by Lorna Hill
Strong winds will always change schedules, but it will never stop play. First, it was the rainy storm – people were getting stuck in their cars on the windy path up to the camp but were greeted with big cups of coffee (and a beer!) and warm smiles. The people of the lagoon are used to pulling people out of the mud with their trucks and know that it will continue to happen, despite continuous efforts to build up the roads. They are always happy to help and free people from the muddy captures. With the rain brought the most beautiful rainbows, matching those that the whales make too with their blows!
Then we had some glorious days followed again by some high winds – some gusts of up to 30mph! If the winds are above 20mph, then the sheriff closes the whale observation area as it is too dangerous to venture out amongst the whales in those wind speeds. However, this did not stop play but merely made us change tack for the morning. We took a trip into the mangroves whilst waiting for the wind to die down and were delighted with what we found. On one bush, we had reddish egrets, an Osprey, snowy egrets and even a pelican! Then we found the elusive Black capped night heron… what a sinister looking bird with red eyes but intriguing all the same. A very “cool” looking feather falls down from the back of the head, like a long tail, giving the bird an easy identification.
Even on a windy day, the mangroves bring peace and tranquility. Only a few 100 metres from the camp by boat, the change of environment is refreshing. The passages that we travel through on the pangas are only a few metres wide, giving the feel of a river and the beautiful green foliage on each side, reaching up to 6 feet high, give a feeling of protection and protect it does…. These tranquil areas give home and feeding ground to many different types of birds and fish and also good egg-laying spots for the turtles. Such an important yet often forgotten eco system, something that the people of San Ignacio Lagoon work hard to try and preserve.
As expected, the winds died down and gave way to a really fun whale watching trip... I guess we can thank the winds for our extra bonus trip into the mangroves!