Not really sure where to start. What a journey it has been. Back in the spring, I booked a Jungle Tarpon Reserve trip with Yellow Dog.
This was my second trip with Yellow Dog. I was very happy with the first trip, so I decided to give it a go. At the time the pandemic was in its infant stage, and not a lot of precautions were being taken.
I was a little concerned, but coming from a rural part of Virginia our infection rates were quite low. I had always been told that planes have tremendous Hepa air filtration, and Costa Rica was a small, fairly protected country, so I pulled the trigger. As the months went by, the pandemic worsened and flights were canceled. At one point entry into the country was shut down from the US. Delta canceled my flights. Social unrest blew up, mudslides from a hurricane. It was not looking good.
We had to keep pushing the dates back, keeping our fingers crossed for a window to enter Costa Rica and chase a giant tarpon. Well, it finally happened. I made it in the second week of November. As it turned out I was the lone participant for the fall season. Let me back up a bit. Kristen Tripp was my contact at Yellow Dog. She does not get paid enough. Being employed in an industry that was already being punished by the pandemic shutdowns,
Kristen was continually offering words of encouragement and working to make things happen. She is a real rockstar in the travel biz. She even consoled my wife when I failed to check in on time.
Tom E. picked me up at the airport, and off we went. The trip out of San Jose over the mountains and through the sugar cane, coffee, and pineapple farms started my education. I think I asked a million questions. Sorry, Tom. Tom was looking for a new lodge, and I got to see it first. I was really expecting to sleep in a Jungle setting with a ceiling fan, but what I walked into was accommodations that are very rare in that area.
The new lodge was perfect for the small groups that Tom outfits and his Covid protocol made me feel very secure. Air conditioning? Wow, I was really surprised. The food was professionally prepared by local chefs, and it was fantastic. I thought I might shed a few pounds during the trip – wrong.
Let’s just say I was never looking for a snack. Tom and his guides are fantastic naturalists, with a deep knowledge of the birds, wildlife, and vegetation.
I went to go fishing but left with a real learning experience. All are devout conservationists, and they truly want that place to remain unchanged.
The tarpon I was fortunate enough to stick, were handled with great care so that they could thrive in this beautiful setting. The fishery is like nothing I have ever experienced. I went to go fishing but left with a fantastic learning experience in a beautiful setting, and yes, the monster tarpon made it
a trip I will never forget. Kudos to all. Thanks for making it happen.