A week or so ago our friends Bonnie and Kevin asked us to contact Pasqual to see if he would be available to take a group up the Portoviejo River from the Boca (mouth) to see the mangrove trees. We set the trip up for Friday and we all walked down to the beach in front of the Palmazul Hotel where Pasqual met us with life preservers and a canopied boat.
The trip up the river is calm and beautiful, but we first have to take off into the great Pacific Ocean. On Thursday the skies were cloudy and the ocean was especially rough, so some of our group had concerns about getting underway. But Pasqual and his sons are experienced seamen and they timed our take off perfectly between waves. Once we got past the waves the sea was calm and everyone relaxed.
The boca is only about two and a half miles to our south, so after a short jaunt up the coastline the next challenge for the crew was to maneuver into position to enter the river. The actual course of the river changes from day to day with each tide as sand shifts according to river flow, ocean currents, and tide wave action. Once again the crew guided us safely into the river.
We have published several other posts about the wildlife and curious magnificent mangrove trees that line the river, so this will be a brief report. The mangrove trees here are protected by law and Pasqual told us that some of these trees are over a hundred years old. Their extensive root system anchors the trees (and the shoreline) as the tides alter the river depth by two to three meters twice a day.
The trees also provide habitat for thousands of birds and other wildlife.
We were there in the middle of the day, so many of the birds were off feeding, but others were left behind to guard their nests.
And others (like this male frigate bird – with the red throat) had nest making on their minds.
I have always been impressed with how peaceful it is on the river. Just around the bend from the ocean it seems that we step back a century in time to pristine shorelines that have not changed much over the years. The birds still line the shore in search of crabs and small fish.
And sea birds like these cormorants rest in the tall trees.
Frigates also take time from their soaring to rest and mingle with other frigates.
And birds and iguana peek out at the passing visitors from the safety of the great mangroves.
For almost an hour we wind our way up the river lined on both banks by mangrove trees.
Eventually the river rose above the level of the tides and the trees lining the banks change to palms and ceibos.
So we turned back around and headed home with great memories of another beautiful day on the river!
Until next time, so long from here where…
Life is good in Ecuador!