Capurgana is a small undeveloped town on the border with Panama. It is way off the gringo trial and a beautiful place for us to stop for a few nights. The main attraction to Capurgana lied away from the town and the beaches, it was the coral.
James, Dorthe and I stayed in the two bedroom Dive and Green hostel with the owner Edwardo. The hostel was simple but had everything we needed, if the power had worked. As it was the fan wasn't on and despite being opposite the sea there was no breeze. James and Dorthe resorted to sleeping on the hammocks outside where it was a tiny bit cooler. On the first night, just as I was settling into bed James said there is a huge crab under Dorthe's bed. At first I didn't believe him and then I heard the scurrying as it moved further to safety. As you all know men can exaggerate when it comes to size so when James said it was big I had my suspicions. When I saw it I couldn't believe it, it was huge the size of a watermelon but with pincers. James ushered it out with a stick as the crab tried to defend itself, more interesting than spiders and I was laughing the whole time.
Edwardo was our hostel owner and our diving guide. We were desperate to get underwater again so booked for two dives on our second morning. Cynthia an American lady also joined us and together we managed to calculate that there were 8 gringos here, including us! We were surprised and delighted that we were heading just 5 minutes on the boat to a dive site in Panama waters. The first dive was amazing, the coral is untouched and the crystal clear waters meant we could see everything, including the vibrant colours. We dove through a canyon where everywhere you looked there were fish, Edwardo keep telling us to look up where we could see shoals of fish swimming above the coral and us. Edwardo got extremely excited when he saw a seahorse and mimed double Oks for about 2 minutes. Later he told us it was the first seahorse he has seen in this area.
For our break we went to La Miel beach which was so beautiful. The water was like a bath, the beach had golden clear sand with palm trees growing and the back drop was the jungle. If Panama is like this everywhere it must be the most beautiful country ever! The second dive the coral was just as amazing but the scenery wasn't as breath taking. The dive was still great as we saw different kinds of fish and I think I used half of my tank when I looked to my left and saw a turtle swimming towards us. I was a few metres from James so swam quickly and grabbed his fin and then turned around and danced in the water until I got the attention of the girls. The turtle was so lovely and seeing them never gets old or less exciting. We all had had such a great morning that we decided we'd dive again tomorrow, this time in Colombian waters.
The afternoon was spent lazing in hammocks, swimming in the sea and eating delicious freshly caught snapper, especially cooked for us by Josephine who had closed her restaurant but opened it as there were five of us! The meal was so good and the fish was huge that none of us wanted anything for tea. It was Saturday night so we had a few beers on the main street where we watched locals wander in their best clothes and lots of aftershave trying to attract the fairer sex. It is such a small and isolated town and the women are so attractive, it must be difficult for the men.
Our third morning in Capurgana and we were heading back out to explore more dive sites. Edwardo decided he would take us through a cave, which you're only really meant to do when you have completed advance training, but you remember how gifted I am at this! The cave was such a great experience and I wasn't scared a bit until I saw a giant lion fish just inches below James and I got a little concerned as they can sting you. I remained calm as I swam up through the caves exit singing 'Part of your World' from The Little Mermaid, in my head of course and I saw my Prince Eric in the form of a very excited James waiting above me. We did a lot of underwater celebrating as it is something James has always wanted to experience and now we have! We also saw two Rays on this dive and I was delighted as I have seen them before but only ever lying on the sand, never swimming. They are so graceful and one was a spotted eagle ray which was beautiful and swam right past us all.
The second dive we went through more canyons and then right at the end of the dive, just before our safety stop Edwardo was getting excited about something he had seen under a rock. I was expecting to see an eel, a creature I can't get excited about as they are so ugly so when I saw James getting excited I thought it must be something good. As I got closer to the rock I could almost make out a grey silhouette, I swam deeper so I could get a good view and my heart started to race. I was now face to face with 2 ½ metres of shark! It was a nurse shark but I didn't know this at the time and it did seem very passive and was certainly more scared of us. What a great creature to see on our last few minutes, talk about keeping us addicted to diving.