boarding ... on a volcano or wave...

Nicaragua Travel Blog

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the jeep adventure

Nicaragua was astoundingly different in the first couple of minutes. We crossed over no problems, and we stopped the car so i could pee beside the road a couple of kilometres in. We pull to the side and i open my door, put a foot out and stop.... there are 2 army guys in fatigues with darkened faces sitting in the bushes, their guns held at the ready. One looks at me and motions me back back inside the car and on... Not sure why they we waiting at the border ready for combat but we drove on pretty fast and i peed a safer distance from the border. Crazy. The other change was the potholes. Now throughout our drive we have driven the obstacle course around the potholes, but here they should be craters. Sometimes this is better as they are so big the entire car drives into the hole on one side and up out on the other.

The whole road is missing in some places and it is a challenge driving in the dark... we are very thankful for the 4wd.

First stop is Leon, an old colonial town near and one of the first founded in Nica. It is a beautiful town, full of old churches, narrow streets, and parks on the corner. Besides exploring the town and climbing over old churches and having a massive night out with the locals and other backpackers, we go out to a volcano which we have heard about a couple of countries ago. Volcan boarding, while maybe not an olympic sport is definitely something we need to try.... We go to a black sand and rock volcano and hike up the top carrying a ridiculously heavy snowboard that has been lined underneath with stainless steel.

volcan boarding
at the top we strap on helmets, arm and knee pads, and the board. We sit at the top of a steep hill that disappears soon after, too steep to see. i can snowboard OK, but this is a bit scary, never tried this before, with ill fitting equipment and expected to go down a hill that is almost a black run (scary steep!). Take a deep breath and tell myself to suck it up, i stand up ready to try and stop either carving or flinging myself headfirst up the hill incase that does not work.... and here goes....  .....  ..... i dont move - there is so much friction  that i need to hop to get going on the small black volcanic rocks! but i get going and get up some speed - the only choice is to point the board straight down the steep hill. its fun and definitely worth the experience, but i can see why it is not an olympic sport.
the cock fight

In Leon, we also feel the need to experience some culture. Enough of the sports and games we play, let us watch a sport they have been playing here for centuries. gulp... cockfighting. OK i was horrified at the thought, and at the expereince and for the poor animals, but it was a good cultural experience. We headed to a casual affair with lots of the locals vying for the best position to watch the ´sport´. The roosters are well cared for by their owners to prepare for the fights. They have little nails on the feet that are removed and replaced with little hooks (so that the fights only go for 15mins and can have a clear winner - horrific). The roosters are antagonised with another chicken then the fight starts. The roosters peck and slach with the razor at each others necks and faces.

sunset on mahagual
They are both soon covered in red blood. The owners can  administer to the rooster´s wounds by sucking at the blood and spitting the globules out onto the dirt rink - to stop clotting and let oxygen (for energy) into the wound and muscle beneath. The fight only finishes when the rooster gives up before he is attacked, unfortunately the roosters are not told this, end even when there is definitely a clear winner the fight continues until the head is lowered or the cock runs at the ´right´ time, this means that at least 2 roosters died that day, but most only last 2 or 3 fights before being beaten. I sit through, grimacing one whole round, it is hard to watch, and so sad. But we chat to the locals and try the Nica food. And do not watch the remaining rounds.
trying to surf
still horrified!

The next stop on the jeep adventure is a beautiful beach, Mahagual, a fantastic chill place. There is only a couple of buildings there and we stay in a small backpackers, cooking our food on the fire and learning to surf. This time we get a good lesson and a good board and it is so much fun. I am not necessarily going to be the next famous big wave rider or anything like that but it was so fun catching the waves, trying to stand up, falling over, trying again.... It was a lovely area and a good vibe (i saw quite a few other backpackers here that i had met on my travels). We stayed for 2 days riding the waves before i got sick and we moved on. Definitely need to try this again.

It is almost full moon and we head to La Flor to see the turtles coming onto the beach to lay their eggs.

right by Tatana stealing the poor turtle's eggs
Jonathan and i have a perfect evening, wandering along the white sand beach under the full moon, the dark headlands at either end, and no one in sight. We have a bonfire and cook dinner in the woods then seach for the tortugas. We see 2 turtles struggling to slowly lay their eggs. Supposedly in the end only 4 in 1000 survive which is extremely sad, as we see them lay their 60-80 eggs. We were very lucky as there were no other tourists there so when the researcher (flanked by 2 army guys carrying guns to protect the turtles and their eggs from poachers) was removing the eggs for safe keeping and to give them a better chance, we got to help. We watched, sitting right next to big old beautiful ´Tatana´. As she lay her eggs we reached into her hard-dug hole and slowly removed the still soft eggs into a bucket to be reburied elsewhere.
isla de ometepe
Was an amazing night. We felt a little sorry for Tatana as she pout so much effort into digging an unneeded hole and then also carfeully covering her hole and eggs afterwards.

Isla de Ometepe is a wonderful island and a great place to relax under the shadow of 2 volcanoes. We stayed a couple of days in a Finca which was an old converted farmhouse and coffee plantation. I will never take my coffee for granted now after i see how long it takes for the beans to be harvested. We spent a day horseriding to a waterfall halfway up the volcano too, a perfect trip without a guide to trail behind and a horse that loved to run, and the other a grumpy lazy nag. then playing in the natural pools and a very sad parting of ways for me a Jonathan.

On to Costa Rica by myself.

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the jeep adventure
the jeep adventure
volcan boarding
volcan boarding
the cock fight
the cock fight
sunset on mahagual
sunset on mahagual
trying to surf
trying to surf
right by Tatana stealing the poor …
right by Tatana stealing the poor…
isla de ometepe
isla de ometepe