Diving day is here.

Corn Island Travel Blog

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The view from the snorkelling panga of the southwest point of Corn Island.

Hello all,
Today was the day for diving!  I had setup two dives for today at Nautilus, and was scheduled to dive with four other people at 9:30am.  I had trouble sleeping because of the anticipation involved, but got maybe six hours of light sleep.  When I arrived at the dive center there were four people waiting out front, so I figured I was the late arrival.  Then the four people proceeded to take the taxi I came in and head off to elsewhere.  They had decided to not dive today for some reason.

Veronica the dive master informed me that I could still dive if I wanted to, so the two of us got our gear together.  Just as we had the cart loaded up to head for the boat Veronica smashed her big toe against a rock in the sidewalk.

An old steam ship wreck off the northwest of Corn Island. The engine just sticks out of the sea that way.
  It looked horrible.  The front flap of skin on her toe had basically split from the rest of it.  She didn't seem to be in any pain, but it obviously needed some medical attention.  Regine got some antiseptic spray and bandages and Veronica did the work herself.  I told them there's no way I would expect her to dive today before figuring out the seriousness of things.  So we agreed to dive Sunday morning at 9:30am pending her toe's diagnosis.

Right about then a couple walked up to ask about snorkeling trips.  In a few minutes they were set to go, so I figured I would tag along.  Strangely enough, I had never been snorkeling, but neither had either of them so it was a good time to learn.  Turns out they were a couple from Michigan on their honeymoon, and they were on their third day into the trip.  The snorkeling was nice, but I suffered from equipment troubles throughout the trip.  Some of it was brought on by the fact that my facial hair had not been shaved in weeks, so I could not get a good seal to save my life.

I struggled along, and we did get to see the remains of an old Spanish galleon off the southwest of the island.  The wooden boat itself had long ago been eaten away by the sea, but about 20 or so cannon remained along the bottom.  The water was only about 10-15 feet deep, and there had been some coral growing over things, but the cannon were clearly visible.  We moved on to two other locations, and saw some great coral, stingrays, and a couple of nurse sharks.  The sharks were lying immobile on a sandy section of the bottom until one of the local guides went down to give them a nudge.  I later thanked him for getting the sharks moving and asked how dangerous that move was.  He said in great Caribbean English, "No man nurse sharks are mellow, you go down and rub their belly and they roll over like a young puppy."  Great local wisdom.

On the way back to shore we came upon some more snorkelers.  I heard two people screaming my name.  It was the Benevente family from the zipline tour in Granada.  They were all enjoying the day out, but said they had gotten sunburned beyond belief the day before.  I honestly didn't expect to run into them, much less in a boat in the Caribbean.  Travel has some strange coincidences some times.

After getting back to shore I started walking though Brig Bay towards my hotel.  I saw a place open for lunch that looked good, so I grabbed a seat on the patio.  Just off the patio along the seafront there were two rock enclosures in which there were two nurse sharks, a small sea turtle, a barracuda, and many other fish.  It was very cool to get an up-close view of all these creatures, but I could not help but feel for them in this smaller area so close to the open sea.  Just before getting my food Veronica and Alex showed up on a stroll to sit with me for a while.  Alex is from Germany, and he is living on the island trying to get an advertiser supported island guide together for tourists.

Lunch was an entire red snapper with salad, rice and fries.  The fried fish wasn't too hard to eat, and it was absolutely delicious.  I left a pile of bones by the time I was done as a tribute to the goodness.  After Veronica and Alex had left I struck up a conversation with Maryland a fisherman from north of Bluefields on the mainland.  I understood most of his deeply accented creole English, and he really gave me alot of info on the area.

I took a taxi back to the hotel and enjoyed some A/C for a while.  Around 2:30pm I wandered down to the shore and setup on one of the hotels wooden beach chairs.  Mike the owner was out there, as were two other guests, his dog, and several locals enjoying the beach.  The breeze was heaven, and best of all there were none of the sand flies that had decimated my legs on the Panamanian beach (and many others).  The setting made me wonder why everyone doesn't know about this place, and be thankful that they did not.  It was the most comfortable and relaxed I had been on the trip so far.

After maybe an hour of this Mike looked to the sky and declared that we had two minutes to get to our cabins.  It was more like 3-5, but I appreciated the need for haste when the skies opened up with a pouring rain.  It was a perfect time for an afternoon nap anyway.  I had a late dinner at the hotel restaurant again, and watched some television on my laptop until falling asleep around midnight.

Later, Phil

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The view from the snorkelling pang…
The view from the snorkelling pan…
An old steam ship wreck off the no…
An old steam ship wreck off the n…
Corn Island
photo by: swhayden