Photoessay: The dolphins of Drake Bay7 Photos . Updated: 20 Apr 2019, 01:45 PM IST Dhritiman Mukherjee
Nimble like the water nymphs in whose company they... moreNimble like the water nymphs in whose company they are always found in mythology and paintings of yore, dolphins dance through the sunlit water. Carving individual paths that crisscross yet never result in collisions, they leap through the water joyfully, it seems to me. Try as I might, it’s impossible to keep up with them, so I wait for the dolphins to come to me. And they do: spotted, bottlenose and common dolphins and even orcas, in pods numbering in the hundreds. I am just a short way off the Osa Peninsula, on the southern end of Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast. Thick tropical forests cover most of the peninsula and extend almost till the ocean, leaving only a strip of beach. The Parque Nacional Corcovado, which occupies nearly half of the peninsula, hosts a diversity of wildlife in its thick rainforests, including big cats like jaguars and endangered giant anteaters, tapirs, and more. One of the peninsula’s more hidden spots is Bahía Drake, or Drake Bay, said to be named after sea captain and privateer Sir Francis Drake, who may even have left buried treasure here. It is a small place with a handful of restaurants, lodges and municipal buildings located around Playa Colorada, the town’s main beach. A few high-end resorts are tucked into the surrounding forest. Besides visits into the park from its San Pedrillo and Sirena gates, among the more popular activities here are the dolphin-watching tours. Visitors travel with experienced guides and marine biologists, making the trip both fun and informative, and taking care to ensure it is low-impact by following ethical practices like not chasing a pod. Some boats also have hydrophones on which visitors can listen to the mammals interacting underwater. Though I spotted hundreds of dolphins on my very first boat trip, I went out again, looking for a pod of spinner dolphins that locals told me is about 2,000-strong. I didn’t see them, but I did see the five-six orcas that probably drove them away. On one of the rides, we even spotted a humpback whale.