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Home > News> Talking Point > Photoessay: The dolphins of Drake Bay

Photoessay: The dolphins of Drake Bay

Nimble like the water nymphs in whose company they are always found in mythology and paintings of yore, dolphins dance through the sunlit water. Carving individual paths that crisscross yet never result in collisions, they leap through the water joyfully, it seems to me. Try as I might, it’s impossible to keep up with them, so I wait for the dolphins to come to me. And they do: spotted, bottlenose and common dolphins and even orcas, in pods numbering in the hundreds. I am just a short way off the Osa Peninsula, on the southern end of Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast. Thick tropical forests cover most of the peninsula and extend almost till the ocean, leaving only a strip of beach. The Parque Nacional Corcovado, which occupies nearly half of the peninsula, hosts a diversity of wildlife in its thick rainforests, including big cats like jaguars and endangered giant anteaters, tapirs, and more. One of the peninsula’s more hidden spots is Bahía Drake, or Drake Bay, said to be named after sea captain and privateer Sir Francis Drake, who may even have left buried treasure here. It is a small place with a handful of restaurants, lodges and municipal buildings located around Playa Colorada, the town’s main beach. A few high-end resorts are tucked into the surrounding forest. Besides visits into the park from its San Pedrillo and Sirena gates, among the more popular activities here are the dolphin-watching tours. Visitors travel with experienced guides and marine biologists, making the trip both fun and informative, and taking care to ensure it is low-impact by following ethical practices like not chasing a pod. Some boats also have hydrophones on which visitors can listen to the mammals interacting underwater. Though I spotted hundreds of dolphins on my very first boat trip, I went out again, looking for a pod of spinner dolphins that locals told me is about 2,000-strong. I didn’t see them, but I did see the five-six orcas that probably drove them away. On one of the rides, we even spotted a humpback whale.

Leaping dolphins are a joyful sight but scientists still don’t fully understand why the mammals jump out of water. One theory is that this allows them to save energy and move faster.
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Leaping dolphins are a joyful sight but scientists still don’t fully understand why the mammals jump out of water. One theory is that this allows them to save energy and move faster.
Osa Peninsula’s diversity-rich rainforests extend all the way up to the ocean.
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Osa Peninsula’s diversity-rich rainforests extend all the way up to the ocean.
An underwater glimpse of a pod of spotted dolphins—the distinctive white spots are scattered along the middle and lower parts of their bodies
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An underwater glimpse of a pod of spotted dolphins—the distinctive white spots are scattered along the middle and lower parts of their bodies
A swimmer in the middle of a school of sardines. Dolphins are attracted to the large number of pelagic fish (those that live in the “open sea”—neither too close to the sea floor nor near the shore) in the bay.
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A swimmer in the middle of a school of sardines. Dolphins are attracted to the large number of pelagic fish (those that live in the “open sea”—neither too close to the sea floor nor near the shore) in the bay.
Tours are led by knowledgeable guides who share information about the various dolphin species and their habits.
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Tours are led by knowledgeable guides who share information about the various dolphin species and their habits.
Boat tours make a stop where guests can plunge into the water and snorkel safely with turtles and fish.
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Boat tours make a stop where guests can plunge into the water and snorkel safely with turtles and fish.
Boat tours leave from Playa Colorada, Drake Bay’s main beach, which has a few small restaurants and B&Bs.
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Boat tours leave from Playa Colorada, Drake Bay’s main beach, which has a few small restaurants and B&Bs.

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Paris Haute Couture Week: Vaishali S. creates an underwater journey

The designer stays true to her signature style while offering new silhouettes and blends of shimmering materials 

The show took place in a room stripped of wallpaper, with rows of electrical wires visible.
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The show took place in a room stripped of wallpaper, with rows of electrical wires visible.
All the females models wore Kolhapuri chappals (from Vaishali’s hometown state), while walking in clothes were structured, yet flowy.
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All the females models wore Kolhapuri chappals (from Vaishali’s hometown state), while walking in clothes were structured, yet flowy.
Vaishali S. presented her collection, Abyss, on 24 January under the landmark, La Pyramide Inversée skylight, at Carrousel du Louvre. The collection included 35 garments, made using different silks and uplifted with traditional embroideries. 
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Vaishali S. presented her collection, Abyss, on 24 January under the landmark, La Pyramide Inversée skylight, at Carrousel du Louvre. The collection included 35 garments, made using different silks and uplifted with traditional embroideries. 
Vaishali S. greets the crowd after presenting her collection
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Vaishali S. greets the crowd after presenting her collection

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At Paris couture week, Rahul Mishra brings the universe alive in embroidery

The designer's collection, Cosmos, was a celebration of Indian hand-embroidery and craft techniques   

Rahul Mishra presented his couture collection at Paris' The Westin hotel on 23 January. 
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Rahul Mishra presented his couture collection at Paris' The Westin hotel on 23 January.  (Valerio Mezzanotti @nowfashion)
Each piece in the collection, made at his workshop in the Indian city of Noida, was realised in two and three-dimensional hand embroidery. 
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Each piece in the collection, made at his workshop in the Indian city of Noida, was realised in two and three-dimensional hand embroidery.  (AFP)
The embroidery was encrusted with Swarovski crystals, to give life to the elements of the world using threads.
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The embroidery was encrusted with Swarovski crystals, to give life to the elements of the world using threads. (AFP)
The collection included gowns, bodysuits and jackets.
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The collection included gowns, bodysuits and jackets. (Valerio Mezzanotti @nowfashion)
The custom-made shoes also grabbed attention with glitter-full heels. 
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The custom-made shoes also grabbed attention with glitter-full heels.  (Valerio Mezzanotti @nowfashion)

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Zângkhua, a Beacon of Hope, a Mizo folktale translated and illustrated by Alyssa Pachuau

An ancient Mizo folktale tells the story of how a young warrior’s spirit continues to watch over his people

According to Mizo folklore, Zângkhua, or the constellation Ursa Major, is the spirit of a young warrior named Kawlawia. The constellation consists of seven bright arsi (stars) and is one of the most prominent clusters that appear in the north. Our ancestors possessed remarkable wisdom about the world, including stars and constellations. The Mizo elders keenly observed the appearance of these celestial bodies to track time, months and seasons, and read them as signs of good or bad fortune to come. They established their own theories of origin, resulting in interesting myths, lore and legends. This folktale tells the origin of the constellation Zângkhua, and how it became one of the most significant “stars” among the Mizo people.
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According to Mizo folklore, Zângkhua, or the constellation Ursa Major, is the spirit of a young warrior named Kawlawia. The constellation consists of seven bright arsi (stars) and is one of the most prominent clusters that appear in the north. Our ancestors possessed remarkable wisdom about the world, including stars and constellations. The Mizo elders keenly observed the appearance of these celestial bodies to track time, months and seasons, and read them as signs of good or bad fortune to come. They established their own theories of origin, resulting in interesting myths, lore and legends. This folktale tells the origin of the constellation Zângkhua, and how it became one of the most significant “stars” among the Mizo people. (Illustrations by Alyssa Pachuau)
Once upon a time, there lived a man named Kawlawia (pronounced Koloya) in Mizoram. He married a young woman from the village of Sairum, which lies east of the Tlawng river. One night, Kawlawia dreamt a terrible dream that he believed foreshadowed his death. “Go to your in-laws’ village and offer a sacrifice. Tragedy will not befall you,” the village elders said. He decided to go to Sairum to perform a thla hual, a ceremony where a sacrifice is offered to pacify one’s mind.
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Once upon a time, there lived a man named Kawlawia (pronounced Koloya) in Mizoram. He married a young woman from the village of Sairum, which lies east of the Tlawng river. One night, Kawlawia dreamt a terrible dream that he believed foreshadowed his death. “Go to your in-laws’ village and offer a sacrifice. Tragedy will not befall you,” the village elders said. He decided to go to Sairum to perform a thla hual, a ceremony where a sacrifice is offered to pacify one’s mind.
At Sairum, Kawlawia’s in-laws sacrificed a young fowl and a pig for the thla hual ceremony. He felt a sense of peace almost immediately, and set off for his home. On the way back, as he reached Berhvakawn, Kawlawia was waylaid by warriors from another village. And just like he had dreamt, he was killed, and the enemies carried off his head and leg as trophies. 
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At Sairum, Kawlawia’s in-laws sacrificed a young fowl and a pig for the thla hual ceremony. He felt a sense of peace almost immediately, and set off for his home. On the way back, as he reached Berhvakawn, Kawlawia was waylaid by warriors from another village. And just like he had dreamt, he was killed, and the enemies carried off his head and leg as trophies. 
After a few days, a tlaiberh (Red-vented bulbul) appeared at Kawlawia’s house and perched on a bamboo clothesline by the doorway. “Kawlawia lies dead at Berhvakawn,” the tlaiberh called. When they heard its song, Kawlawia’s family became anxious. “What a strange song the tlaiberh sings,” they said. 
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After a few days, a tlaiberh (Red-vented bulbul) appeared at Kawlawia’s house and perched on a bamboo clothesline by the doorway. “Kawlawia lies dead at Berhvakawn,” the tlaiberh called. When they heard its song, Kawlawia’s family became anxious. “What a strange song the tlaiberh sings,” they said. 
Finally, they sent some young warriors to Berhvakawn who found Kawlawia’s body. A small swarm of khawidang (wasps) was hovering over his knee where his leg had been severed. 
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Finally, they sent some young warriors to Berhvakawn who found Kawlawia’s body. A small swarm of khawidang (wasps) was hovering over his knee where his leg had been severed. 
As they stood over his body, there occurred a great gathering of darkness: the Thîm-Zîng. It appeared like a great black fog that covered the world in darkness. In that moment, Kawlawia’s body rose to the sky and turned into a cluster of stars that came to be known as Zângkhua. In this constellation, the first two stars, or “point stars”, are believed to be his shoulders, and the rest his torso and remaining leg. Till today, it is said wasps are flitting around his knee and can be seen blinking in the distance.
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As they stood over his body, there occurred a great gathering of darkness: the Thîm-Zîng. It appeared like a great black fog that covered the world in darkness. In that moment, Kawlawia’s body rose to the sky and turned into a cluster of stars that came to be known as Zângkhua. In this constellation, the first two stars, or “point stars”, are believed to be his shoulders, and the rest his torso and remaining leg. Till today, it is said wasps are flitting around his knee and can be seen blinking in the distance.
When Zângkhua turns upside down, it is common knowledge that it won’t be long before dawn. In hard times, it’s common to say “Zângkhua a la bungbu ang”, which means Zângkhua will turn upside down to bolster people’s spirits and indicate that things will change for the better.
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When Zângkhua turns upside down, it is common knowledge that it won’t be long before dawn. In hard times, it’s common to say “Zângkhua a la bungbu ang”, which means Zângkhua will turn upside down to bolster people’s spirits and indicate that things will change for the better.
When Zângkhua turns upside down, it is common knowledge that it won’t be long before dawn. In hard times, it’s common to say “Zângkhua a la bungbu ang”, which means Zângkhua will turn upside down to bolster people’s spirits and indicate that things will change for the better.
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When Zângkhua turns upside down, it is common knowledge that it won’t be long before dawn. In hard times, it’s common to say “Zângkhua a la bungbu ang”, which means Zângkhua will turn upside down to bolster people’s spirits and indicate that things will change for the better.
Zângkhua not only tells the time and seasons, the stars themselves give hope to those who look upon them. They are a constant reminder that darkness will eventually give way to light and wrongs will be made right.  Alyssa Pachuau is a New York-based children’s illustrator. Her first picture book, Ukepenuopfü, with author Theyiesinuo Keditsu was published in 2022. 
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Zângkhua not only tells the time and seasons, the stars themselves give hope to those who look upon them. They are a constant reminder that darkness will eventually give way to light and wrongs will be made right.  Alyssa Pachuau is a New York-based children’s illustrator. Her first picture book, Ukepenuopfü, with author Theyiesinuo Keditsu was published in 2022. 

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Snapshots from a cake exhibition in Bengaluru

From a cake weighing 18 tonnes to one dedicated to Lata Mangeshkar, visitors can witness the limitless creativity of bakers at this annual event

The 48th edition of the annual Bengaluru cake show is underway at St Joseph's Indian High School ground in Ashok Nagar. The themes this year explore good over evil, history and remembrance, and nature and harmony. In this photo, a baker poses with a 340 kg cake model of the Great Barrier Reef. (PTI Photo/Shailendra Bhojak) 
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The 48th edition of the annual Bengaluru cake show is underway at St Joseph's Indian High School ground in Ashok Nagar. The themes this year explore good over evil, history and remembrance, and nature and harmony. In this photo, a baker poses with a 340 kg cake model of the Great Barrier Reef. (PTI Photo/Shailendra Bhojak)  (PTI)
The cakes have been created by 20 students of the Institute of Baking and Cake Art (IBCA). This photo of a cake, designed like the bust of Lata Mangeshkar, weighs 130 kgs. (ANI Photo)
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The cakes have been created by 20 students of the Institute of Baking and Cake Art (IBCA). This photo of a cake, designed like the bust of Lata Mangeshkar, weighs 130 kgs. (ANI Photo) (Savitha)
Sugar art is key to designing these elaborate cakes and most contain just icing sugar without the moist sponge, reports a story published by The Hindu. (ANI Photo)
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Sugar art is key to designing these elaborate cakes and most contain just icing sugar without the moist sponge, reports a story published by The Hindu. (ANI Photo)
A man dressed as Santa Claus poses for a photo with this gigantic replica of North America's the Cathedral Basilica, that weighs about 18 tonnes. (PTI Photo/Shailendra Bhojak) 
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A man dressed as Santa Claus poses for a photo with this gigantic replica of North America's the Cathedral Basilica, that weighs about 18 tonnes. (PTI Photo/Shailendra Bhojak) 
A cake designed to represent the highlights of 2022. The show was unveiled on 16 December and will end on 2 January, The entry fee is  <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>100. (ANI Photo)
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A cake designed to represent the highlights of 2022. The show was unveiled on 16 December and will end on 2 January, The entry fee is 100. (ANI Photo)

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In photos: A traditional Christmas cake from Portugal

A cake known as bolo-rei—made with port wine, mixed nuts and candied fruit—is a Christmas specialty from Portugal

The bolo-rei, a donut-shaped cake, is a Christmas speciality in Portugal. Every year, the National Association of Bread and Pastry Producers recognises the best bolo-rei in the country. The 2022 winner is a small bakery, named Padaria da Ne, located in Amadora, in the northwestern suburbs of Lisbon. In this photo, a baker places candied fruits on a bolo-rei before putting it in the oven. (Photo by CARLOS COSTA / AFP)
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The bolo-rei, a donut-shaped cake, is a Christmas speciality in Portugal. Every year, the National Association of Bread and Pastry Producers recognises the best bolo-rei in the country. The 2022 winner is a small bakery, named Padaria da Ne, located in Amadora, in the northwestern suburbs of Lisbon. In this photo, a baker places candied fruits on a bolo-rei before putting it in the oven. (Photo by CARLOS COSTA / AFP)
A freshly baked bolo-rei at the Padaria da Ne bakery in Amadora, Ingredients include port wine, candied fruits and lots of mixed nuts. (Photo by CARLOS COSTA / AFP)
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A freshly baked bolo-rei at the Padaria da Ne bakery in Amadora, Ingredients include port wine, candied fruits and lots of mixed nuts. (Photo by CARLOS COSTA / AFP)
A photo from the kitchen of Padaria da Ne bakery shows a baker shaping the dough to make bolo-rei. The cake is eaten in the period between 25 December to 6 January. (Photo by CARLOS COSTA / AFP)
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A photo from the kitchen of Padaria da Ne bakery shows a baker shaping the dough to make bolo-rei. The cake is eaten in the period between 25 December to 6 January. (Photo by CARLOS COSTA / AFP)
A baker places a freshly baked bolo-rei at Padaria da Ne. (Photo by CARLOS COSTA / AFP)
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A baker places a freshly baked bolo-rei at Padaria da Ne. (Photo by CARLOS COSTA / AFP)
Customers wait to buy Christmas specials, including bolo-rei, at the Padaria da Ne bakery. (Photo by CARLOS COSTA / AFP)
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Customers wait to buy Christmas specials, including bolo-rei, at the Padaria da Ne bakery. (Photo by CARLOS COSTA / AFP)

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A magical exhibition of gingerbread cities for Christmas

The Museum of Architecture's Gingerbread City in London's Belgravia district is an ode to Christmas

A gingerbread installation on display at the Museum of Architecture's Gingerbread City in Belgravia district, London. (Photo: Maja Smiejkowska, Reuters)
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A gingerbread installation on display at the Museum of Architecture's Gingerbread City in Belgravia district, London. (Photo: Maja Smiejkowska, Reuters)
The exhibition showcases five intricately designed cities conceptualised and created by more than 100 architects, designers and chefs. (Photo: Maja Smiejkowska, Reuters)
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The exhibition showcases five intricately designed cities conceptualised and created by more than 100 architects, designers and chefs. (Photo: Maja Smiejkowska, Reuters)
The installations, made with dough, sweets and icing, feature five edible cities across different climate zones such as polar, continental, temperate, dry and tropical. (Photo: Maja Smiejkowska, Reuters)
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The installations, made with dough, sweets and icing, feature five edible cities across different climate zones such as polar, continental, temperate, dry and tropical. (Photo: Maja Smiejkowska, Reuters)
This is the sixth edition of the annual exhibition that draws large crowds every year. (Photo: Maja Smiejkowska, Reuters)
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This is the sixth edition of the annual exhibition that draws large crowds every year. (Photo: Maja Smiejkowska, Reuters)
This year’s theme reflects the desire for more liveable cities where most daily necessities can be met within a 15-minute walk, cycle or trip on public transport. (Photo: Maja Smiejkowska, Reuters)
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This year’s theme reflects the desire for more liveable cities where most daily necessities can be met within a 15-minute walk, cycle or trip on public transport. (Photo: Maja Smiejkowska, Reuters)
The Gingerbread City at The Museum of Architecture will open on 3 December, 2022 and will run until 3 January, 2023 at 6-7 Motcomb Street, Belgravia, London. (Photo: Maja Smiejkowska, Reuters)
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The Gingerbread City at The Museum of Architecture will open on 3 December, 2022 and will run until 3 January, 2023 at 6-7 Motcomb Street, Belgravia, London. (Photo: Maja Smiejkowska, Reuters)

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