The simple life
Anthony gave us a taste of his life with his festival diaries and now he's back, giving us an insight into his adventures around the world as he heads off for 18 months of travelling.
Anthony enjoys a relaxing break on a Caribbean island and comes face to face with a fishy character.
Reaching Little Corn Island, just off the eastern coast of Nicaragua, isn't a simple affair if you're a cheapskate like me. Other backpackers advised us to "shell out for the flight" instead of taking the overland route because there's no road access, but any adventurer worth their salt pities such excuses and straps in for the journey ahead. Four days later, after three boat rides, several bus journeys, one tyre blow-out and lots of seasickness, we finally arrived in Little Corn.
It's not an overstatement to claim that most Caribbean locals are huge fans of Bob Marley, but one man we met broke the mould. Called Lyrist, he didn't talk, he didn't sing, he communicated in rhymes. He was going to take the world by storm and wasn't afraid to practice his trade on you -what that was, exactly, remains a mystery, but he was a great host. He was always around to bring you a Nica Libre (rum and coke), light up a beach fire, or whisper sweet nothings into the ears of backpacker girls. Lyrist was a bit of a legend and one of the many sparks that made Little Corn an absolute corker.
He set us up with snorkeling gear, so armed with a handline, I decided to try and catch dinner. It took 30 minutes to swim to the edge of the reef and ten minutes to drop - and lose - the bait. Disappointingly we didn't catch anything and returned empty-handed. When we got back to the beach we were welcomed with a mountain of freshly caught shrimp that a friend had bought from a local fisherman. The ensuing feast and festivities were the stuff of folklore.
"Once you've obtained total relaxation who needs adventure?"
The following day we got the chance to see some real hunters in their natural habitat - sharks! We set out early on a one-hour speedboat ride to a dive site called 'blowing rocks'. Adding to the excitement was the presence of a professional underwater photographer. He explained how he could attract sharks by using an empty plastic bottle to emit 'distress' signals, which didn't sound like a particularly great idea to me! But we didn't need his little plastic bottle because there was already a jaw-dropping assortment of tropical creatures all around us. I didn't know what any of them were called, but I knew a shark when I saw one and I saw three White-Tipped Reef Sharks.
It's an odd sensation swimming next to a shark. If I saw a triangular fin poking above the water I'd emit plenty of distress signals myself, but underwater I felt relaxed - almost serene. It's like standing next to a Lion in the Serengeti whilst wearing an invisible suit. It's the king of its domain, yet blissfully unaware of my presence.
The following eight days passed effortlessly. On these deserted tropical islands the pulse of life slows down and the gulf between 'thinking' and 'doing' swells - I think it's called contentment. It's enough to just wake up, smell the sea salts, and walk into shimmering tropical waters under a clear blue sky. At night the bottles of rum and coke appear and disappear in tandem with the flames of the beach fire.
When the time came to leave I didn't have to stop and think for a millisecond. I just smiled and handed over my credit card to pay for the extortionately priced flight. Once you've obtained total relaxation who needs adventure?