The Island

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Jim & Jason at base camp

We can always justify an expedition by calling it research, and our trip to explore ‘Los Farallones’ fell into that category. This loose collection of small islands and breaking rocks sits a few kilometres off the coast near the village of Cacique. The largest island which hosts an unmanned lighthouse was our destination. It was our second attempt, the last time the swell was too big to allow a safe landing, and even this time in the flat calm the lancha could only get us within 50m of the rocks and we had to paddle our gear in on kayaks and a small dinghy.

We ferried our camping gear and supplies ashore as fast as possible, piled it up and quickly covered it with a tarp before an approaching squall hit. Even torrential (warm) rain and wind isn’t really a problem in the tropics, and as the sun quickly reappeared, we assessed where to put up the tents. A stark and vaguely hostile environment, dead skeletal trees, a jumble of bare guano-covered rocks, no shade, curious frigate birds and boobies wheeling overhead. We decided to explore and see if there was an easier place to make a camp.

We scrambled over the rocks, climbed up the scary near vertical steps to the lighthouse. The views were breathtaking but there really wasn’t anywhere obvious to set up. In the end Jim wished he’d brought a pick axe as we worked to create a flat space for our tent near where we came ashore. Jason ended up sleeping on a canted piece of concrete slab ( left over from the sea-destroyed dock ) and Amy & Austin decided on a spot up by the lighthouse. There was very little breeze that night and when it got too hot they abandoned their tent to sleep outside on the bracken-like grass. Amy said there was nothing quite like waking up to the sensation of a hermit crab combing through your hair (!) Jason felt the birds were deliberately using him as target practise, as he woke to find streaks of bird poop ONLY on him, and not his surrounds. We were lucky, slept much better on our lumpy floor than we expected, but it was sweltering.

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If these are Boobies, does that make their perch site a Boobery?

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Base camp from the lighthouse

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Sunset over the Caribbean….

 

Our underwater experiences more than made up for the discomfort of the camping… we had wanted to explore out there for years… the visibility is spectacular, 10m, 15m, 20m? The fish obviously don’t see too many fisherman. We almost got tired of the Angels, both French & Queen. We’ve never seen so many Black Durgons. A pair of majestic Eagle Rays glided (glid?) past  several metres below us. The underwater landscape is like nothing I have experienced since Gozo in the Mediterranean, or Saba in the Caribbean.

The viz is out of this world, far enough from the mainland that runoff from rivers, or aguaceras, has no effect. The current sweeps it clean also.

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Holding on tight!

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A pair of Porkfish

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A beautiful French Angel fish

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Typical sea life

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A Honeycomb Cow fish

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Lined rock and pounding surf

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School of Doctorfish

It was a great trip with great folk, and as Arnie would say “We’ll definitely be back!

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