On the Pacific coast of Costa Rica Maggie and I had wandered through the tourist town of Quepos to it's outskirts and the famed Manuel Antonio Park. We had come here as Maggie wanted to see the monkeys.
Meeting a uniformed fellow who presented himself as a guide we followed him towards the jungle. From a beautiful turquoise beach with frothy white rollers and floppy pelicans that dropped down into the water we soon arrived at a shallow creek that ran between us and our destination.
The water was 6 inches deep and clear as glass, coming from somewhere inland, washing into a calm rock-lined lagoon. A wooden rowboat spanned the obstacle. Hands on his hips our guide strode across. Unsuspectingly I followed but no sooner had my foot touched the deck than a previously unnoticed "boat keeper" idling nearby shouted out "1 dollar to cross".
Now I dont mind parting with a dollar but I hate to feel cheated. I am reminded of the story of the three billy goats gruff and the troll under the bridge. I stepped off the boat, nodded at them and sloshed through the tea-warm water beside.
Our clean-shaven guide looked young friendly in appearancein comparison to the ragged, menacing appearance of the "boat keepers". A little angered I asked our guide if they were friends of his. He seemed embarassed and said, "Yes, I know them well".
After a most interesting tour on the peninsula where we saw a coti, numerous giant lizards and a sloth who actually moved his arm, we returned to the inlet. We passed a cove just before the crossing and there another boat keeper offered us a ride. "No Gracias", he looked a little disgruntled but as we mounted the small ridge just before the crossing it occured to me that he would have the last laugh. The tide had come in, waves from the ocean now raced inland up what was once a little stream.
I wondered how deep the water was or whether there were other hazards within that I had not counted on. Looking at our guide I offered him a piggy back across for a dollar but he was not amused. I took the plunge alone, the water was remarkably clear and warm. I am told that it is the river, "Quebrada Camaronera".