Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Little Slice of Rasta Dive Heaven - Little Corn Island, Nicaragua

Little Corn Island, Nicaragua

Let's just say even a week here wasn't enough, I could have spent a month relaxing, diving & meandering around little corn. Life is simple & good. No cars. No motorbikes. Little electricity. Fresh seafood. Reggae music. Killer diving. Stunning beaches = one of a kind down to earth paradise.

I arrived early Saturday evening after a short flight from managua to big corn island and then a boat ride from big corn to little corn island. Nice thing is that the boat waits for the flight to get in before leaving to little corn, makes it super easy to get there. On my ride over, I met a new friend from Wyoming. Kate & I watched the first of our many stunning sunsets on Little Corn. Literally standing there in awe. wouldn't you?

This was my first experience of feeling truly happy with my own company. I spent a lot of time reading and exploring the island on my own. One day I spent the entire afternoon on this beach, I had it all to myself. amazing.
The path to Casa Iguana hotel, which lead me to MJ & Melba beaches
MJ Beach - in love.

Melba Beach
On my second day exploring, I made one small wrong turn on a dirt path that turned a 20 min walk to the north side into a 5 hour adventure. I felt like Tom Hanks without my wilson for a second there - I was snackless, out of water and hadn’t seen anybody else along the beautiful eastern coast for a few hours. Once I made it around the bend to the north side and saw a person again, all my worries turned into a wonderful smile. I chilled at this incredibly unique hotel, Ensuenos, for the rest of the afternoon. I met some really neat people who revived me with water and a tuna snack. Yay
Ensuenos - check out how the cabina is built into the palm trees. No electriciy, a hippieseque peaceful retreat indeed
Dive little corn. 
Felt so good to get back in the water. Sadly though my 1st dive was ehhh and I think I'm a bit tainted after that liveaboard in Thailand - my standards are quite high now ek. I did see my first nurse shark on my 2nd dive, which  made me get excited again. The next couple of days ended up being insanely stormy with terrental downpours through the nights as well – perfect to be diving really. Everything is still great underwater. 

Peacock Flounder - Can you see him?

My first cave diving - I loved it! 

Ok two words, the name of this fish = "Slippery Dick" ha

The night dive on Little Corn was absolutely unreal. After this short dive, we all came up blissed out of our mind. Why you ask? String of Pearls bio-luminescence. 

We went on a moonless night and turned off our flashlights under water. The String of Pearls were especially thick that night. It was like swimming in the night sky with sparkling stars all around. They would start as when little light and grow into a string right in front of your face. All I know is it’s one of the coolest things I’ve seen. Ever! I wasn't able to get any photos, but here is a more scientific explanation about this amazing sight:

“The string of pearls phenomenon is actually the mating display of ostracods. Ostracods are tiny crustaceans, about the size of tomato seeds and they use their bioluminescence to attract mates in the same way that fireflies do. It’s a common phenomenon throughout the Caribbean and is usually best seen about one half hour after sunset or moonset. Male ostracods release their bio-luminescent chemicals into the water as a string of dots. It’s a species-specific display – sort of a Morse code. The spacing of the dots in the water is unique to a particular species so females, recognizing the code for their own species, can swim to the end of a string of dots and know that they’ll find an eligible male.”

I searched for pictures online or videos to share with you all and came up pretty empty handed. I did find this drawing & a Ted Talk on bio-luminescene that I thought was interesting. All I have to say is JUST DO IT. 
This is the same fish! Within seconds he has the ability to change patterns & colors as a defense mechanism

If you're a yogi or like a relaxing massage, definitely swing by & check out the Karma Shack. Leo is really great and I always love supporting somebody living her dream.

I stayed at the cheapest spot there is since I wanted to be out exploring & was on my own. Here are some ideas of good places to stay:
3 Brothers - owners are super nice, only hotel with a kitchen for guests, $10 a night for a private room with bath (where I stayed). cheap & central!
Ensuenos - completely unique & cool spot with tree houses, amazing people and dinners here. Reminded me of being home in SF. Only downside is it is way off the beaten path. I came here one night for dinner, walking back in the pitch black jungle for 30 minutes solo was scary shit. My head lamp and iPhone light did nothing! So if you want to grab a drink at night on the main road it is tough. Single cabinas for around $30 a night.
Lobster Inn - I think that's the name, pink hotel right on the main strip. If I found this earlier I probably would have stayed here. Friends of mine paid $25 a night for the two of them.
Casa Iguana - the eco lodge "resort" on the island. Amazing beautiful beaches and a nice restaurant right there with cool views. You get a discount at Dive Little Corn if you stay here. I think a private cabina runs about $40 a night.
I saw they were building some pretty "upscale" places that are more on the expensive side...well for little corn $100 a night is a lot :)
Cabina at Casa Iguana
Hammocks on Casa Iguana's Beach
As for where to eat & hang out. There really is only a couple bars on the island. Definitely check them out. $1 beers at the Rasta Shack thing. 
Must Eats:
1. Ensuenos
2. Desidere - I think I ate here about 5 times, so yummy!
3. Casa Iguana
4. Pan de coco and cinnamon bread …anything in a plastic container here is fresh and delicious. You'll see the locals selling it. Can't miss it!

Fabulous dinner at Ensuenos - $15 for all this

$1 Beers here! Great Sunset spot too.
Sunset right across the street from Desidere

Rad friends I met on little corn

Thank you friends for the delicious rum & coconut cocktail...by candlelight of course
Dear Little Corn Island,
Sad to say goodbye (for now). Thank you for being awesome. I will return my friend, don't you worry!
Bri Bri
p.s. I think next time I can be convinced to stay for awhile & get my dive master certification ;-)

Somebody had already carved my name for me at the lighthouse

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