Last weekend a group from the congregation went to the Corn Islands. We had plenty of visitors curious to see them, and the rest of us were also ready for a vacation. However, the island mentioned in the title is a different one. There is in fact a third island that few actually know about, in fact you probably would never see it if you fly to corn island like most tourists do. Our plan was to meet some others on corn island who were going to fly, while a second group travelled by boat.
|Sunset in Bluefields|
The advantage to travelling by boat is that, first of all its about 1/5th the price. Secondly you see more and its really an adventure in itself. The 5 of us (3 sisters from Canada, myself, and Honorio a brother from Mexico) left Pearl Lagoon on the Thursday afternoon panga. We waited at a restaurant in Bluefields until 5 PM when we caught the last panga out of bluefields to the island in question. El Bluff is an island with a population of roughly 2,500, it has no cars and is incredibly quiet and peaceful. It has some very nice beaches although it lacks the tourist infrastructure of the Corn Islands, for example there are no restaurants anywhere in town. The Bluff also has such a low crime rate that people don't even lock their doors at night.
The Bluff is located directly across the bay of Bluefields from Bluefields. The panga costed 40 cordoboas, and took about 15 minutes. Many people dont even realize that the place exists... if you look on google maps there is no indication of an acutal town, and satellite view is badly distorted by overlapping images. Years ago however it was a major port, before Bluefields took over. This is why it has the facilities for larger ships, such as the ones going to and from Corn Island. The bluff even has a congregation with its own kingdom hall, and so our plan was to go to the meeting there, and then wait at the wharf until the ship left at 3:00 AM. However, we met the local witnesses, and they forced us to spend the night at their house and eat with them while we waited for our boat to leave.
|Kingdom Hall at The Bluff|
|El Bluff Congregation|
The congregation has about 8 publishers. Only one of them is a baptized brother, who happens to be the the only elder and must conduct the meetings all by himself. There are also a few sisters that help with the console and handling microphones. The congregation was happy to have the help of Honorio and myself, Honorio did about half of the meeting parts short notice while i made my best attempt at reading for the congregation bible study (in spanish). This just shows that there is still a great need in Spanish here in Nicaragua, especially in the remote areas of the atlantic coast.
The brother also insisted on getting up at 3 AM with us to take us to the boat. Apparently it can be a bit difficult to get on the Island express at times because it comes from Rama full of cargo and passengers going directly to Corn Island, sometimes they only have room for a few passengers. The brother said he knew the man that worked on the ship, so he could help us get on. Unfortunately the Island Express was 2 and a half hours late, and by 5 AM another boat had showed up (Isleño D). A bit smaller and not so pretty, but it was allegedly faster and we were more certain of getting on, so we did. The ship was full of various cargo destined for Corn Island, everything from bags of rice to motorcycles to live pigs. There were many hammocks hanging from the frame of the roof, and having learned from my last experience at sea in Nicaragua I had brought my very own hammock. Finally we were on our way to the Corn Islands, but I will never forget meeting our brothers at the Bluff and the short time we spent there.
|Sunrise at sea|
|On board the Isleño|
|Isleño D at Corn Island|