Our Round-the-Islands Boat Trip with Enito and Joel
Joel, Enito and the ‘getting ready’ crew members
Five sets of crew met on the main jetty at ten to join Joel and Enito for a trip around both the islands of Providencia and Santa Catalina on their fast pirogue. No sooner than we were aboard, we roared off, turning right past Morgan’s Head.
The classic picture here is Morgan’s Head
There’s always one. Bear’s hat flew off but Enito expertly rescued it. We made him put it on wet but he smiled in his usual happy way. Dee and I catch up whilst Eric poses and Allen enjoys the view.
Enito took us round this tiny volcanic island to show us the rock formation.............
............. nothing until we got up close, went round and saw a baby Giants Causeway on its side.
Enito told us this little island would be our first snorkel, he would drop us and wait to scoop us up when we had had enough. “Use the current to help you go round” he said with a big grin. Mmmm, it was like being in a washing machine and the sand was a bit churned up. Still we had fun.
After our second snorkel across a reef, Enito slowed to let us see the small colony of what the locals call the Man O’War. These magnificent frigate birds stay here all year, returning to there birth place to mate and live in peace on this island, slightly bigger than the first we had seen.
Our third and last snorkel along and reef riding in the current – the water was really that blue
We passed a lovely village with a pretty Pentecostal Church and Music School. This is where the children can learn guitar, traditional bass, piano all in the Colombian style. English is taught in schools as a first language, whilst it may be written in a way we can read easily, to hear it spoken with its heavy Caribbean is a bit more tricky.
In 1630, Providence Island was settled by English Puritans, under the aegis of the Providence Island Company. These Puritans decided to settle this promising tropical island rather than cold, rocky New England, but the Providence Island colony did not succeed in the same way as the Massachusetts Bay Colony. They established slave-worked plantations and engaged in privateering, which led to the capture of the colony by the Spanish in 1641. In the 1640’s, the Puritan-controlled Commonwealth government of England tried to regain the island, but without success. In 1670, English buccaneers led by Henry Morgan took over the islands. The buccaneers controlled the islands until 1689.
In 1803, Spain assigned the islands and the province of Veraguas (western Panama and the east coast of Nicaragua) to the Viceroyalty of New Granada. The territory was administered from the province of Cartagena.
On the 4th of July 1818, French Corsair Louis-Michel Aury, flying the Argentine flag, captured Old Providence and St. Catherine islands with the help of four hundred men and fourteen ships. He found the island populated by white English-speaking Protestants and their slaves. Aury and his team used the islands as his new base from which to pursue Central American independence. His efforts to also support Bolivar in his fight for Venezuelan and Colombian independence were repeatedly turned down.
After the Spanish colonies became independent, the inhabitants of San Andrés, Providence and St. Catherine voluntarily adhered to the Republic of Gran Colombia in 1822, which placed them under the administration of the Magdalena Department. The United Provinces of Central America (UPCA) also claimed the islands. Gran Colombia in turn protested the UPCA's occupation of the eastern coast of Nicaragua. The UPCA broke up in 1838–1840, but Nicaragua carried on the dispute, as did Gran Colombia's successors, New Granada and Colombia. Colombia established a local administration (intendencia) in the islands in 1912.
In 1928, Colombia and Nicaragua signed the Esguerra-Bárcenas Treaty, which gave control of the islands to Colombia. However, when the Sandinista government assumed power in the 1980’s, Nicaragua repudiated the treaty. Nicaragua claims that the treaty was signed under United States pressure and military occupation, thus does not constitute a sovereign decision. Colombia argues that the treaty's final ratification in 1930 (when U.S. forces were already on their way out) confirms its validity. Colombia and Honduras signed a maritime boundary treaty in 1999 which implicitly accepts Colombian sovereignty over the islands.
In 2001 Nicaragua filed claims with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over the disputed maritime boundary, claiming 50,000 square kilometers in the Caribbean, including the San Andrés and Providencia archipelagoes. Colombia responded that the ICJ has no jurisdiction over the matter, and increased its naval and police presence in the islands. Colombia also defended its claim in the ICJ. On the 13th of December 2007 the ICJ ruled that the islands were Colombian territory, but left the maritime border dispute unresolved. Colombia and Nicaragua will go through another trial to resolve these claims. On the 19th of November 2012, the International Court of Justice decided that Colombia had sovereignty over the islands. However, the Court granted Nicaragua control of the surrounding sea and seabed, which include lucrative fishing grounds and what are thought to be substantial oil deposits.
The island of Providencia was hit by Hurricane Beta on the 29th of October 2005, inflicting minor to moderate damage.
Enito pointed out Roland’s Restaurant (seen on the left on Manchioneel Bay) apparently if we call Roland he will come and pick us up, we can eat and he will drop us back, sounds like a plan one evening.
We stopped in the next bay for our well earned late lunch. Bear had a fish platter consisting of conch, fish and shrimp stews, whole snapper, rice, plantain and salad. I had a wonderful plain grilled fish fillet.
As is now the norm our Social Director – Trisha sorts out the bill...........
As friends we did point out that Lycra is due to fail and as she had already had a top half failure we considered this particular suit should be confined to the deep. I did not miss out on the banter, Paddy suggested I go paddle, cover my legs in sand socks to stop the sand flies feasting on me. I stood from the plastic seat and was told I had ‘Waffle Thighs’. I can only imagine how shocking that would have looked.
Time to take some very typical beach shots, looking left and right. Crowded with just four people
Time to assemble as the boys pulled in the pirogue, roar back until our girls came into view
I wanted a picture of the boys and Patricia was in like a shot, was I jealous ??? Definitely time for a sit down on Beez
ALL IN ALL SUCH A GOOD DAY OUT