Diving Little Corn Island

Little Corn Island Travel Blog

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Sunrise on Pablo's Beach
Sunday, November 09
So today is Election day in Nicaragua which has sort of thrown the whole country into frenetic, heated discussions (well not so much here in the islands “mon”) and, as mentioned yesterday, shut down all the bars.  Since there is very limited electricity on the island, we didn’t exactly stay up late last night and thus I woke up before dawn this morning and decided to take a walk down to Pablo’s Beach and snap some sunrise photos.  There are some roughly paved steps with conch shells lining the path down to the beach and a cool multi-colored diety statue thing protecting the beach and the Grand Casita.  As you can tell from the photos, sunset was very pretty.
Pablo's Beach and the Grand Casita at Casa Iguana


We grabbed breakfast at the main Casa Iguana building and then decided to head out on a walk and see how far up the coast we could get - maybe go all the way to Sunrise Beach.  We strolled along the coast which was pretty but lots of flotsam and jetsam collect on the shoreline and bob around in the light surf and it could definitely stand an island wide clean-up.  We walked quite a ways up the coast but eventually decided to head back and try out some snorkeling by Casa Iguana.  I went out but the surf was a bit rough and really churning things up.  I did find a small pocket of pretty nice coral and fish right off of the point of Casa Iguana but all in all, not worth the swim.
Conch Shells on Little Corn Island


This seemed like as good a time as any to try our outdoor “hot shower” which is really just a big, long, black PVC pipe on the roof of the Grand Casita heated by the sun.  Well I would guess it works better if the grounds people at Casa Iguana remembered to fill the pipe so that there is actually water to heat up.  My first hot shower was less than hot, less than stellar but still refreshing and kind of fun to shower outside next to a gigantic banana spider :-D

We figured we would relax in the hammocks on the balcony for a bit until the dive shops reopened, then grab some lunch and head over to see what the deal is with getting Cindy certified and maybe me taking a refresher course (since I don’t think I have gone scuba diving since the early 1990’s - how much could have changed?)  The hammocks were very relaxing and put us in the “island mood” before crossing the island, grabbing lunch at one of the little local places and strolling in to the smaller of the two dive shops on the island, Dolphin Dive.
Little Corn Panorama


We ended up talking with the manager and one of the instructors and Cindy was really comfortable with them plus it was pretty inexpensive to do a 3-4 day certification course.  Best of all, she would basically have a private instructor which was an added benefit.  We never even ended up going to the other shop (actually owned by the same woman who owns Casa Iguana so hopefully that doesn’t create ill will…) and signed up for the course as well as me taking a refresher dive with Cindy and her instructor Carl tomorrow.

Since I have my laptop with us, Carl said we could borrow the DVD’s and manuals for the study portion of the course so we grabbed them and decided to continue walking around the island to the north side of the port, stopping by Brigette’s on the way to pick up our secret bottle of rum.
Shack on Little Corn Island
  We waked past the dock and up to the end of the path where the local school is and headed inland towards the hills watching a bunch of little kids play with a chained up monkey.  Since Cindy has a test tomorrow on the first few chapters, we figured we better get back to the Grand Casita and start watching some exhilarating Scuba videos.  The director’s sense of humor leaves something to be desired.  We watched the first several chapters, took the quizzes and celebrated with a shot of rum after each test.  All was well (until a large, furry rodent decided to let it be known that he too lived in the Grand Casita and was pissed that we weren’t leaving out any Pringle crumbs for him.  Actually, he just kind of ran back and forth across the ceiling beams and kept his distance…)

We ended up having dinner at Casa Iguana and our first taste of Mark and Kelly’s culinary expertise - not bad, especially considering where we are.
Cindy lounging in the Hammock at the Grand Casita Casa Iguana
  Basically they serve a three course meal and of course there is a bar sort of on the honor system where you or the server writes on a small dry erase board associated with your particular accommodation.  Needless to say, we had lot’s of tick marks on our board.  We ended up eating with a German couple Ralf and Nadine who seem very nice.  Ralf is certified and interested in finding out about diving so we quietly told him about Dolphin Dive and he is going to stop by in the morning. 

I ended up sitting next to Mark the chef and, believe it or not, he went used to live here and went to Orange Coast College and knows Gunther the pastry chef.  Way back in the 1980’s, I took culinary classes at OCC and know Gunther and a bunch of the teachers and administrators there but found it pretty weird that I come all the way to Little Corn Island and meet another alumnus.
Cute little girls in dresses on Little Corn Island
  Best of all, dessert was a chocolate cake, complete with Ganache (wish you were here Paul and Pookie!).  We ended up the evening hanging in the bar playing drinking games with the admittedly very young crowd, many of them living on the island getting their Dive Master license and hanging out enjoying the slow, island life. 

Tomorrow is Cindy’s first open water dive (and she is still nervous about being under water...)

Monday, November 10
After a bit of a rough night's sleep due to the howling wind, the coconuts perilously falling on the metal roof of the Grand Casita and the occasional scurrying footprints of our rodent friends, we woke up and tried breakfast at a little outdoor place on the way to the other side of the island.  The food was pretty good with leisurely service and unfortunately instant coffee.
Larry lounging in the Hammock at the Grand Casita Casa Iguana
  We showed up at Dolphin Dive early and met Carl Cindy's very young Norwegian instructor.  We reviewed all of yesterday's lessons and quizzes and Carl described the series of dives for Cindy to receive her certification over the next few days.

Everyone at Dolphin Dive was very excited about Mark making braised pork this evening at Casa Iguana - there really isn't much to do on the island so people look forward to the tiniest of things and food and drink is definitely high on the list.  All the people in the dive shop were laughing about never getting what you order on the island and how quirky the locals are (with a local waiter asking "Do you want fries or plantains?" and when you order fries they say "No fries…".
Our front door at Casa Iguana
 

Next was the first confined water training with Cindy.  Since they don't have pools on the island, you actually get to do your confined water training right off of the shoreline which is definitely a lot more picturesque and less than the way I did it.  Carl had me suit up and after a couple of minutes seeing me comfortably breathing under water, said my checkout dive was done, now go have fun.  He and Cindy spent a long time getting her comfortable enough to actually be able to descend five feet and comfortably breathe.  She was having trouble clearing her ears and kept saying she was having trouble swallowing but perseverance eventually carried her through so that she could sit on the bottom and start doing some of the other training exercises.

Afterward, we stopped by Mango Pizza for lunch which had OK pizza and no Tona's which I had to run around the corner to another place to buy.
More Conch Shells
  We spent the afternoon watching more Scuba DVDs and another cold shower.  Dinner that night at Casa Iguana was good and fun and we ended up having dinner with a really young couple Will and Danielle just out of college.  The best part of our conversation was when Will told us that his parents take off Monday's from drinking too! Kelly and Mark introduced us to amazingly a drinking game that I hadn't previously played called Plunk.  Essentially, you put two long tables together and two people sit on each end with their beer mugs in the corner.  There is a string or something similar tied 4-5 feet above the middle of the board.  Each player takes a single die, taps it on the table several times for OCD oriented good luck and then tries to throw the die over the string such that it lands on the opponent's side of the table and either 1) bounces in their beer in which case I think everyone drinks 2) scoots off the end of the table but between the two beer mug "goal posts" in which case the opposing team has to catch the die single handed before it hits the ground (or they drink) or 3) misses the opponent's side of the table altogether or shoots of outside of the beer mug "goal posts" in which case the throwing team drinks.
Shack on Little Corn Island
  There are no doubt lots of other rules but at the end of the day, everybody drinks a lot and it is quite the activity at Casa Iguana.


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Sunrise on Pablos Beach
Sunrise on Pablo's Beach
Pablos Beach and the Grand Casita…
Pablo's Beach and the Grand Casit…
Conch Shells on Little Corn Island
Conch Shells on Little Corn Island
Little Corn Panorama
Little Corn Panorama
Shack on Little Corn Island
Shack on Little Corn Island
Cindy lounging in the Hammock at t…
Cindy lounging in the Hammock at …
Cute little girls in dresses on Li…
Cute little girls in dresses on L…
Larry lounging in the Hammock at t…
Larry lounging in the Hammock at …
Our front door at Casa Iguana
Our front door at Casa Iguana
More Conch Shells
More Conch Shells
Shack on Little Corn Island
Shack on Little Corn Island
Tona Beers and Pablos Beach
Tona Beers and Pablo's Beach
Proud Rooster on Little Corn
Proud Rooster on Little Corn
Will and Danielle at Casa Iguana
Will and Danielle at Casa Iguana
Little Corn Island
photo by: lrecht