In January, CAVU flew with a multinational group from Conservation International and The Walton Family Foundation. The first in a series of two articles, you can read more about the Costa Rica flights by clicking below.
Photo: CAVU pilots Bob Morrison and David S. Smith flank a multinational team from Conservation International and The Walton Family Foundation on Saturday, January 10, 2009.
Just after dawn on January 9, 2009, a multinational team assembled at Pavas Airport in San Jose, Costa Rica, arriving from Washington DC, New Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama and the Galapagos Islands. With Captain Bob Morrison and CAVU President David S. Smith, the planes took off in tandem for a low-level survey flight to Punta Islita on the Nicoya Peninsula.
Upon arrival in Punta Islita, the group was met by representatives of Camaronal, supervisors of the Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre. A tour there included a walk along an endangered turtles’ nesting beach, and an extended boat tour of the mangroves and protected estuary. Camaronal’s open air, turtle egg protection structure was featured during the tour; following a formal presentation and lunch, the group returned to the planes.
In ideal flying weather, the group completed a low-level survey of southern Nicoya Peninsula, the Gulf and southern Costa Rican coastline to Parque Nacional Marina Ballena, where both aircraft landed at a nearby private airstrip. During the flight, migrating whales, dolphins and turtles were an impressive display of the region’s renowned biodiversity, and illustrated the issues facing the peninsula, the country and the Latin American/Pacific Ocean region. That evening, Jordan and David hosted a dinner for everyone at their home in Uvita.
The following morning at first light, Captains Morrison and Smith flew the group over the famous Osa Peninsula. For passengers, the pinnacle of the tour was witnessing the strategic partnership between CAVU and MarViva in action. A shrimp boat and longline commercial fishing operation were spotted within a protected area, and their GPS coordinates were radioed to MarViva, who immediately dispatched a ship on patrol to investigate.
The aircraft and passengers returned to Pavas Airport in San Jose, and in less than thirty-six hours, less than five in the air, the representatives of Conservation International and The Walton Family Foundation were able to view a majority of Costa Rica’s west coast and experience firsthand many of the threats facing these coastal and marine areas. The trip illustrated for everyone involved not only the power of flight, and its ability to lend a new perspective, but also the value of CAVU’s efficient work and strategic partnerships with conservation groups like MarViva. Captains Morrison and Smith said their goodbyes to the group, receiving expressions of appreciation for such a positive experience.