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Corn Island

Photos by Jakub Okon Kuba Okon Photography Facebook

Big Corn waters: the Caribbean colors that people dream about. This is what called me.

Travel by land: The night bus to El Rama. It leaves Managua at 9.30pm, lurching its way to the Rama docks. Getting sleep on the bus is highly unlikely. We arrive in Rama at 3am.

The Rama-Bluefields panga is setting off at 6am. There’s a huge line for tickets, it’s raining, and I’m pretty beat from a lack of sleep.  The military officers here on drug patrol are obviously a lot happier than I am.

The fully packed panga finally leaves the dock. I’m sitting next to my new homie, chicken. Half way throughout the trip, the panga breaks down – engine failure. It’s also drizzling a little rain through most of this leg of the trip. Chicken and I are not impressed.

There’s no cel phone signal out here, so we’re stuck waiting for a few hours. Eventually, another panga turns up and we all change boats in the middle of the river. Still haven’t slept.

After 5 hours (instead of 2), we finally land in Bluefields. At least I’m not in a rainy patch of jungle anymore…

I head for the port, where I spot some kids fishing. The growing crowd is ready to go already.

I’m told I have two options: I can get a smaller boat (departing soon, at 9am), OR I can wait for the bigger boat to set off. I’m about to head out into the open ocean. A big boat sound wiser but the problem is, nobody knows when the big boat is going to leave. Could be a while.

I decide I’m too tired to wait for safety so I hop into the small panga. It’s packed to the gills with so many people and so much stuff that it looks ready to sink. We all have to get off so the panga can be re-packed, and everyone can fit. Then we’re FINALLY ready to go.

I stand for this ride – it’s a 5 hour trip. The ocean’s pretty rough and the boat is bouncing all over the place. Larger waves slap the bow and soak everyone on board. Several people vomit. On and off, the sky spits out some rain. It’s soaking wet and I’m hesitant to pull out my camera. I distract myself by zoning out on my neighbour’s golden watch. Pimp.

Big Corn Island: Welcome to paradise

Desayuno: Today’s breakfast is fresh caught fish.

Slivers of gold: this fisherman is painting his boat in the rays of sunset.

Lost in thought.

Corn Islanders are friendly people. The kids spend a lot of time playing in the water. I snap this view of the island on the flight home.

Island life revolves around the beach, and is punctuated by color.

One of Big Corn’s many fishermen, pausing for thought in his doorway.

I happened to catch an island baptism; it’s a community affair. This IS a heavenly place.

Portraits of the children of Big Corn, inspired by color and energy.

I take the prop plane back to Managua. It’s a quick flight, and you get great views of the land of lakes and volcanoes.

What a trip!

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