We tucked into a very quiet anchorage, drinking in the beauty and serenity with only 1 other boat anchored, a trimaran from Canada. We noticed construction happening which appeared to be the making of an extension to the area.
The next morning, with computer and GPS in hand, we jumped in the dinghy to find the Hole in the Wall. Why a computer and GPS? This geopark area is a real maze of creeks and narrow gorges surrounded by gnarled mangroves and precipitous limestone karsts which are 480 million years old! So if we got lost, at least we would be able to find our way around and also our way back to Sea Turtle. Jordan only confirmed his navigation twice with the computer and we were spot on.
There were many tour boats with paying customers but we in our dinghy got the advantage of a free ride. Our first sighting was a sky full of majestic white and golden orange coloured eagles swooping with celerity down to the water, making it very difficult to capture them photographically.
As we continued onward, there were numerous troops of monkeys among the mangroves watching all the boats, staring back anxiously expecting handouts as everyone stopped for the perfect photo.
We soon slowly went through a narrow man-made cut...
Cut through the karsts
We finally made it to the Hole in the Wall where on the cliffs of the entrance was a natural form resembling a human face.
Guarding the entrance
We pulled our dinghy up to one of several basic floating open-air restaurants all in a line. The one we stopped at had an interesting fish farm. Below in the water in nets were blue blooded horseshoe crabs with helmet shaped heads, LARGE grouper fish, local sting rays that would glide to the top of the water to be hand-fed, and many more varieties. The blood of horseshoe crabs is bright BLUE, not red, due to the presence of copper in their blood. This blood is presently worth $60,000 a gallon in the global industry for medical uses.
Crab's eye is dark spot at center (copied from internet)
What I found to be the most startling was a small fish called an archerfish. I have never heard of it before but Jordan has seen them on nature shows in the past. A employee of the fish farm would stick a piece of fish flesh to a board overhanging the water. The fish would circle around eyeing it up. Then with incredible accuracy, they would spit a shot of water up about a meter for a direct hit knocking it into the water where it would be gobbled up. Amazing!! What is intriguing to biologists is that light rays refract when they enter the water and somehow the archerfish naturally adjust its aim to compensate.
2 archerfish shooting at crickets (copied from internet)
We found our way back through the mangrove maze to Sea Turtle without the use of computer or GPS, and along the way, we also found a low tunnel (one of many tunnels and caves) that we dinghied through. Cool!
It rained later in the evening, an indication of the rainy season that is slowly approaching...