“The Best 4 Days of my Life”

A couple of days ago, I met an incredible human being who adventured to our most extreme expedition: the sardine expedition of the coast of Choco. Few times I have been surprised, but from the moment he arrived I felt his energy was intense, unique and powerful. We like to say that in the ocean you always see the unexpected, you never now what is going to bring, therefore the only thing you need to do is have a positive energy and wait if you can see and be in the right place at the right time. I have an image of the movie Avatar, when Jake Sully bonds with the avatar body, feels his new pair of legs, and his first reaction is just to run, feel the rush, and develop a contagious energy for everyone around. Well this was the case of the great Jake Hewlett, as soon as he landed in Choco, he became an extremely important person driving all the group with his emotion, passion and never ending energy. Once again, thank you for coming.

Here are his words after the expedition:

“Seriously, I really do think it was the best few days I´ve had in terms of non stop, pure enjoyment, happiness, excitement, adrenaline and total tranquility.

From the moment I stepped off the 20 seater plane in Nuqui, I knew I was in for something special.  Nuqui is based in the far western coast of Colombia and most Colombian´s have never been, let alone foreigners.  From there you take an hours´ boat ride to arrive at Punta Brava Eco Hotel.  You will never have a better journey to arrive at your destination.  I saw a dolphin and a sea turtle on route and the landscape is simply breathtaking

It´s totally wild, unspoilt, untouched and raw.  For that reason, it´s not for people who like the luxury holiday or don´t like being exposed to all the elements.  Punta Brava is in the Jungle, so it´s hot, humid, with 100% exposure to nature, all the creatures that live there and it can rain a lot there too.

But Dive Cue and the owners of the Punta Brava Eco Hotel have it all planned out.  So if you are a water lover, a fan of nature, love activities and revel in unique experiences then sign yourself up to the next trip NOW.

I went for the sardine expedition and my oh my was it something else! Huge balls of swirling sardines – just SO amazing to watch, with Pelicans plunging to eat them from above and all sorts of water predators striking at it from below.  I have never seen anything as beautiful and exciting as that in my life.  We had two incredible mornings of seeing this and the other day we went out deep in search of larger fellows and saw a Whale & a Whale shark – simply incredible.

But it´s not just about this – it´s far more – it´s the whole place and all the activities and people that surround it.  We woke up at 5am every morning to do a Yoga session together, whilst in the afternoon we played beach football or went surfing on one of two beaches you have completely to yourself.  If that isn´t your thing, you could go on a fishing trip, explore the jungle, or simply chill with a book in the comfortable hammocks.  The food is also DELICIOUS.

Andres, who leads the trip for Dive Cue, is infectious with his energy & enthusiasm.  Undoubtedly he makes the trip even more special and it was a pleasure getting to know him properly over the 4 days I was there.  So to the owner of Punta Brava Alejendro, who has built a labour of love so magical you can´t help but fall in love with it too.  Whilst you can pretty much rest assured that anyone else who is going to be there during your stay is going to be a fantastic person.

Of course I was disappointed to leave but it was with the knowledge that I had experienced something unique and still now I feel the benefit of the days I spent there.  I will 100% be returning for the same trip next year whilst I´m considering going back in September for Whale season too – I have a feeling I will get to know the place extremely well over the coming years!

Thank you Andres & Dive Cue for an unforgettable experience.  See you again soon! ”

Jake Hewlett, but for us “Jake Sully”, now a part of the CUE family.

Experience Colombia’s Oceans

Our collective imaginations often take us to the ocean’s edge, where we feel humbled by its mystery, its vastness, its beauty.  The ocean moves us and binds us, as each new wave lulls or crashes to the shore…before joining forces with the next.  In some places, our imaginations are heightened by reality as our toes touch the water’s edge; our faces feel the ocean’s breeze; our ears echo with the ocean’s rhythm; our lips savour the ocean’s salty spray; and our eyes reflect the ocean’s colours.  Colombia is one place where two oceans lap at its shores and where imaginations are doubly sparked.

 

Why should you experience Colombia’s oceans this year?  Because it’s worth it. Here are seven more reasons…

 

  • Colombia is the only country in South America with two oceans, offering variety in choice, location, and experience.

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  • The Caribbean Sea is laden with intense and diverse coral life, stunningly vivid on account of its high degree of visibility.  Moreover, it offers numerous wrecks to explore, as Colombia—particularly Cartagena—was the primary Spanish port during the colonial era.

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  • The Pacific Coast abounds with large animals: Not only do Humpback Whales travel from the South to reproduce in the warm waters of Colombia, but many species of sharks travel around the Pacific Coast as well.  A further treat: rays, grouper, tuna, dolphins, and many other species are very common in the Pacific waters.

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  • The North Atlantic desert of the Guajira region is a place with abundant shark populations.  Species such as the Thresher Shark, Tiger Shark, Grey Shark, Hammerhead Shark, Nurse Shark, White Tip Shark, Mako Shark, and Whale Shark, have been observed swimming in the waters of Punta Gallinas, the northern-most tip of South America.

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  • There is a shark sanctuary surrounding Malpelo Island on the Pacific side of Colombia—the most extreme dive of Colombia (Foto: malpelotours.com).

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  • Chocó, on the Pacific Ocean, is like Coast Rica…100 years ago.

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  • San Andrés and Providencia are two of the best places to dive in the Caribbean.  Vibrant and healthy coral walls, intense deep holes, indigenous as well as endemic wildlife, all contribute to this special and stunning place.

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A Life Encounter

Whale Shark

 

For many years I tried to fit into a life, a rhythm, a routine, that in the end was not for me.  After time spent soul searching, I found my North—my passion.  I have since dedicated time and energy to develop my dreams in ways that fulfill this passion.  Since making this choice, I have felt only satisfaction, autonomy, and personal growth. Through hard work and dedication, and despite uncertainty, I smile everyday.  I smile for peace of mind and independence.  I smile toward living the life I felt I needed to live; the life I was meant to live.

 

It is incredible to see that when your heart and your mind are on the same boat, special and unique moments full of positivity arise as a result of paddling in the same direction.  You learn how to persevere in the world, and how to appreciate that unexpected and challenging events need to happen in order to have great moments.  You learn that bad is not a lasting reality, but an indication that something great is yet to come, because there would not be greatness without failure, or positivity without negativity.  It is not a matter of good or evil, but rather a matter of resilience.  And with this balance, you begin to feel that you do fit into, and you are a part of, a life filled with passion; a life that reflects yourself.

 

For me, my passion is the ocean and the interconnections and experiences that lead me to its edge and remind me of how it shapes my balance.

 

 

CUE’s last expedition to the northern tip of South America, Punta Gallinas, was a test of passion and one of the most personally challenging and rewarding adventures of my life.  Punta Gallinas is a very special place where we are in a process of working with the local indigenous community, the Wayuú, toward sustainable ecotourism initiatives.  Through this partnership we have worked to show how a live shark can bring together a team of crazy guys like us, to promote a sustainable local economy from what was typically a dinner plate. 

 

During this expedition, we had several reminders of the adventure we were living: from broken cars, to misplaced rope, to many hours of driving through the elements of rain and mud, to endless times pushing cars through sand dunes.  Although the first day was exhausting, the group stayed positive, united, and energized despite the difficult terrain and journey.  Finally, we made it.  After a good night’s rest we arose in the morning hoping to greet the ocean, however a heavy rain ensued; a heavy rain in the desert.  This never happens…but as I said before, you need challenging events to happen in order to have great moments that shift the balance.  

 

As we changed our plans to forgo the ocean that day, out of nowhere a light appeared in the sky and the weather cleared. Typically, strong winds in the afternoon make it difficult to go to the ocean at that time of day, but after the rain the ocean was glassy, with more than 40 meters of visibility.  To the ocean we went!  And what a thrill it was: We saw many Dolphin Fish, Barracuda, Black Tip Sharks, and Silky Sharks. Needless to say, this left us feeling rejuvenated, happy, and smiling…but this was not the end.

 

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We were 20 minutes away from returning to shore, when we saw a massive shadow at the bottom of the ocean, slowly coming toward us.  As it drew closer and closer I started to feel anxious—you never know what wonders you might find in the ocean.  But then I saw the familiar patterns of white dots, organized in lines across the submerged body, and I felt humbled by the grace of the biggest fish in the ocean: the Whale Shark.  At 7 meters in length, she arose from the depths, not to swim past, not to cross, but to share a moment.  “Luz Mila,” as we named her, stayed with us for almost 40 minutes, circling in curiosity and slowly looking at each of us in turn, eye to eye.  

 

I have to say that nature always surprises, but this was a life encounter that truly changed my life, and most likely all in the boat who witnessed this magnificent creature.  It was a once in a lifetime experience, and I still smile when I think of it—I’m sure I will for the rest of the life.  Returning to shore, the experience was further shared as we showed the video to the Wayuú community, and watched as they smiled, looked on with surprise, and beamed expressions of pride in their ocean.  Tears came to my eyes when I overheard the small children immediately telling their parents that they wanted to swim with the sharks.  It could not have been more rewarding.

 

The trip ended with a (now expected) arduous return with long hours of driving, damaged cars, and more rain…but it simply didn’t matter.  Our minds, spirits, and conversations were brimming with memories of the Whale Shark and its infectious and affective impressions in the community, appeasing the challenges of the road.  It was a life encounter that changed us as individuals and as a team.  It was a gift of great positivity and energy, reminding us to keep our challenges and difficult moments in perspective; as we find a new balance.

 

And that for me, is life.  Stay calm and paddle harder in the worst moments, as there is always something better coming…but only if you think it will.