By Jack Ewing
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Strange Things in Nature…
“Hey boss,” said Hacienda Barú guide Juan Ramón. “The strangler fig trail to the beach is flooded.” “You’re kidding,” I exclaimed, “We haven’t had enough rain to flood anything.”
The trail in question crosses a stream about 100 meters from the beach. This year the stream has been dry much of the time, flowing only after big rains. Without a constant flow of water spilling onto the beach, the wave and tide action created a sand dam at the mouth of the stream. The water that flowed with each rain storm built up behind the dam and flooded the trail. The mouth of the stream has been closed by sand berms before, but only for a week or so, and never long enough to flood the trail. The torrent of water that flows downstream after a big storm has always been enough to wash a path through the pile of sand and release the backed up water.
Mother Nature sometimes acts in strange ways. Although this hasn’t happened during the 43 years I have lived here I am sure it has occurred on rare occasions throughout history. The biology of the brackish water in the stream is surely changing in ways that are important to the local ecology. Exactly how it is changing and what effects it will have is a secret that Mother Nature is keeping to herself.