Tosdados por del sol... burnt from the sun

Trip Start Jun 2006
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Trip End Sep 2006


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Flag of Colombia  ,
Thursday, July 6, 2006

Cocka doodle doo (is that how you spell the sound of a chicken waking you up in the morning???). As I forcasted earlier, the chickens did wake me up at 6:00am, sharp! God they're annoying. Ohh well, no getting lazy and sleeping in here. That's cool.

Started my day by exploring the beach a little more, getting to know a few more locals and talking with the owners of my place about getting into the national park. One of the 2-3 people viaing for the $$$ to take me there was Antonio. An older guy that was recommended by the owners of Villa Maga, for what I could get out of them... safety reasons and because he had lifejackets. Antonio also informed me that mas personas blancas con una mujere peqeuna y un hombre alto had arrived at another hotel down the beach. Not the way I would describe them, but I knew it to be Hugh and Jules, a couple from the UK that I had met and invited to come along to the Pacific coast. Cool. They had been unable to get a flight the same day as I and had to wait a couple days.

Hearing this I told Antonio that we would see him later and let him know about our decision to visit the National coastal park. I popped into Hugh and Jules place down the beach enjoyed a dinner, a bottle of rum and a few beers with them and we decided go for the trek to the park. 50K (20.00) for a day. Who knows what that included but at 4.00 a gallon of gas here, I'm sure profits were not so large. I truns out that this is type of outting that most place (that know tourism) would charge 60-70 dollars!

The next morning, we met down on the beach in front of town, ready to go... whever that may be. Me, Jules, Hugh, Thomas (a polish colombian) and 4 guides. We watched a local bunch cut up a massive marlin looking fish and then set off.

The mornings usually are quite mellow sea wise. No big swells or anything, just smooth sailing. The coastline here is gorgeous: Beach after untouched beach with no one on them... occasionally broken up by a large tower of lava covered in colourful plants and flowers that pops out of the beach and creates a magnificent display of waves crashing against its sides. Nice.

I was in awe to witness groups of flying fish. A fish I had never seen before. Very cool little things. At first I thought that they were birds, but nope... flying fish. Then it happened: Hugh spotted a huge humpback whale. We got a little closer, stopped the engine and got a another couple of glimpses. We then set off again only to encounter another group of two whales, only minutes later, moving in unison. We were very close. Hearing the wonderful sound of air and water escaping their blow holes and the sound of the water as the massive mammals breeched and slipped back down into the depths. What a great treat. We could have turned around now and I'd have been very happy with the tour but, this was just the beginning of the day.

We toured around the park and entered a forde (spelling) of sorts and when we reached halfway down, the captain said it was too dangerous to go any further. When we asked why, he refused to give us an answer. So we came up with a few of our own and figured it was one of 5 choices:
A. Drug running or factory operations
B. ELN/FARC
C. Local Boogieman
D. He really didn't know why but no one ever goes there
E. All of the above

During the remainder of the day we took in the beautiful sights and then pulled up to a small palm lined beach. The water was perfect for swimming, body surfing and snorkelling, which we did for about 2 hours. During that time our guides climbed the orange trees, coco palms and banana trees that hovered over the beach and harvested our lunch. Spectacular!!! They then set out to spear us some fish. If they would have caught some, it would have been just too dreamy. They did not and we settled for fresh oranges, coconut juice and bananas.

After a couple more beaches and such, we started to head back into town. It was about 4:30 by this time. By the time we got back I realized how battered, bruised (from body surfing over volcanic rock) and how sunburnt I was. So much for the sunscreen I had religiously reapplied all day.

After some dinner and a few beer back in the village I returned home just nackered from the day. Turns out, I was burnt quite badly. I spent about an hour in a cold shower trying to cool down but by the time the water reached my waist it was quite warm. I've never felt like I was on fire before. With a resting rate at 108 beats per/min, and feeling nauseus and a little out of sorts, I think I entered into compensated shock. Stupid gringo. I guess I deserved it. I can't imagine what a horrible feeling it would be to actually be severely burned.

I awoke at 6:00am and it was to be my last day in the region. It had rained and stormed so hard last night that I had a hard time sleeping. It seemed that every night there were violent storms but, last night was different. The rain fell so hard that it was almost deafening at times. The cabana shook with each bout of thunder which seemed consistently positioned right over top of the cabana and the lightening lit the room with regularity. I think I have some of this storm on video, I'll have to check.

Unable to properly locomote my crispy upper body and with a bashed up knee I painfully strapped on my pack and waited for the ride I had arranged the day before to take me back to the airport in Bahia Solano. After last night's storm, I was looking forward to the 18km road back to the airport. It would be my last adventure on the pacific coast of Colombia.
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