Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Jan 31st: Red Eyes Glow amongst the Mangroves

Sunny, Hot, light wind form the NE
Distance 6.5 KNM to camp another 4 paddled in the mangroves.
Dinner: Coconut and Garlic Poached fish with beans lentils and rice.
I sit writing by the campfire as a young Crocodile sits quietly watching me from the water that is barely 3 IMG_4044meters from me. When I look up and out across the lagoon, the crocs eyes glow back at me in the light from my headlamp. The Croc is maybe 5 feet long at a stretch and quite curious (especially compared to the other one who came around for a look and swam off as soon as I shone a light on it), this one will let us approach and observe, seemingly as much as it is observing us. In the light of our headlamps we can see the large reptiles whole body, when Allie and I approach to close the croc submerges and we watch it walk off along the sandy bottom, only to pop up to the surface a little further out. Perhaps it is the smell of freshly cooked fish that brings these crocs to us, or maybe it is just the movement and the firelight? Either way I am sure it is in hope of food. Allie and I caught 3 fish for dinner, Allie 2 and myself 1; they are Small fish but more than enough to feed us, especially poached over the fire in Coconut water fresh from a young coconut with a touch of garlic. Hmm hmm!
DSC07774Today we paddled only 6 KNM down the coast before we DSC07784came to the estuary mouth of Barco Esgadelan and we had to go in, the time was only 10am and there was the planned 12 knm we wanted to do today; however the area looked amazing and beckoned us in. The entrance to the lagoon was a touch tricky we had to work our way through surf around and past a rocky, crocodile tail like, natural groin. Dog legging through the surf, timing the swells, Allie was nervous sitting in the surf zone, though she followed me through and we cut first right through the small waves, and then took a sharp left behind the rock wall entrance before avoiding the bigger surf. Then, in the calm behind the jagged rock wall, we entered a lost world, a big lagoon of clear water and golden sand bottom.
Surrounded by giant mangrove trees, some 50 feet tall, my mind instantly was thinking “we need to camp here and explore!”; Allie was also awe struck and we mutually decided to paddle up the river into the heart of the mangrove and consider a place to camp on return to the lagoon. This was a pristine and diverse mangrove forest, at least 4 species of mangrove existed here, some as tall as 50 feet with big leggy roots, others a tangled mass of tangled support roots and twisted trunks, some had buttressed roots like the fins on a rocket ship. It was a beautiful place and a prime example of how amazing these, often misunderstood and underappreciated, forest are.
Spot the Crocodile.
DSC07808We returned from the tight clustered depths of the mangroves after paddling for well over 2 hours and set up camp under an almond tree on a beautiful beach. After a siesta it was fishing time were once again hermit crabs on hooks caught us dinner (I really like hermit crabs and feel terrible that I use them for bait, however they work a treat). In front of the camp is a deep main channel and it is like being at an aquarium; while fishing we saw a number of large fish swim by, a shark, a big Snook and very big Jack, two big Moray eels. At one point Allie hooked a huge Sheep head snapper (it must have been a 30 pound fish) and even before it got to fight, the hook in its mouth snapped, leaving us relieved we didn’t have to deal with the hassle of a huge fish on a small hand line. There are Macaws here as well, they seem to be everywhere on this island, quite magic. At dusk, Grey throated Wood Rails settled into the trees to roost with their cackling “whoot a coo” of a call, and the sun set on this yet again magical day.
DSC07813I look out again now as I finish up this log entry and the crocs eyes still glow across the water; it is time for me to go to bed, where Allie is already asleep. We aim to round the SE point of Coiba tomorrow and finish the exposed section of coast; it has been truly magic.

No comments:

Post a Comment