Las Toronjas – Grapefruit Harvest

Costa Rica, Central America  ┬ęBrian Mohr/ EmberPhoto - All rights reserved

Maiana harvests ripe red grapefruits (toronjas, in Spanish) from a tree we planted eight years ago on the land of our good friend, Lidier Barrientes, and family, on Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula.

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Our Friend the Conch

We bumped into our friend the conch again while down in Costa Rica’s Rio Ario/Bongo watershed earlier this July. He was at first a bit timid, but then he became curious. And when he sensed that we weren’t going to harvest and eat the increasingly over-hunted and endangered creature, he even smiled for us. While attempting to grab a few photos of the fascinating little gastropod, he slid back into his protective shell – perhaps for an afternoon nap. Fortunately, he cooperated with the camera during a previous encounter. Check him out. He’s no doubt one of the coolest little animals we’ve ever come across.

Camera Info: Canon S100, 15mm, ISO 400, 1/125, f4.5;

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Inspiration in Central America

Since our first trip to Central America in 2000, we’ve been growing increasingly intimate with a region of Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula known as the Bongo-Ario watershed. Aside from the region’s world-class surfing waves, it’s abundant natural wonders and it’s kind-hearted people, it is also home to an inspiring new project. A new organization, CIRENAS, seeks not only to secure the long-term conservation of the unique and fragile Bongo-Ario watershed (from mountains to ocean), but to educate and inspire future community leaders, promote ecologically sound development in the region and facilitate positive change on all levels by bringing local people, students, educators, entrepreneurs, scientists, tourists and more…together.

Our friends Caroline Grew and Tucker Szymkowicz, who now direct CIRENAS, have been working hard this fall 2010 to raise the funding they need to take CIRENAS to a whole new level. They have an extraordinary opportunity right now to see the first $100,000 they raise by the end of this year matched by a founding donor who believes CIRENAS is a key ingredient to the long-term ecological, cultural and economic integrity of the Bongo-Ario watershed and its surrounding communities.

Please take a look around the CIRENAS website, and if you have a few extra dollars to spare, please consider becoming a founding donor with CIRENAS – and supporting Caroline and Tucker’s inspiring efforts. Also, if you know of anyone interested in the courses they offer, please don’t hesitate to share the news, as their courses will likely fill up soon.


-Brian and Emily