My wife and I were combing the beach yesterday afternoon, as we often do, looking for photographic opportunities, unusual shells, and absorbing our daily dose of vitamin D. There are rarely many people on the beach at mid-day. The tourists have mostly retreated to their hotel rooms, restaurants, or beach bars where they can cuddle up to air conditioners. The beach vendors can be found in the shade of palm trees, discussing the current crop of cheapskates who aren’t buying their bird whistles or Chinese-produced Costa Rican handicrafts.
It’s hot here in the afternoon…hot enough to drive just about anyone or anything to fits of unusual behavior.
So, we’re walking down the beach and we see a black beach dog out in the waves pawing at something floating in the water. My wife thought this interesting behavior, and took a photograph. The dog noticed us, and rushed out of the surf, dropping a coconut shell at our feet. Yelping and growling, the creature batted the coconut about with his paws, knocking the nut into submission.
My past experience with mad dogs made me think I should back away from the scene unfolding before me. My wife – such a brave soul – started clicking away, hoping to record the carnage for mass distribution and edification. The vicious animal began ripping away at the helpless fruit, pawing at it and pinning it to the ground. In the rush of the moment my wife didn’t notice her shadow in the frame.
I tried taking on one of these tough nuts on Playa Negra once, smashing the coconut against the edge of a concrete bench. The bench suffered some, chipped pieces of concrete flying in all directions, but the husk of the coconut suffered little more than a dent. I gave up.
But this dog was not to be deterred. He growled, and barked, and pawed, and tore at his defenseless victim. I felt helpless as the shredded pieces of the body were strewn about the beach before us.
As quickly as the vicious attack had begun, it ended. The black beach dog sniffed at the dismembered coconut, looked up at us to gauge our response to his show of power. Then, he turned and calmly walked away, head swaying from side to side, snake-hipping his way down the beach to confront and vanquish any other insolent nuts that looked as though they needed a reminder who was truly the King of Playa Tamarindo. The torn flesh of the beach nut before us was the only evidence that anything out of the ordinary had happened, so we made our way up the beach. Calling the police into the situation would only have complicated our day.