Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Bahia de San Lorenzo (cond.)

On day two, having survived our trip to Paraiso Cano Hondo, we were ready to explore more of San Lorenzo Bay and Los Haitises National Park.  Evidently, the cruise ships had departed Samana because fighting excursion boats for dock space was much easier.

We only had one hiccup.  The domino playing park wardens wanted $100 pesos ($2.50 USD) each for entry and we could only scrounge up $100 pesos plus pocket shrapnel between us.  One of the domino players pointed at Motivator and then shook his head at the fact we had no money.

Finally they relented and let us go explore the caves with the promise we would return later with $60 pesos ($1.50 USD).  The caves were large and relatively clean.  For the protection of the cruise ship passenger clientele steps and wooden walkways have been built.

Certain areas were blocked off to ensure they did not lose any curious tourists.

Many of the rock formations were quite interesting, but the experience was rather tame compared to some of the other nature visits we have survived in the Bahamas and the Caribbean.

About the time we had absorbed all the rock formations fully, an excursion boat full of tourists arrived and we headed for the exit.

Other cruisers back in Puerto Bahia had told us that there was a second dinghy dock with a cave that the “normal” tourists do not see.  Our only directions were to look for a wide spot between the cliffs somewhere west of the main dock and follow the stream until you see a dinghy dock.

As you venture back in among the cliffs and mangroves it begins feeling like a medieval forest.   At any point you expect to see a pterodactyl fly by.  I had Pollie watching for Nile crocodiles
(Don’t laugh, one has recently been spotted in the Florida Everglades).  The depths were good (4 to 5’ range), so we keep going.

Finally around the last shallow bend, the dock!  From a distance it did not look like much, but on closer examination it was a nice, sturdy concrete dinghy dock.

We have utilized much worse.  With our previous boat, Serenity, we tied to a dock only to find a sign that said the dock was condemned.

For an unmaintained jungle trail, this one was not bad.

The foliage was incredible.  Seeds that slowly open seem to be a staple of the Caribbean.

Some trees were larger than others.

We first saw a tree like this in Grenada.  They called it a “monkey tree.”  Evidently, even monkeys do not like climbing this tree with spikes at the end of the nodules.

Then we found the crevice between the rocks.  Too bad the cruise ship people do not get to see this.

The rock formations were incredible.  Pollie says this is called a “drapery.”

Maybe it’s a good thing the tour guides do not take the “normal” tourists to this cave.  The exit is a little tight.

Outside we discovered that we had just visited Grey Owl Cave.  Pollie told me that the owl was asleep, that is why we did not see him.

Our dinghy was still at the dock when we returned.

The next day we returned to the lodge for breakfast and an opportunity to change dollars into pesos so we could pay the domino players.

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