AN ODYSSEY OF SELF-DISCOVERY
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Lake Nicaragua: Making friends with nature

After spending some time in beautiful Granada, we headed to our Lake Nicaragua boat tour, only a short drive away. As we were driving along the lake shore, I could already feel the nature in perfect harmony – sun out, birds chirping, kids playing at the (lake) beach. But the best for me was yet to come. If not for the calm waters, one can easily confuse the lake with an ocean. Yes, it’s huge, in fact, Lake Nicaragua is the largest lake in Central America. It even has the type of marine life you would expect from the ocean, such as sawfish, tarpon, and sharks.

One of the larger islands on Lake Nicaragua, inhabited by residents

After putting on our life jackets (safety first), we were off in our boat. The lake has hundreds of islets and a few larger islands, some of which are inhabited by permanent residents. The idea of having a home accessible only by boat isn’t unique but is still pretty fascinating. Some of the other larger islands are inhabited by only animals, such as monkeys. As our boat drifted between these islets, I realized how peaceful my surroundings were – they were just, serene. It was the perfect time to make friends with nature.

We stopped near one of the islets to feed the monkeys. My first customer was a small capuchin monkey. To give away the fruit, I extended my hand. The little guy did the same but before he could grab it, I let go and down went the fruit into the water. Clearly, I was nervous, haha. We both looked down and then back up, at each other. I had a nervous smile on my face but I don’t think my customer was amused. Take two: this time, he extended his hand with a bit of mistrust (as you can see below) but I didn’t disappoint. The expression on his face was priceless.

Feeding fruit to a capuchin monkey

The boat moved to a different island. Our next guests were the spider monkeys and this time, we were going to let one lucky monkey come on to the boat for a fruit feast. Now, I can try and explain what happened next but words won’t do justice to the experience so how about you see for yourself…

…and that was the highlight of my trip. We turned the boat around to head back to the shore. On our way back, we caught (more than) a glimpse of the Mombacho volcano. Legend has it that centuries ago, it was one of Mombacho’s explosions that led to the formation of these hundreds of islets around Lake Nicaragua. Interestingly, the volcano isn’t extinct but the last eruption occurred in 1570.

A view of the Mombacho volcano from Lake Nicaragua

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