09 June 2023

Nicaragua, land of water

Central America consists of seven countries. Nicaragua has the greatest land mass of these seven even though the country is only a bit larger than New York State.  (Mexico doesn't count here since it's not part of Central America)

Like most of the continent, the western and eastern boundaries of Nicaragua end at water:  the Pacific to the west, the Caribbean to the east.  The Pacific coast is lovely and the surfing is world class.  In fact Nicaragua hosts international surfing competitions.

And what is there to say in praise of the Caribbean coast most anywhere that hasn't already been said?  It's the Caribbean and people have been praising the Caribbean for good reason for eons. 

Here the sun is rising on part of our front yard at False Bluff.  We are on the Caribbean coast just 8 miles by water from Bluefields.

Nicaragua's interior has even more water.  It has lakes and rivers and lagoons.  Of its lakes, it has fourteen volcano crater lakes...purportedly not only the most crater lakes anywhere else in Central America but also the most crater lakes in any country in the world.  Very few of Nicaragua's volcanos are active.

Of its many lakes, one - Lake Nicaragua - is not only the country's largest but also the largest lake in Central America.  It takes up 3,191 square miles of Nicaragua's 50,338 square miles.  Although this lake is on the west edge of the country it drains into the Caribbean rather than the Pacific.  And giving credibility to studies that claim that Lake Nicaragua used to be a large bay that nature closed at one time is the fact that, although it is a fresh water lake, it hosts about 40 varieties of saltwater marine life that have been trapped in the lake from the time it was a bay and open to the salty Pacific ocean.  

One of the many forms of marine life that's adapted to the lake's fresh water is the bull shark which is probably the meanest shark ever.  It's probably still angry at being relegated to a lake, albeit a big lake, after having been free to roam the world.

For most of its history the southern autonomous region of Nicaragua was landlocked.  You could fly to Bluefields, capital of the region or get there by boat.  If you had lots of time you could walk.  Once there, most people used pangas as taxis to travel the inland waterways between communities.  These waterways create an easily navigable maze of rivers and lagoons that weave in the space between the Caribbean shore and that of the mainland.  

Even now to get to False Bluff our choices are to travel by way of the Caribbean...something we avoid for lots of reasons; or take our boat through Smokey Lane Lagoon and then up our private canal almost to the beach.

   Note: A few years ago the last leg of a highway opened a roadway between Bluefields and Managua which is changing lots of things.