|Travel Photography Isthmus
Nicaragua Pacific Coast
The simple fact is that Jane had asked me to promise her that if we moved to the Pacific Northwest, I would rescue her with the tropics. Somewhere with a breeze and beaches, fruit drinks. "I want to wear flip-flops!" she told me after 36 straight days of rain.
But where Jane needed escape, I needed answers. I had been holed up: late nights, long hours. I was working everyday on the research and writing of the Bahamas golf-development fiasco. It was a lot of bad news, and I needed to find answers - a happy ending. Proof.
So here we are, and it’s pitch black. Bats are dive-bombing the mosquitoes attracted by our flashlights; they dive in steep arcs out of the thick, tangled dry forest. Jane's not exactly wearing flip-flops, and no fruity drinks, but what more could she ask for - howling wind? Wolf spiders? Fruit bats?
Juan corrects me, "Sac-wing bats, they eat insects."
Juan is joining us for a night walk on the 1,900 acre preserve portion of Morgan's Rock in the southwestern corner of Nicaragua. "Sac-wing bat males carry these pouches under their wings," he says, "the pouches secrete an odor, for the ladies."
There are more types of bats in Nicaragua than any other mammal, maybe 120 species. The sac-wing bat looks like a shrew; the resemblance is not coincidental. Scientists have noticed that when the bat's shrew-ancestors took flight in order to better capture their prey, moths, an evolutionary departure occurred in the fossil record. A certain moth learned to fly in the day, to avoid the bat, which evolved to fly in the night. We call them butterflies, and tomorrow morning the coast of southern Nicaragua will light up with their colors; some bright blue, one entirely red, another the color of a bright lime.