep downward slope to the right. I found a long, forked stick and nudged it, assuming it would move out of the way. To our surprise, it attacked. While holding it off with the stick, we retreated backwards on the uneven trail with an occasional stumble. A fall would have been disastrous. It finally quit lunging at us, crawled off the trail, down the hill and let us pass. We both let out audible sighs of relief. It was a good sized terciopelo, about a meter and a half long and as big around as my wrist. Holding it away with a stick had been quite a tussle.

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The 6 Myths of Scuba Diving

The 6 Myths of Scuba Diving

It is a beautiful March, and both the sky and the ocean are blue. With an incredible jungle and ocean ecosystem on our doorstep and a love for nature that we all share, we know that you are enjoying it as much as us, at least on land. Which has us thinking out loud, “Where are the scuba divers in our local community?” We are actively trying to recruit divers, not just to “fun dive” around the area but to assist us in our mission to restore the reef and make a difference. So, where are you? We are working on building our coral restoration army and we are still looking for volunteers. I know many of you dive, or have been diving in the past but there are also a lot of people here who have yet to try out this amazing sport. So, to tackle this, and maybe inspire some of you, I thought I would look at some of the most common myths surrounding scuba diving to see if we can persuade some of you to take that leap and get into the water.

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Croque Monsieur / Croque Madame

Chef's corner headerCroque Monsieur / Croque Madame – Desiree Brassert

Leave it to the French to make a ham and cheese sandwich so sinfully rich. These bistro classics have funny names that literally mean “crunch mister” and “crunch Mrs.” Just remember that the mister has no egg and both are meant to be eaten with a knife and fork.

For the bechamel

  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 pinch of nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper
  • For the sandwich
  • 4 half inch slices of crusty bread*
  • 6 slices of ham
  • 2 to 4 slices of Swiss cheese like Emmental or Gruyere
  • 1 cup of the same Swiss cheese, grated
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • Dijon mustard to taste
  • 1 fried egg for the croque madame if desired

* La Colina restaurant sells an outstanding sourdough loaf baked in their wood fired oven. Be sure to grab one on your next visit.


  1. Make a bechamel sauce by melting 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over low heat.
  2. Add the flour, whisking continuously while slowly adding the milk.
  3. Once the sauce is thick and creamy, season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
  4. Lightly toast the bread and spread a little mustard on one side, and then some bechamel on top.
  5. Melt butter in a large pan, and make two grilled cheese sandwiches with the ham and the sliced cheese.
  6. Preheat your broiler.
  7. Place both sandwiches in a baking pan and top with more bechamel and shredded cheese.
  8. Broil until golden brown and bubbly.

Bon appetit!