Stay off the Rocks!
by Nate Bright
The Guardavidas Costa Ballena Lifeguards are a community funded lifeguard program that protects three of our local beaches: Playa Dominical to the north, Playa Hermosa near Uvita and Playa Ventanas to the south near Ojochal. In 2017, we rescued more than 60 people, and gave out 1,000’s of warnings. Swimmers often get into trouble because of the powerful rip currents that can be found in Dominical and Hermosa. It is the number one reason for a rescue on those beaches.
At Playa Ventanas, as well as Punta Achiote on the north end of Playa Hermosa, the large rock formations are the most dangerous for beachgoers. These stone outcroppings are dramatic, with the waves crashing and spraying. Still tourists are attracted to them like moths to a flame. The rocks are slippery when wet, and there are many sharp edges for slicing feet. Rogue waves and rising swells catch climbers unawares, causing them to be swept into the ocean. The churning waters around these rocks can break limbs and knock a person unconscious. Performing a rescue in these conditions risks the life of the lifeguard as well.
The big attraction at Playa Ventanas are the sea caves, which can be safely entered 2 hours before and after low tide. Check the tide schedule on pages 22-24 of this issue of Ballena Tales for the changing surge levels. The caves are not safe near high tide, and it is dangerous to swim out the end of the cave - the currents and waves are highly unpredictable, and even very experienced swimmers have drowned attempting it.
If you are visitor to our beautiful region of Costa Rica, please STAY OFF THE ROCKS! If you have a rental home, a hotel, bed and breakfast or family and friends visiting you, please warn your guests as well. Enjoy our beautiful beaches - safely!