Friday, May 13, 2016

May in paradise: What to do, what to do, what to do ……

North Beach - Playa Norte  L. Lock photo
It’s May in paradise and surprisingly there is still lots happening on the island, just at a slower pace.  

The weather is consistently warm, light winds and seldom any rain. 

In a few days’ time the Whale Shark season officially opens, allowing access to these beautiful forty-foot creatures as they leisurely swim and feed.  

My favourite Whale Shark photo - National Geographic
Misnamed, Whale Sharks are neither whales nor sharks, but fish with ginormous mouths.  They are filter feeders - sucking in a mix of macro-algae, plankton, krill, crab larvae, and small squid, then expelling the water through their gills, trapping the food against their scale-like dentils.  

They aren’t interested in eating the annoying critters that thrash in the water around them, faces squashed into diving masks, and words of awe bubbling to the ocean’s surface.   When I swim with these leviathans I lose my obsessive fear of the ocean, if only for a little while.  It’s amazing.

Sea Turtles mating at Punta Sur  L.Lock
Later in the month the giant sea turtles congregate at the southern tip of the island, enthusiastically mating.  The lineups for the available females are long as two, three or four males anxiously paddle along behind waiting for their turn.   It’s a pretty cumbersome business – with the smaller male piggybacking on the larger female.  I’m guess they are both probably pretty happy with the results because the process is repeated year after year.  A few weeks after fertilization the females will come ashore during the night and lay up to 180 eggs in a deep nest laboriously dug with her flippers.  If you are lucky enough, you can sit quietly nearby and watch the females lay their eggs.  Don’t touch or disturb them.  Just let the ladies do their difficult job, and then return to the safety of the sea.

Details for May 2016 Fishing Tournament
And for those of you who like a bit more action there is always deep-sea fishing, fishing tournaments, and just-plain-fun fishing.  On May 20th, 21st and 22nd is the annual Torneo Internacional Pesca that features prizes like $350,000.00 pesos for first place (About $20,000.00 USD).  The second place prize is a pick-up truck. 

Third place, won by island friends of ours in 2013 is $100,000.00 pesos.  Other prizes include a boat and motorcycles.  Judging by the happy faces at the end of the day everyone has a great time hanging out with their buddies, drinking beer, and catching fish.  Winning a prize is an added bonus.

Happy fishermen!  

Most of our Canadian and American friends have returned to their northern homes, looking forward to catching up with family news or gardening, golfing and fishing.  We have settled into a less hectic routine, fewer parties, more quiet evenings enjoying a good book and a glass of wine on our ocean-side patio.  Ah, May, in paradise.  Our favourite time of year.

Hasta Luego

Lynda & Lawrie

Boating racing to check-in before tournament deadline

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