Yesterday was a great day. We are still at anchor here, sitting behind the shelter of the small island nearby, Isla Casurina. When we landed the day before, I said I was going to swim ashore and see the island, or what looked to be little more than a large sandbar with some trees and shrubs on it. I was hoping I might find some provisions over there such as coconuts and fruit. No such luck. However, it was a fantastic adventure for the day.
I snorkeled over the 300 meters which was a little hard going with the wind blowing. Also, I couldn’t see much underneath the surface, because everything was stirred up. About 50 meters from shore it was shallow suddenly, and I realized I saw coral about a foot from my face. Gave me a start, but I quickly recovered and kept paddling away until I got to shore.
Once out of the water, I started walking and following the footsteps that were clearly on the beach, hoping to meet some local villagers and maybe figure out some trades we could do to add to our provisions. The footsteps led off the beach and down a sandy path through some trees. I entered a small area where there were some raised wooden platforms with drying fish and octopus all over them. I continued walking and saw a small grouping of huts and shacks in varying degrees of repair. And finally, I saw men and boys under shade trees and the shacks, hanging around, talking, chatting, and smiling to see me. I walked over and said, “Bon Dia,” which is the extent of my Portuguese, and they all responded in kind. We then spent the next 5 minutes smiling, grunting, making hand gestures, trying Spanish and French, to no avail, but nobody, including myself, was overly frustrated with the experience. There were probably 30 fishermen living there. They did tell me that they spoke Portuguese and Swahili, but unfortunately, I don’t speak Swahili either.
I noticed there were no women. And I tried to ask them, “Where are your women?” No luck. Even the internationally recognized hand gesture of a curvy woman didn’t get through to them. Oh well, I gave up. There were about 6 different huts of different sizes, some of them had smoke coming out of them as they were cooking rice and other things. A lot of the guys were just laying around, talking and smiling. I had more than one of them ask me for the fins I had with me. And there were a few of them that were working industriously, salting fish and burying it under gunny sacks for preservation.
I let them know that I was going to go, and I walked through their small gathering and on to the beach, the opposite direction I came. I wanted to walk around the entire island to see what else was there. The island was surrounded by coral except where we were anchored. And there were probably 30 large trees washed up on the shore. I walked the entire length of the beach on the windward side, and then turned the corner and decided to go inland on the way back.
As soon as I walked inland, the sound of the waves and the wind all but disappeared. There were enough trees and shrubs there to almost completely block the sounds coming from the ocean and it also became stifling hot and humid. But it was an eye opener for me and I started looking more closely at the vegetation and the cover it provided, realizing that it would provide shade and protection from the elements. There were many trees and bushes, pines and hollies, and a few others I wasn’t sure of. There were coral vines running on the ground as well. At one point I walked into the forested area and realized how much shade it provided as well as a bunch of lizards there that seemed closer to alligator lizards I am used to seeing in California, than the geckos we have been seeing. Except they moved very slowly, almost like salamanders. I got some on video, so hopefully I’ll figure out what they are. I looked around at the trees and realized there were some that were 30-50 years old, which surprised me.
I continued through the area and heard animals and to my surprise, a herd of goats ran away from me as I walked near them. I’m sure they supplement the fisherman village with meat and maybe milk. I kept thinking I was going to find a water source somewhere, but I never did. Lots of big spiders everywhere, too.
I circled back to the village one more time and tried my hand at asking them some more things about the island. I asked them once again where their women were and they understood. I must have made the right sign for “kissy kissy” or “dancy dancy” and they finally got it. They said they were back on the mainland. I then asked them about water and they also said they brought water with them from the mainland. I was once again asked for my fins and told them I couldn’t share them. The also seemed interested in seeing if I had any batteries for their flashlights. I imagine that any camping gear would be welcome by them as they live in quite primitive conditions with just thatched huts and mats on the ground, like most of the people we’ve met for the past month. If I were to make a trip back here, I would probably bring batteries and flashlights to give away, maybe even better, hand crank or solar battery powered flashlights.
Before I left them to return to the boat, they asked me if I wanted any lobster. It took a few minutes to figure out what they meant, but someone got creative and drew a lobster in the sand and I immediately made a disgusting face and spit and they got the message. I didn’t know how to mime, “I’m allergic to shellfish,” so they will just have to live with the fact that I can’t stand it instead.
I swam back to the boat and joined my companions. The rest of the day was spent washing clothes and hanging them out to dry, reading, writing, and going through pictures and video. Last night we had a humdinger of a wind storm come through. All night, from the v berth, I could hear the snubber groaning against the cleats, as it held onto the anchor chain for dear life. I thought for sure we would be a mile away from shore once we awoke, but these are the sounds a boat makes under anchor in a storm. Sleeping pills and earplugs are my best friend during times like this and after tossing and turning for a couple hours last night, I decided they were the best course of action. When I awoke, we hadn’t moved at all. It just sounded like we had. Of course, Brian’s GPS would have gone off if we had, but your brain plays tricks on you as you sit in a fiberglass walled boat, with water and wind and banging sounds all around you
Thanks for following along on the adventure. Hope you’ll subscribe and comment. Would love to hear where you are and what adventures you’re up to.