Thursday, August 30, 2007

Cayos Albuquerque 12.09N 081.50W April 21 – May 1 2007

We had an early morning brisk sail south to Cayos Albuquerque. These are two small islands located approx 29 miles south of San Andres. We met up with our friends Aaron and Lyla on S/v Blow Me Away (BMA) and spent the next few days enjoying their company and the beautiful snorkeling and fishing that these islands afford.

The two little islands are no more than an acre each and only 500 yards apart but are as different as night is to day. The one island is comprised of a number of small hut type structures in every manner of disrepair. It is a fishing camp and daily small fishing pongas arrive and take up residence for a few days while they fish the local waters. Some of these young fellows are amazing in that they can free dive quite easily to 60 feet and stay down there long enough to actually ‘spear the big one’. It is not uncommon to see them bring in 20 and 30 pound Grouper and Snapper. But what they have in fishing skills they lack in domestic skills. The island is quite the mess, with every manner of fishing hook, line and sinker strewn around and they tend to clean their catch and leave the tendrils where they fall, which makes for great eating for the flies and boy are their flies. Also, because a goodly portion of the fish cleaning product makes its way into the shallow water, it attracts a number of sharks. We had been allowing Doc to swim to shore but quickly changed that after seeing the size of some of these Darwinian monsters. One of the hammerhead sharks measures approx 30 feet. I think you get the idea. This is not a place for casual swimming.

The other small island is home to the Columbian Navy. At any given time you will find a dozen or so clean cut, well mannered young men who are eager to converse in any language, but in particular they want to learn English. They are well disciplined and they keep their little island spotless. Albeit it is all sand and coral, they sweep it daily, and have numerous paths all neatly lined with conch shells painted in different colours, a small exercise area with the most rudimentary type of weights, i.e. Conch shells in cement on either end of a metal rod, but it gets the job done. Doc and Gary had fun each day spending sometimes hours at a time talking in Spanglish (Gary’s version of English/Spanish with hand signs) but somehow both sides of the conversation were understood and friendships were made.

It was finally time to move on, and with some regret we said our goodbyes and left behind the Spanish/English dictionary we had been using with our new friend Amelio who had undertaken to teach the rest of his amigos English.

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