Friday, July 20, 2012

The Eel and Other Stories

I promise that I won't dwell too long on the past, but I just had to relate a few more Providencia moments before we move on to Panama. 

Attack of the Eel

We went for a nice snorkel with some lovely fellow cruisers that we’d met in Roatan. The coral was gorgeous, and I was swimming along, diving down to watch the sea fans wave in the currents and chasing fish through the coral canyons when I spied him (or her, I guess) - the green eel with his head poking outside his lair, a grumpy expression on his face and a row of sharp, nasty looking teeth visible through his barely open mouth. I thought, oh, cool, an eel. I’ve got to show Vlad. 

Right then, a wave pushed me just a smidge too close to the eel and his nice, cozy hole in the coral and rocks. The eel looked even grumpier. At this point, I was too close - too close to the eel, too close to his eel hole - and no one, I mean no one, was happy. There wasn’t enough space to swim over him, and if I turned around and swam away the eel would have gotten a flipper in the face, which might have soured his mood even further. So I tried to swim backwards, my arms flapping like a freaked out chicken. I actually gave myself a charlie horse from trying to propel myself backwards away from the increasingly pissed off eel. That was when Vlad grabbed my arm and pulled me away from the eel and what must have been the greatest coral hole ever judging by the eel’s protective and, I thought, over the top attitude, and Vlad proceeded to tell me that I should really pay attention to this whole eel business because they are very territorial. I think I’ve got that pretty well figured out. 
Dinner with Friends 
Introducing Leonardo and Livingston

Leonardo and Livingston, the greatest moto-taxi drivers in existence, invited us to Leonardo’s house for Sunday lunch, where we had crab, salad, coconut rice and homemade island bread, which is like typical bread except with fresh squeezed coconut milk instead of water. The coconut rice is made in the same way, substituting coconut milk for plain water.
Leonardo's wife and super cute daughter

It was an amazing lunch, and we loved meeting Leonardo’s wife Candy and their two kiddos. They showed us all the different fruit trees in their yard: three types of mango trees, a tamarind tree, a sour sap fruit tree (makes great juice!), a guava tree, a papaya tree, coconut trees, a type of plum tree, a plantain tree, a banana tree, some other type of weird banana tree and finally the stinky too tree, which has a strange, giant bean that they break open and eat. Vlad surmises that the reason they call it stinky too is that someone tried it and said, “Wow, this tastes bad,” and his friend replied, “Yeah, and it’s stinky too.” It must be one of those acquired things. 
Stinky too aside, the fruit was delicious. I’m pretty sure you could eat something off of every tree in their yard, and they gave us samples of all of it plus two giant bags of sour sap fruit and tamarind. If you ever go to Providencia, you couldn't pick better people to show you around town. Just ask for them in the town square. Trust me, everyone knows everyone on this island. Or e-mail me for Leonardo's phone number. 


  1. Glad you escaped the angry eel with all your digits still attached!

  2. Me too! I actually got kind of scared for a second because my frantic attempts to paddle backwards were totally useless. Thank goodness Vlad was doing his job while we're in the water, which is to keep me from getting eaten.

  3. Those Moray eels are so menacing looking! I encountered one that was king of a submerged motor. There was a whole eco system on that motor and he (or she) was right in the middle. Floating with it's mouth open...smiling at me.

    The locals sound so friendly! I was thinking the coconut rice and bread was just to be fancy but I bet they use Coconut water because it's cheaper than clean water. Maybe.

    1. Actually the water they used was from a rain collecting system, so it was pretty clean. I think they use the coconuts because what else are they going to do with them!

      That sounds like a great old motor. I love it when some human thing is turned into an entire ecosystem.

  4. I had one of those slimy creatures rub up against my leg while chatting in the shallows. Creepy! We got a pretty good photo:

  5. Close encounters of the eel kind, indeed. I love the picture!

  6. Good job, Vlad! It's nice when a husband saves his wife from being eaten by territorial eels. Sounds like a terrific place!
    BTW, I use that coconut water you can buy in the drinks section now to make rice. also I've used canned coconut milk many times. It is totally yummy! Coconut goes good with just about everything.