Monday 18 March 2024

Isla Fuerte, an island of coral

Off the coast of Colombia, lies Isla Fuerte (the Strong Island), an island created by a coral uplift, meaning a reef that has been lifted above sea level by tectonic forces! And what better place to start our adventures along the Colombian coast than here? 

After a rather bumpy twenty minute speed boat ride, we arrived at our hotel's wide open bay, palm trees overhanging and a few colourful houses dotted here and there with traditional palm tree roofs. As we were walking to our cabin, we spotted up the trees two interested looking sloths! Not to slow the fire, but apparently, as we've learnt through our days here, sloth viewings are kind of normal on Isla Fuerte! I know....crazy!! 

Every single day, outside our cabin and on the hotel grounds, we spotted sloths hanging in the trees or moving slowly from branch to branch. At first, it was astonishing to see them so close to us every day. And then the one day, when we didn't see a sloth on our way to breakfast, it felt bizarre like something was missing. 

On our last morning, Dan heard rustling noises right outside our cabin and guess what...? A sloth was actually walking across the ground towards a tree that was in front of our cabin. He climbed the tree and came incredibly close to Ismene and me - it didn't look as if the sloth was afraid at all, he just went on climbing his tree in a sloth-like manner, slowly but with such a good, confident grip. And though I bet I can beat a sloth in speed climbing, I am certain I will never keep up with a sloth's stamina and dexterity...and let's face it...its' coolness!

The other great thing about the island was that in front of our cabin, was one of the three largest trees on the island. It was a strangler fig, now wide and humongous, and at that, quite tall! In the evenings, this magnificent giant tree was illuminated by ground lights making it glow creepily in the dark. It seemed like it was something out of a horror story or a dark fairy tale but oddly calming at the same time. It is hard to explain but it looked so cool. It's called the walking tree because it's dropped so many new roots down from its branches that it looks like it's walking through the forest.

The other big tree we visited was a Guacari tree, a native tree grown massive and providing a much needed shade in the blistering sun! Children were playing in its shade, and people had put hammocks up on its branches. 

During our stay on the island, we spent our days snorkelling off the beaches to the various coral spots. One day, we also took kayaks out to coral reefs which were a bit further out. We dived off the side of the kayaks and saw different types of corals which varied in size and shape. Unfortunately, the sea was a bit murky which muted the colours of the corals. But given the last (and my first) time I saw coral was in Kenya almost 5 years ago (and so I don't remember much), it was really great to swim in sea with coral again. 

We visited the northern side of the island only once because it is much wilder, rockier and not inhabited. On the very tip, there is also a lagoon which is part of a national reserve where there are more than 100 different birds, amphibians, and plant species. We visited late in the afternoon and the lagoon was serene and very pretty. And Dan managed to spot a few new species and added them on his bird list which I think now has reached 170 different species. 

Off to another island in a couple of days and I can't wait to see how it compares to Isla Fuerte...

Bye for now!

1 comment:

  1. Hallo from Athens!
    Amazed once again by the great story telling abilities you got there, depicting every detail with simplicity and rich vocabulary,..everybody can drop in this adventure and "see" these
    sloths moving gentle around ..
    Keep on the good vibes!