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Monday, September 07, 2009

Lunch with Colombian Marines stationed at Albuquerque Cays

After taking a group of Marines spear fishing the other day we were invited in for lunch the next day. Upon landing on the perfect white sand beach, a full tour of the island ensued. The island is about 900' x 600' with a few small buildings at the center. Radiating outward like wagon wheel spokes from the center buildings are perfectly groomed paths about 4' wide each lined with conch shells. Conch shells also form breakwaters 4-5' high on the back side of the island. Think many tens of thousands of conch shells. Simply amazing! At the terminus of each path is a military bunker, really just a few sand bags. Nicaragua disputes ownership of these islands so Columbia has installed the marines to maintain her claim. A group of marines showed us every nook and cranny of the islands from fox holes, bunk room, kitchen, soccer field, cemetery, etc. We took our time and stopped many times along the way, but still only took maybe 30 minutes to circumnavigate the island and see everything. This island must feel really small to these twelve 18-21 year old soldiers who are station here for 30 days at a time.

Of course their island is a 858' longer and 577' wider than ours! So they must think we get really bored.

It was full immersion Spanish while on the island, but we all enjoyed the visit and we had lots of laughs. One guy acted as the translator. Now he didn't speak a word of English but he spoke Spanish VERY slow and clear. After we would say something in our 'Spanglish' he would translate into real Spanish for the group. Lunch was prepared by the cook in the most primitive of kitchens with just a two burner camp stove in the corner. Despite the lack of facilities the chicken and rice with a side of fried plantains was excellent.

After lunch we took the guys out for another spear fishing session and they definitely caught enough fish for dinner.

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