Marine National Park at Narara

We decided to try for one excursion every week, now that Austin has 2 nights off in a row. Tuesday, we set out with Austin’s co-worker Curt to go see the Marine National Park. Our driver took us there, it was about 40 minutes away. Online it was advertised that we could see dolphins, sea turtles, octopi, among other creatures. It is the only place in the world where you can walk around and see coral. We didn’t see dolphins or turtles or octopi, but I’m hoping for next week for the turtles when we go to the beach!

This is what it looked like, as far as the eye could see, until it was just open ocean

Blue Coral

My cute boys looking at a crab… I love their faces!

Coral on a rock

The Brown family!

Landon wandering the sands sculpted by the tide

Landon loved dad’s shoulders!

Dad and Landon hold a crab!

 So the guide would flip over rocks, find stuff, tell us the name, let us hold them and take pictures, and move on. Landon got to touch whatever he wanted, including the puffer fish! He kept saying “bish! bish!” He totally knew what it was. I was surprised he let us hold the crabs, but now if I come across one, I know how to hold it by the back legs so it doesn’t pinch me and doesn’t go away.

Male and female Neptune crabs- the female has a huge egg sac and is on the left

Mom and Landon

Mr puffer fish! His spines felt like plastic, not too poky!

The first obstacle to going was getting permission. To avoid overcrowding, it was advertised that we had to get permission from the forestry service to go. We contacted our “host” at the Residency- who basically makes sure we are safe and don’t do anything too dangerous. For example, he barred another UOP group from going to the beach with waves because I guess people have drowned there before. Sad! Anyway, Mr. Bright gave us permission. I was still confused because I thought we needed permission from the forestry service. So I called them. I’m not sure it I was actually talking to the forestry service or if I did not know how to dial out of the Residency correctly, because they said, “You need to contact your coordinator, he will call you in your room!” Ok, I thought, but we were leaving. Anyway, turns out we get permission from the forestry service at the gate of the place, so everything worked out just fine.

Can you tell this is my type of thing? The sea hare was getting dark purple ink all over me, but I don’t care! So COOL!

To get there, we took the main road going outside of Reliance west for a little while, then turned off onto bumpy paved roads, which finally gave way to a long dirt road. Our driver seemed to be a little worried about his tires- he checked the pressure and filled them up on the way back.

Once we got there, we were assigned a local guide and walked probably a half mile to a mile to get to the place where the tide comes in. It was low tide exactly, or going towards high tide, so we walked for a long ways before even getting into areas with water. Once we got to the water, we continued walking out towards the open sea for quite awhile, wading in the water as it came up to our knees.The water was very clear and very warm, not really that refreshing in the 90-95 degree heat, but that’s ok!

Star of some sort.

 When we got out far enough, the guide showed us how you could totally tell the tide was coming in, and coming in fast! The water that had bubbles in it in parts showed how fast the water was rushing in! Austin was scared we weren’t going to make it out of it, so we walked fast back towards dry land. Once we got out ahead of it, we were able to relax and enjoy more. I think what happened is that we were too late to see the creatures in the deeper tidal zone, like the octopi, so we only really made it into 2 tidal zones. Austin and Curt were not super impressed. That’s ok, I thought it was great! Landon had so much fun riding on Austin’s shoulders for 3/4 of the time, and then we switched and I carried him for the short remainder. Landon loved looking at the sea creatures and touching them. He loved being up high on Austin’s shoulders. It was so much fun to see him have fun and be so calm when I thought he might get tired of it and fuss.

At the end when it was mostly sand and a few puddles, we let Landon down to play in the water and sand. He had a lot of fun doing that. It seemed like our local guide wanted to move
things along, so we gave him a little time and then packed him up to go home. It was such a fun excursion!

On the way home, our driver took us a different way to see more flamingos! We saw them standing in shallow water, but also walking in deeper water so their bodies were floating. It was really cool because I had only seen them at the zoo where they are in shallow water. They were going to town eating something at the bottom of the water, because they were bobbing up and down all over. Also, they weren’t very pink, just hints of pink here and there. Still cool to see!

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