Barefootin’ And Driftin’…Slow Days On Big Corn Island
Each day unfolds slowly here on the island. Long before the first glimmers of light we hear the big rooster who lives behind our little abode greeting the day. He seems to take great pleasure in moving outside around our bungalow and trumpeting his wake-up call from underneath each window until he’s satisfied that he’s been heard. The unseen birds then begin their chorus of songs taking turns to break out into lyrical solos before blending back into the cacophony. And always, in the background, the sound of the surf – some days a gentle swoosh and others a crashing roar.
One day we climbed into a panga with two Creole fishermen and Steve and Toni, a couple of new friends, and slowly trolled along the rocky cliff faces for barracuda before setting off across the water in search of kingfish and yellowtail snapper. The panga, a local vessel, lacked Coast Guard approved life vests aboard but there was a bucket filled with coconuts to quench our thirst. The trick was to hack off the outside skin with a sharp machete, poke a quarter-sized hole into the point and then savor the contents. In between practicing line- fishing and sharing the two battered poles between the four of us, we drifted slowly through the morning, hypnotized by the movement of the waves in various shades of blue and not bothered appreciably by our failure to catch anything but a couple of pan-size perch.
Another day, we took the ferry across the water to Little Corn Island and spent a few hours strolling around the picturesque and quaint small island, admiring a little store whose walls were built from glass bottles and mortared together into a colorful mosaic and eating excellent kingfish tacos for lunch at a lodge overlooking a coral reef before returning to our own island.
Every Sunday there’s a baseball game in the corrugated roofed stadium whose fences are papered with colorful advertisements. For an admission price of 20 cordobas (less than $1) you can while away the early afternoon hours rooting for your favorite team, applauding standout plays and listening to the booing and cursing in the colorful Caribe dialect as abuse is heaped upon an unfortunate player. Reggae and classic country western music blasts from the overhead speakers and occasionally, a member of the audience will stand and shimmy a few dance moves to celebrate an especially good play. A woman sells a little spicy and delicious meat-filled, half-moon shaped pie called Caribe patties and sings out “pat-TEE, pat-TEE, pat-TEE” as she walks the aisles. After she makes her sale to us she proudly confides that the young man at bat, number 11, is her grandson but “He ain’t playin’ so good today”. Indeed, he went 0 for 3 for the afternoon.
And always, there’s swimming and snorkeling in the sea, walking the almost deserted road around and about the island, watching the children laughing and at play, poking among the various fruits and vegetables on sale for the tastiest, exchanging greetings and pleasantries with the locals, napping occasionally and reading book after book. It reminds me of the slow and lazy, endless summer days of childhood; a feeling and memory to be savored.
By Anita and Richard, December, 2013