We heard from everyone we talked to, that going to see the little islands in Lake Nicaragua should be on our list of "to dos". We also wanted to kayak instead of take the boats because we thought the exercise would add to the enjoyment, and being close to the water would be more exciting. Our guide Rodolfo passed us off to his friend Jairo who owned kayaks. Rodolfo told us Jairo spoke English, Spanish, Chinese, and I can't remember how many other languages. He was pretty amazing.
Although we were getting into the edge of a lake, it really felt like we were embarking on a river journey. Once again Tia and I compared to Disney and their Jungle cruise, and their Swiss Family Robinson, and Disney came up short again!
There were greenish water lilies all around us right from the start.
We split into two double kayaks, me with Kai,
Jeff with Ari, and Tia in a single.
There were many families living on these islands. Jeff and I entertained the idea while we paddled. We're always doing that when we go somewhere. Dreaming is one of our hobbies I guess. Here you can see a net basket hanging into the water. People that live here catch fish, then put them into the basket to stay alive and fresh until they are ready to use them, or take them into the market in Granada to sell. Some islands had electricity and some didn't.
This trip was especially wonderful for birds. I have no idea how many kinds of birds we saw, but almost all of them were beautiful. Lots of white herons, blue kingfishers, white pelicans (gorgeous birds), what I think was a northern Jacana (reddish brown with black accents), and many others. So colorful and plentiful and hard to photograph while you're paddling!
This huge tree is covered in hanging nests. These are built by the Montezuma Oropendola (scroll down about halfway on the linked page to see it) --a beautiful bird with a bright yellow tail. The female gives the male three chances to build an acceptable nest for her, and then if he can't pull it together, she dumps him.
So many little shacks with people just surviving (we saw two kids run down to the edge of their island with gallon jugs to get water at one point, and a mother and daughter bathing in the lake just a little ways away), and then so many luxurious, gorgeous estates.
Mango trees hung over us on some islands, palms on others. It really felt like we were exploring the Amazon.
About halfway through, Tia got tired, and switched with Ari. By that time, Kai was barely paddling. We were all tired to be honest.
OK, here's a "what can you find in this picture" puzzle for you.
Do you see him now?
How about now?
We finally made it to monkey island. There was a vet (maybe around ten years ago?) that set this island up as a refuge for injured monkeys. We were imagining a huge island teeming with animals, but it was actually really small with only maybe 8 or 9?
Three different kindsthat we could see: howler, spider, and capuchin.
This was the best part: this mother monkey carried her baby around on her back and never slowed down. It was like that baby was part of her body it held on so tight!
We made our way homeward as the sun got lower in the sky. Remember it always sets around 6:00 here. Luckily the way back didn't seem half as long as the way out although we followed the same route. It was a good thing, because by this point my hands had the beginnings of blisters and I was exhausted. Curiously, I wasn't muscle sore the next day. That was a pleasant surprise. None of us were. Overall a great excursion.