Today, we got a lot to tell you guys !
Well, the day didn’t exactly start as planned. We had met the tour guide yesterday to organize a day trip today starting at 10pm (well, apparently, it was supposed to be 10:30). But the guide only came around 11:30. Ok, it’s the Caribbean, we know everything takes time out here. And here you’re much better treated than on the Colombian coast (well, I guess the tourist coming here are richer and thus more demanding). The guide offered his apologies and a reason as to why he was late (and it was not because he was hungover!), and immediately told us the trip would last an hour longer to compensate for his lateness.
So we left our small village of Old Bank (on Bastimentos island, for those of you who don’t follow the blog regularly!) to go to sloth island. It was actually a good thing to start late as the sky started to clear up in the late morning, and the whole trip was done under great weather. To get to sloth island, we followed Bastimentos island and some other neighboring islands but also lots of mangroves. So we took the chance to shoot an awesome video for you guys (and for us, of course 😉 ). As you may notice, there is a small finger in a corner of the video at some point. That’s because Alice shot it lying on her stomach at the front of the ship, thus she had to hold on to her Smartphone to avoid any any unwanted immersion of the electronics (no, we’re not hipster enough to own a GoPro :p ).
On sloth island we found… sloths (you don’t say!). Well actually, our guide found sloths and showed them to us, because the sloths are actually very well camouflaged, as their color is very close to the trees they hang on to. So thanks to our guide, we managed to see a few of them.
So for those of you who like Discovery Channel, a sloth sleeps about 20hrs a day (now we feel much less shame about sleeping in in the morning!), but he also only comes down from his tree once a week to relieve himself (well, I guess with 4 stomachs and an average digesting time of a month, it’s never a very urgent problem 😉 ). Sloths also actually swims very well, although they only do it in the mating season and around their island, and not to go from island to island (I guess it would be too tiring for such a lazy animal :p ).
We then went near Hollywood beach, were like in Hollywood we saw lots of star…fishes! For those of you who didn’t know it’s not cool to take a starfish out of the water, even just for a selfie (it seems obvious, but some tourists are quite stupid). A starfish can survive outside of water only about 12 seconds. It will also die if you touch it (even underwater) with your hands carrying a bit of sunscreen. For us it wasn’t a problem, the water was shallow and very clear, so we could see them easily from the boat!
After this, we went near the Zapatillas island (the whole national park with a couple islands and most of Bastimentos is also called Zapatillas). There we did some amazing snorkeling, much more amazing than in Sapzurro. Well, the equipment here was much better, but also the corals were far more diverse and colored (I guess the water is less polluted here), and there was an amazing number of fishes, some shy and some less shy.
Then we moved on to deep boarding (not sure this is the official name..). It was quick but very fun. You take only the mask, leave the snorkel, and hold on horizontally to some sort of half surf board that’s pulled by the boat through a rope. The board makes it easy to move beneath water and get up for some air from time to time. The only drawback was that if the boat is going a bit fast and your swimming suit is loose, it can quickly become naked deep boarding! Good thing we had the tight swimming suits on today :).
After deep boarding, we landed on one of the two Zapatillas islands. The islands are quite nice although very small, with nice beaches around and a small forest inside with a wooden path. Most of the interesting stuff is found underwater around the island (where we saw lots of corals, fishes and even dolphins!).
And then it was already mid-afternoon, so we were starving. We stopped by a restaurant on stilts build near a mangrove island (so the only access is by sea). We ate the traditional rice with a mix of octopus, squid, cuttlefish and shrimps with a beer (because it was all they had left 😉 ). And then it was nap time (well, we had done all the planned activities), so we laid back in the hammocks with a stunning view over the sea and the “human construction free” surroundings.
Once back in Old Bank, after a quick wash up at our hostel, we went for a walk just in time to watch the sunset. Even though the sun itself was hidden behind clouds, it created amazing colors over the clouds above the very calm sea (here too, the island are protected by a coral reef).