One night there, we shared an awesome pizza and got chatting to 2 couples on other tables. One of the couples were older and ended up buying us all a beer, saying we made them miss their kids! Made us miss our parents!!
Another day we did something very different and went to a mud volcano.
We didn’t just visit but we went INTO it! We got changed in a hut at the base of it and then climbed the steps feeling rather exposed in our swim suits, unsure as to what we had committed ourselves to! At the top, there was a bit of a queue which gave us time to peer over the edge into the ‘crater’ of mud. It was quite a sight that greeted us; lots of people reeling around really close together, screaming, all completely engulfed in the mud. It was like we were looking down on savage aliens…we were to join them!! Kyle first…I watched as he carefully made his descent down the ladder, so clean…until he reached the mud…I couldn’t watch anymore as I was now being chivvied on to go down…
When I got to the mud, suddenly there were men’s hands on me – and they weren’t Kyle’s! I was being eased into the mud and taken to ‘the massage station’. This was where I found Kyle again, already mid massage.
Twice in one week we found ourselves in this situation; Colombians massaging us against our will!! Again, we went with it. After our 2 minute rub, we were then pushed away into all the other mud aliens.
– we had to go down and walk to the river, where some ‘local women’ awaited to wash us!! We waded out a way and they sat us down. What came next was another unique experience. It was like we had regressed to babies and were being washed thoroughly by our mothers!! We could hardly breathe as they kept pouring water over our heads – no warning! After the head was clean they moved down… Again, with no warning – off went my bikini top! I had to hunch down in the murky river to stay covered! Then lower… off went the bottoms! Sweet Jesus! At the same time, Kyle was having an equally invasive time; with one quick swoop his shorts were floating in front of him! Although the whole ordeal was quite bizarre we enjoyed every moment!
After 4 nights we left Cartagena to go East to explore more of the Caribbean coast. We took a 4/5 hour bus to Taganga. Lonely Planet describes it as ‘a small fishing village that doesn’t quite know what has hit it’. Completely true. The hippies have taken this little place over; parties every night on the street. It is quite a poor town and the roads aren’t really roads. It’s a little grimy and we heard along the way that it can be a bit dangerous at times.
One skill which took a bit of getting used to was taking your mask off your face, put it back on (filled with water) and then breath out through your nose whilst putting pressure on the top of the mask allowing the water to escape with the bubbles from the bottom of the mask. This was surprisingly hard because somehow when you remove your mask you panic – even though you are breathing through your mouth, having your eyes and nose exposed in the water feels scary.
The long strip was absolutely deserted and there were some really impressive waves crashing before us.
|A little guy we met on the walk|
|Studying back at the cabana|
|Mateo with an eel, (dead thankfully!)|
On the third day after having a busy morning of 3 dives before midday it was back to Taganga to take our exam, gulp! I needn’t have been worried and Kyle was right to be reminding me to ‘chill out about the test’ for the last few days leading up to it. It was unlike any ‘exam’ I’ve ever taken before. We could talk to each other and ask questions to Mateo. We found the multiple test questions fairly challenging and not as straight forward as everyone had kept telling us. Anyway – we both passed with 90% (obviously with nearly exactly the same answers marked) so we were very happy! We were officially qualified open water scuba divers.
We took Mateo out after for a beer with a friend who also did the course at the same time (but in Spanish) to say thanks and celebrate. Here Mateo told us a funny story about how he once fell asleep under water (5 meters) whilst doing the ‘safety stop’ for 3 minutes but woke up after 5 minutes to find his students had already surfaced. That shows just how comfortable professional scuba divers feel breathing under water!!
Our hostel walked out right onto the sand. When we checked in at reception, I automatically asked;
The trouble was that the waves were so big that he wasn’t able to see Kyle and he was swimming out on an angle away from him. Luckily a massive wave broke just behind and Kyle managed to catch it and pretty much ride it all the way in. The whole beach erupted and clapped; I looked around and realised that all eyes had been out to sea on him– I had been so absorbed I hadn’t realised.
|A friend Hannah made in the sea|
|What a pretty picture|
|The cutest puppies that slept in our hut|
|Suppose it wasn't all bad...|
Most of the beaches in Tayrona aren’t safe to swim in because of the infamous current. We kept seeing signs ‘Many tourists have died; don’t add to the statistic.’ We will try!
It was cool to also boat past and see the areas we did our diving and the cabana we stayed in.