Trip Start Apr 04, 2008
110Trip End Jul 03, 2009
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Mona Island is billed in the magazines as the Galapagos of the Caribbean, well we've all been fooled by those advertisements before and as we arrived at the island in the early light Pete and I started to wonder if in fact once again we'd been duped. The island from the east looks like a giant plateau raised out of the water with tall inhospitable cliffs 200feet high, scrubby windswept bushes and rocky shores. It did not look good and as we sailed along the coast to the anchorage on the south western side we were less than impressed. Once we reached the end of the island there was a spit of flat land that started to appear with the typical white sandy beaches and coconut palms but still a very rocky shore line. As we rounded the corner, the beach continued but with a reef about 40 metres from the shore line.
Where the heck were we supposed to anchor?
Following the loose directions from our cruising guide we found a couple of leads and slowly sailed thru a very, very shallow cut in the reef into a lagoon. After releasing our breath at not ending up on the reef our next thought was "we have definitely NOT been duped", this is amazing. Forget the other place called Gilligan's island, this truly was like Gilligan's island. White sand beach, coconut palms and a shallow reef lined lagoon with crystal clear blue water at 29 degrees celsius. God could not have made a more perfect place!
As we were unfortunately only going to be able to stay one day due to weather we decided to wake the rest of crew who had done most of the night watch as it was too good to spend the day sleeping. After spying a few people wandering around on the island an official vehicle came down to the dock and since we were only 15metres from the shore Pete and I swam in to meet them. First were the 2 customs officials who were very friendly and kind, welcoming us to the island, after a few more minutes another vehicle arrived (good news travels fast) and again we were greeted by another 2 guys working at the research facility on the island also welcoming us and inviting to come ashore and have a look around.
After a morning of swimming, snorkelling and beachcombing Toro, the customs official and Milton from the research facility took us on a walk/climb thru the island. These two were great showing off all the interesting parts of the island and giving us a run down on what happens on the island. First of all Mona island is home to the Mona Iguana which grows about 4feet long and wields its tail like a club, it has an aggressive appearance with a horned snout and spines running down it back. A bit like Godzilla! Fortunately it's a harmless vegetarian! Mona island is also home for nesting turtles, bats, hermit crabs, goats pigs and some very old (in the hundreds region but don't know exactly) rock paintings made by the Carib Indians in the caves on the cliffs.
It was hard not to fall in love with this place and the biggest disappointment was only having a day here.