Written by Pat Morgan
Participants: Naturalist Guide Eugenio Garcia, Escort Guide Alison Olivieri, Judith and Joe Ippolito, Barbara Keeler and Wally Barton, Caroline Torres, Veronica Torres, Terry Farling, Pat Morgan and Steve Allen.
After a slightly disjointed start, with missed ‘rendezvouses’ in San Vito, our three-car expedition finally met up at the Bomba in Palmar Norte. After filling up (on drinks and munchies), we set off for Big Wave Dave’s Butterfly Paradise in nearby Osa Mountain Village. Getting there presented one minor obstacle for the Ippolito’s frontwheel drive van: a mas empinada mountain road. Spinning to a stop, unable to go further, passengers clambered into Wally’s truck and Alison’s SUV. Not quite a Keystone Cops scene, but a little touch and go as we watched Wally “try” to slide into a ditch and then slip and slide back toward Alison’s car. He finally prevailed in moving uphill and forward without further incident and we sallied forth juntos.
Big Wave Dave, a transplant from Ocean City, Maryland, has built Butterfly Paradise “from scratch.” He now has about 30 species of butterflies in his enclosure, fed and nurtured by specific plant species. A talkative chap, Dave gave an excellent presentation, moving throughout the enclosure, showing Morpho pupae at their dinner leaves, pupae emerging from cocoons, along with an abundance of information on butterfly diets, habitat in the wild, and life cycles. Eugenio and others also provided tidbits of information, i.e., the fact that only one group of butterflies — “cracker” or “brush-footed butterflies” (all in in the genus Hamadryas) — can make a clicking sound used in territorial displays. Dave, using dead and dried butterflies, explained and demonstrated their flight mechanism while some of us, ears still listening, were chasing butterflies with our cameras.
Several Scarlet Macaws, high up in the flaming yellow Colorados that had showered us with a flower storm of yellow petals, squawked a farewell before we departed back down the mountain to enjoy an excellent lunch at the Heladeria Diquis in Palmar Norte.
Afterwards, having lost a bit more time to chasing butterflies than anticipated, we chose to go to the close-by Parque de Esferas in Palma Sur to view a collection of Stone Spheres (instead of journeying further to Finca Seis closer to Sierpe where the giant spheres are allegedly left in situ). Eugenio Garcia shared all his archeological knowledge and experience about these mysterious rocks, suggesting a future trip to Bolas near Buenas Aires where it is believed the granite from which these stones were hand-chiseled was quarried some 1500 years ago.
Also, Eugenio facilitated a healing ceremony on one of the spheres, Pat Morgan being the recipient, after explaining it is believed the spheres hold and channel a lot of power. Whether it was the power of suggestion or the power of the spheres, Pat felt a little less pain afterwards.
Hot and sweaty after being down at sea level, the expeditioners returned to the fresh air of San Vito, all in agreement that it was indeed a fun and informative day of learning and camaraderie. Those who did not jump on the invitation to come missed out on a great trip.