Diving in Colombian waters
Santa Marta (Distrito Turístico Cultural E Históri, Colombia
Another early morning, I left at 7.15am to find the bus to Taganga.
Turns out I severely overestimated how long it would take me to find a bus. Within 2 minutes of stepping out of the door I had bought 4 bananas (30p) and was on a bus (40p) to Taganga.
It is super quick and by 7.30am I had arrived!
I didn’t need to be here until 8am, but never mind. I’m going diving! So I just sat by the pool until it was time to go. We didn’t leave until nearly 8.30am. By that time the dive centre dogs were well acquainted with me. They obviously like bananas.
Out to Tayrona national park again! This time on a much larger boat – so not so bumpy and dangerous feeling!
Actually it was a rather massive boat for just 3 divers and 1 snorkeler…! We didn’t go too far, just to a nearby rocky island – Isla de la Aguja – and jumped in for the first dive.
The visibility was awful. Barely 5 meters. But I can get over that, doesn’t bother me. We were a nice small group, but what does annoy me is when people zoom around all over the place, up and down and back and forth and more than once pulling my fin to show me something. A moray eel. If you’re going to annoy me, at least show me something good. Not a blooming giant moray that are not uncommon (and that I have seen thousands of).
Of course after barely 30 minutes he had ran out of air, so I had the last half an hour in peace and quiet.
I was surprised to find a seahorse. I love seahorses!
Didn’t see much else of note. A cute, tiny box fish. That’s about it. And the guide was too busy off taking photos to do any actual guiding anyway.
We spent the surface interval on a small beach on the rocky island. This beach is used by fishermen and the ground was littered in fish bones, largely the heads of crocodile needlefish 😦 sad.
Actually there were a lot of fishermen around. That could explain the lack of sea life around. There were no large fish. And a lot of tiny tobies. The largest fish was barely 20cm long. I was surprised when we were offered sugared guava, cake and tea during the surface interval!
Don’t normally get such treats on a day trip out! And I was a bit hungry after my banana breakfast. The other guy diving made a big point of telling me how much diving he had previously done, been here there and everywhere. Well. You couldn’t tell. (I’m mean…but have little patience for know-it-all people)
The next dive was nearer the shore, on a wall. Again the visibility was awful. It was a bit like lobster wall at mabul! I have no idea why the guide insisted on being so deep. My computer was not agreeing with that, so I just did my own thing, about 5m above him – with him being just in sight!
The other guy seemed to have other ideas and within 20 minutes we had lost him. Typical. When you lose someone, the protocol is to look around for 1 minute, then ascend. We did so. He did not.
After about 10 minutes of waiting on the surface, he hadn’t appeared. The boat was also searching. I’m not sure why I agreed, but the guide insisted we carry on without him. Presuming he would come up by himself shortly. The rest of the dive was pretty rubbish. Didn’t see anything at all really.
When we came up, the other guy was back on the boat. Seemingly unaware that everyone had been searching for him and waiting for him. He had just carried on by himself. Oh dear.
We arrived back to shore about 12.30pm and after a quick change and washing all my stuff, I made my way back to Santa Marta on the bus. Santa Marta was buzzing with people.
After dropping my copious stuff in the hotel, I went for another wander around. I wanted to try some of the fresh lemonade that is sold on every street. However the lemonade man insisted that I tried a red juice instead. This juice was very sweet and filled with so much fruit, papaya, pineapple, melon and apple. It’s known as a salpicon. But I have no idea what the red juice was! It was nice anyway and only cost 60p.
I also got a huge cup of cut up green mango for 60p. Yum!! A bit more walking and I ended up on some cute pedestrianised streets and a quiet park. The buildings along here were pretty and I was out of the crowds. I stumbled across a couple of cute cafes and decided that 3pm was a sensible time to have some lunch! I ordered a vegetable wrap. But I ended up with a vegetable arepa instead. Oh well! It was really tasty!! And covered in so much delicious salad – I’ve missed vegetables!
I also ordered a juice – lulo, maracuya and mango. It was so delicious!!! A bit more expensive than buying street food, but not too bad at £6, given I was in a rather touristy cafe.
I found an electronics street, a shoe street, a clothing street. So much going on. One odd thing here, that I’ve not seen in order countries are ‘calling stalls’. This is someone with a small table and about 6 or more mobile phones plugged in on the table. Usually there will be various people standing around having a phone call. Turns out these stands are not for people who have no phones. Instead, the table owner will buy large pay as you go balances from each cell company. And each company runs special rate calls at different times. So say you own a phone from company A, but want to call someone who has a phone from company B, it will be cheaper for you to pay the calling-booth-person to use their phone, than to use your own! These stands are extremely popular, you can barely walk 10 paces without bumping into one! Lastly, I bought some little fried dough balls. Really healthy…. Then went to pack for the final time. Sad.