November 29, 2003
The Land of Land Iguanas
DAY 38: Manuel was tidying up the lounge area in the morning while I was waiting for the first diving group to return. He poured himself a drink and told me it was his wife's birthday back at home. "Salud," he said as he raised his glass.
"Salud!" I reciprocated. Funny, I had no idea he was married all that time.
"IT WAS AN AMAZING DIVE!" Sergei the Hamburger said. (He's from Hamburg, Germany, silly.) "Twelve hammerheads swam right by us, maybe just one meter away!"
"Do you take travelers' checks?" Sonya asked Ty, who wasn't intending on diving until she heard all the raves. She joined me, Sylvain and Carolina in the second group at Gordon Rocks.
Underwater, we swam around the rocks that reached deep down to the ocean floor. For a majority of the time, the water was relatively warm, until we entered this one small patch of extremely cold water, which strengthened my theory that most warm ocean water is just urine from those kids who pee during family beach trips -- I was one of them -- and we had just stumbled upon the one small patch of real ocean water.
A sea turtle swam near us as we scaled up a pile of volcanic rocks. I looked up and above us two hammerheads swam nearby with their eyes on the sides of their weirdly-shaped heads that would probably come in handy if a person with high hair ever sat in front of them at the movie theater. The hammerhead sighting was only temporary and not as awesome as the one the first group had, but it was a thrill nonetheless.
Post-lunch snorkel time was off the rocky coast of Isla Santa Fe. A family of about five sea lions swam around me and played chicken. One by one, each would come straight towards me like a torpedo and then swerve at a 90 degree angle at the last minute to avoid collision. Tatjiana warned me from the dingy that I was getting too close to a male harbormaster, so I steered clear of sea lions after that.
I managed to find an eagle ray flying through the hydroscape, flapping its wings through the clear blue water, followed by a sea turtle. Animals just seem to pop up at convenient times in these parts. While I explored some of the rocks, I noticed a sea snake slithering between the crevices. When I told the others on board that I had seen one, they didn't believe me, saying that I had just seen an eel. But I pointed out a picture in Maartin's animal book -- I had found the one species of sea snake found in the entire archipelago, the very rare -- and very venomous -- yellow-bellied sea snake. It's a shame I didn't have a picture developed from my underwater camera to show them at the time. (I know it's hard to see; it's a digital photo of a developed photo of a blurry shot, but at least I'm still alive.)
"Smell the scent of these tree," he said. "They burn this like incense and it keeps mosquitos away." One by one we touched the sap and smelled the sweet mushroom/licorice scent.
"Be careful with this. You must wash your hands right away because it becomes infectious." We were far away from any sink or even the ocean and we all had looks on our face like a midget had suddenly appeared from behind a tree wearing a Speedo.
We must have been a real annoyance since the women started getting cranky too and made us flinch a couple of times. Luckily Manuel, who was not only a waiter and bartender but a sailor as well, came in a dingy before any unfortuante incidents.
If you enjoy this daily travel blog, please post a comment! Give me suggestions, send me on missions, let me know how things are going back home in the USA. Knowing that I have an audience will only force me to make this blog more entertaining as the days go by. Donīt forget to bookmark it and let a friend know!