Friday, March 27, 2009

In Search of the Pink Boas

After lunch and a snorkel, we were ready to venture out in this boat, the Miss Angely, for a short ride over to Cayo Grande, home of the pink boa constrictors. Apparently this is the only place in the world where they are found. Marcos was our guide, assisted by the boy who is baling out the boat. I soon understood why he was baling; the boat sits rather low in the water under a load of 6 people and 1 dog. The waves were high enough to give us all a pretty good dousing. Karl and Courtney and Karl's dog, Uno sat in the first seat and received the brunt of the spraying. It wasn't long before Uno made his way further back in the boat, but even then, the rocking motion was too much for him on top of his lunch feast of fish heads (cooked), and pretty soon he barfed - right on my knee. Oh well, another wave soon took care of that!

Once docked at Cayo Grande, we began the search. The first spot didn't pan out, but a boy who lives on that island offered to lead us to a likely location - up hill, a steep, steep hill. So we climbed, and climbed but didn't see any snakes hanging from the trees. We reached the summit and started down the other side. "Hold it right there! If we go down, do we have to come back up here in order to go back down the other side?" "Yup", he said. "Ok, then you go on and I will wait right here - if you find something, holler and I'll come", I said. I'm glad I made that choice because they found nothing. We returned to Chachahuata disappointed, not to mention hot and tired.

So imagine our surprise the next morning when one of the men brings this small pink boa out of his hut. He had found it a month ago and brought it back to show his children, then it got loose in his hut and he had been unable to find it until that day! So we all got to hold it. I don't know if the adults get pinker with age. As you can see, only the head is pinkish on this young one.

This is the man who found the boa and me holding the boa, which blends in rather well with my pink shirt. I could feel him applying pressure against my arm as I held him. Interesting feeling - glad he was small.

To my right is the guest quarters of 8 rooms. By each door you can see the red 5 gallon buckets of water for all our washing needs. Our room, behind me, was on the windward side of the island. We soon discovered that living on a tiny island like that with very strong ocean breezes keeps everything coated with salt. Our skin felt sticky, our clothes were well salted, our glasses were constantly filmy despite frequent wipings and dunkings in the buckets of water.

Don and the boa.

This is the outhouse, being cleaned by one of the women. The big blue barrel is full of sea water for flushing the toilet. Bring your own toilet paper.

The people live on fish, rice, beans and plantains.

We saw several of these little "sailboats" come in. This one had a white plastic sail. The others had black sails that looked like recycled garbage bags. But they worked.

An outdoor kitchen where dishes are washed.

That table with the smoke rising from it is a stove. They also use mud ovens, both fueled with firewood. The co-operative kitchen had a larger propane stove for preparing guest meals.

These boys are bringing firewood over from one of the larger islands.

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