Sons of Pirates? Those are the people of the Caribbean coast.
The Morgan family in Corn Island is descended from the infamous Captain Morgan who patrolled these waters, ransacking Granada and making off with the city’s coffers in 1665. Bluefields is named after Abraham Blauvelt, the dutch pirate that operated between Nicaragua and Jamaica. Even William Dampier sailed the Nicaraguan Caribbean during his trips around the world.
Never having been completely controlled by the Spanish or the British occupants, the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua today is divided into two autonomous areas. Its pirate legacy pulses through the culture just as strongly as blood pulses through the veins on the inhabitants.
This is a collection of stories of my five years living on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua.
Written by a resident Nicaragua travel writer
Casey Callais has been living and traveling the country since 2008. He spent most of that time in Bluefields working with an NGO and publishing a guide to the Caribbean coast. He has also contributed to the Lonely Planet, Moon and Footprint travel guidebooks. Casey currently lives full time in Managua.
Preface: How I got here
It was a sudden realization. Behind me was about seven years of traveling the world, powered by odd jobs and an insatiable curiosity to see what was around the corner. Insatiable, that is, until I had had quite enough.
The sudden realization happened about two years after that. I had been living in Beaumont, Texas, with the hopes of settling down, bored with backpacking around the world, bored with lying to myself that I was a traveler, not a tourist. All the places I had been was just to see them, do them, like they were on my shopping list and I had been ticking them off one by one. Ironically it took two years of the monotony of the daily grind to make me suddenly realize that it was purpose that was lacking. I wasn’t bored with traveling by any means. I was bored traveling without a purpose.
Sudden realizations can have a way of motivating a person like no drug ever could. If big pharma could pillify sudden realizations it would be bigger than Viagra and make more money than the cure for hunger. I have only had a few sudden realizations in my life to which I can trace back all the major decisions I have made. When I realized I could control my urge to urinate until I got to the potty, I told my mother I didn’t have to wear diapers and I became a new man (though she just patted me on the head, kept the diapers on and told me, “safety is no accident”). When I realized being a baseball player wasn’t for me and instead committed myself to becoming Indiana Jones and learned how to wrap my homemade whip around tree branches, I felt it was the dawn of a new day (until the 4th movie came out. So let down…). When I realized I still needed to travel but now with a purpose, I got my pencil and paper. This is what I wrote:
|1||Drug Smugglers, she-males and thieves||13|
|2||Orcas in Bluefields Bay||34|
|3||The deadliest funeral||35|
|4||Ancient ruins, deadly snakes and lost||37|
|5||The best barber in San Juan||87|
|6||Monkey witch on channel 2||90|
|7||Contra war stories||91|
|8||Jesus traps a hooker||95|