24/2/17. After his surfing exploits (and several games of beach volleyball later the same afternoon when it was a little cooler) Stephen woke with stiff and aching muscles that do not get exercised on a bike. He definitely felt his advanced years!
We had arranged, along with Maureen and Ofer, to take a trip in the hotel’s own boat to an island in the Gulf of Fonseca, which is between Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador. The island to which we went, Isla de Meanguera, was claimed by all three countries until an international court decided in favour of El Salvador in the 1990s.
Christine of course took a seasick pill before we set off even though we had been assured that it was a calm day (“You should see it in the winter”), as she is amongst the world’s worst travelers despite her love of travel. The waves did look pretty small – but so was the boat and it was been driven at high speed so it skimmed across them with the bow pointing skywards. There was the occasional resounding, bone-jarring crash as we caught a sequence of waves wrong and the bow came crashing down but, in general, it was simply exhilarating and Christine felt fine.
We stopped in mid ocean alongside a similar sized boat that was out fishing and our two Salvadoran crew negotiated the purchase of 6 fish and 6 very large prawns for lunch. They came prepared with scales as they were sold by the pound (not the kilogramme!) – $1.50 per lb for the fish and $5 for the prawns.
After about two hours we reached the island where we went ashore on a little bay with 3 or 4 small “shacks”, only one of which seemed to be inhabited. The crew gave the fish to the lady of the household to cook while one of them chopped some tomatoes, onions, peppers and limes for the accompanying salad and tortillas. Meantime we swam, walked along the beach and cracked open the beer and water from the cooler the crew had brought with us.
The food was delicious!
We digested lunch gazing at the beautiful blue sea and sipping beer (or water in Christine’s case) before having another cooling dip. Then it was time to set off for a circuit of Bird Island where there were hundreds of frigatebirds circling above and squadrons of pelicans bobbing about on the sea.
At this point Christine started to feel unwell despite having taken another pill at lunchtime. We think it was a combination of the heat (it was pretty warm by now) and the cumulative effect of the sea. After a brief stop at the small harbour on Isla De Meanguera (which Christine used to recycle her lunch to the fishes!) we set off for home.
By now, the swell had increased and the crew seemed unable to decide which was better – going slowly which meant that we rode up one side of the waves and then down the other, or going fast which meant that the bone-jarring crashes were much more frequent. None of which did Christine’s seasickness any favours. She kept her eyes firmly closed and willed the journey to be over.
However, she perked up considerably just before the end as we spotted a school of dolphins and spent 5 minutes circling the area while these beautiful creatures criss-crossed in front of and under the boat.
Although the ride back had been exhilarating for three of us, we were all glad to arrive back at the hotel as bracing ourselves against the crashes and movement of the boat had been quite exhausting. Heaven alone knows what the trip must be like in the “winter”!
We spent Friday in a much more leisurely manner doing little other than reading, eating and drinking until late afternoon when there was a group “litter patrol” (in exchange for a free beer) followed by the release of more than 50 baby turtles at sunset.
The coast here is a big turtle nesting area and the collection of turtle eggs is illegal but the law is not enforced. So there are many poachers selling eggs either to restaurants or a small but growing number of environmentally minded organisations, including La Tortuga where we are staying, which care for them until they hatch.
It was lovely watching the little turtles being released near the water’s edge and making their way over the sand. Some energetically headed straight to the sea while others seemed much less certain what they should be doing. Often they would reach the water only for a wave to push them back the way they had come. However, they all made it even if some received a helping hand or two on the way.