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Protecting my Goodies While at the Lagoon

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

Day 6: Exploring what Cartagena's beaches has to offer.

This morning I woke up very excited! I decided to book a Lagoon Experience that involved a canoe, a net and fish guts. Can you guess what the activity was? No? How about I show you a few photos first!

Crabs in a bucket, my attempt at steering the canoe, and descaled fish.

Well, if you haven’t guessed it by now, I decided to go bird watching, fishing, and crabbing at a lagoon in Cienega de la Virgen. Although, the time slot I picked was during the worst heat of the day (11-3pm), I ended up having such a great time. My translator Erika and I were laughing nonstop, as we wrestled with quick little crabs trying to escape our bucket. My FANTASTIC guide also got a laugh in as he described how horrible I was at casting the fish net. No wonder Peter decided to become fisher of men instead (Okay, bad Bible joke).

The activity started with the option of having a pina colada, Cuba Libre or an ice-cold water (believe it or not, I took the water). After grabbing my drink, I hopped in the front of the canoe and enjoyed the sounds of splashing water as wild birds, and their babies took a swim. I saw red birds, white birds, blue birds and even birds that were multicolored. I wish I was able to remember all the scientific names and local nicknames, but let’s face it…I was there for the fish and the crab. As I say on my Instagram/Facebook vlogs, “I am always here for the food!”

After passing the family of birds, I got a glimpse of two different species of mangroves that protect the small lagoon. I was fascinated by how some mangroves grew from the top down, as opposed to the bottom up like most bushes and trees. Some had red leaves, green leaves and others had hanging seed pods that looked similar to long number 2 pencils. These mangroves in particular had all kinds of wildlife living within and on them. I saw the cutest little baby crabs using vines to crawl in and out of the water, while small white oysters attached themselves to the vine as a means to grow bigger. Let’s not forget the loud noises coming from deep within the mangroves. I thought maybe wild boar got loose, but I was later told that the noises were with from these huge white seagulls or racoons that were once pets. I am embarrassed to say this, but I was so happy to see mangroves and their little ecosystems. I once watched a documentary on DiscoveryPlus and it detailed how mangroves are essential in protecting small communities. Not only do they help to filter or clean the water, but they also protect neighborhoods from their homes being destroyed during severe flooding; it works as a natural levy. What can I say…I am a true nerd at heart! I also heard that there was a local soap opera that had scenes from these exact same mangroves. Supposedly these forbidden lovers would sneak out to canoes on the water and whoever they left the bushy mangroves, they left with a smile (can you guess while they were smiling so hard)?

Once the lagoon had a clear opening, we stopped to set our crab traps. They were small, cubed baskets with two openings. One opening for crabs to swim in to take the bait, and the other for us to use when we were ready to dump them in the bucket. Who would have none that dumping the crabs into the bucket would’ve caused such a commotion (I will get to that later). Once the traps were set and dumped into the water, we set out for a shallow island where it was time to test out my fishing skills. After watching the guide a few times, I was ready to get my feet wet and catch some fish! Out of 10 attempts, I only managed to catch about 2 small fish. Not only was the net heavier than it looked, but I found that there is an art to tossing the net correctly to ensure that it opens wide. In all, I am very thankful and grateful to people that have caught all the fish that I’ve consumed since traveling to Colombia. Y’all know I love me some fish! After carefully examining the fish that my guide caught, it looked to be three different species of fish in total. One long and skinny, one short and fat, and the other was a catfish with whiskers.

Can you name these three species of fish? I can't!

Since my tour guide saw that exhausted look on my face, he thought it was a perfect time to check the crab traps. This was probably the highlight of my experience. There were five crab traps in total and at least pulling two out of the water was a complete FAIL. The crabs didn’t make it in the bucket. Instead, the flew onto the floor of the canoe and quicky scattered. I had to protect my toes, protect my goodies (my lady parts) and ensure that I didn’t tip the Canoe over. GOD! I wish y’all were there, it was a sight to see! I was convinced that the crabs would crawl up my dress and into my bathing suit. I don’t know how, but the guide was able to grab hold of them all and clearly save the day. It was officially time to head back to the beach to eat the catch of the day. Luckily for me, I was the only person that booked the tour, so I had all the crab and fish to myself. After having a glimpse of the kitchen, failing to get the crabs into the pot of boiling hot water, I ate, cooked down with a cold coca cola and headed to the beach. In all, it was a good day.

Fried fish, steamed crab, ice-cold Coca Cola, me at the beach and my two canoe mates

Of course, that was only 11am – 4pm. Tonight I am heading out with my tour guide from Wednesday’s excursion (Issac). He is taking me out to see the Cartagena nightlife. We will first start by hanging out in the rooftop clubs and bars neat the historic clock tower, then make our way to the old town of Getsemani for local music and cocktails. But more on that tomorrow! For now, I am going to enjoy this AC and Netflix in my hotel room at Hotel Dorado Plaza Centro Histórico.

Your friend,

BrookeLynn the Friendly Blogger

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