Friday, January 15, 2016

Playa Tortuga

Having discovered the refreshing nature of estuaries, we google mapped our area to look for more rivers that met with a beach.  We decided to check out one called Playa Tortuga, Turtle Beach.  The river was wide and shallow where it emptied out onto the flat beach and we soon found much to explore.  Parts of the swift flowing current were deep enough to float a kid on a boogie board, and all the kids had a fabulous time racing down the river on their bellies.

When that got old they did their part to widen
the river.
When that got old we meandered down the beach a little ways and discovered dozens of potholes full of extra toasty water.  We also met the beach's only resident, an extremely kind man who's tin shack, (literally), is located in the trees right in the center of the picture above.  I have now met a true squatter.  He was walking home while I was watching Jonah on the river bank and just stopped to chat.  He had a bright smile and was very patient with my broken Spanish.  Mostly it seemed he was happy to have someone to talk at and I was more than happy to listen.  
Couldn't believe he was doing this, I could never get him to lay
in the tub.  Here he spent a good five minutes laying on his back
listening to whatever the water was whispering. 

Maggie, "We went to a beach with a river and warm pools of water.  We played a community game and had a lot of fun!  We also saw a whole lot of scarlet macaws!"

Max, "We went and found a group of about a foot tall hot tubs.  We went and swam in these until a large crab pinched my finger and we headed home."

Remember the sweet story of Scarlet Macaws mating for life and living decades together in monogamous bliss.  We'll we decided we found the center for macaw couples therapy.  I apologize for the wind in the background and the crummy photo quality, all I had was my phone.  But this was the most macaws we had ever seen, at least a dozen pairs, and ALL of them were squawking and nipping at each other. I couldn't believe it!  It was hilarious!  And very very noisy!

While we were playing in the pools Aaron ventured over to the gentleman's house.  The man was incredibly kind.  He gave Aaron a tour of his place.  It was simple.  Four walls made from scrap wood around a hammock and topped with tin, an outdoor kitchen, and an outhouse a few meters away.  There was no running water and the only electricity was pulled from a car battery and used to light a single small incandescent bulb.  His meager pantry consisted of a pouch hanging from the ceiling with some rice, beans, and coffee in it.  About the only other thing in his diet were the fish he catches from his front yard.  Interacting as only Aaron can, somehow he set up a date for this gentleman to take us fishing a few days in the future.

Not ones to miss an opportunity, we returned to the same place the following Monday.  He had said that the fishing had to be done after dark, but I was a bit nervous about having my family on a very remote beach after dark for an assumed meeting with a stranger, so we showed up before sunset.  It had been raining and the rainbows were pretty fantastic.  

Totally certain these are my double pots of gold.

"Momma, take a picture of my belly!"
After the rainbows the sky only became more magical, and once again I was filled with incredibly deep gratitude at the beauty and the blessings that I get to be a part of.

Through all this we had not seen a bit of our new friend and with darkness now upon us we started for home, just about the time we reached our car, however, he came walking down the lane.  I think he was a little surprised to see us, but he was still willing and just as friendly as ever.  The bugs were out in full tropical force, and their was about 45 minutes before fishing time so I waited with the little boys in the car while Aaron and the oldest three followed the man to his home.  

Aaron,  "The bugs were horrendous, so he was kind enough to offer us his bug repellent, which turned out to be diesel fuel (it was very effective.)  After we all doused ourselves, he lit his cigarette and shared with us a bit of his life story.  He had six kids.  Three move to the USA, two were in neighboring villages, but never visited, and his daughter one day swam out to an offshore fishing boat to leave home and asked the captain to take her aboard.  A very dangerous thing for a young woman to do, but it is not an uncommon tale we learned.  After we had a chance to hear about him for a bit, he was kind enough to take us out fishing for an hour.  What an eye opener for us."

Max, "Today we finished our school and headed to the estuary.  We went to the fun set of pools and discovered that they were not hot because of the rain so we played in the sand.  I made a thinking tower, a drip mountain, and a wave building.  Then a man that my dad met up with took us fishing. He lived in a small shack and used diesel fuel for insect repellent.  We went out with his hand crafted net and caught many fish, at least 14!"   

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