My home is the Estero Padre Ramos Nature Reserve, one of the most ecologically important natural areas in Nicaragua and one of the largest mangrove estuaries left in Central America. There are more than 200 species of birds, 3 species of sea turtles, iguanas, conch, mollusks, crabs, caimans, crocodiles, butterflies, tubeworms, and fish galore. The locals call it “la cuna” or the cradle, because it is home to an abundance of young and small creatures in its shallow, saline waters.
The estuary and nature reserve are mi “casa-sweet-casa” on the Pacific Coast. For the past four California winters, I have lived kayaking in a rural fishing village with little to no electricity, running water, and refrigeration. The land is rich to grow food, and the estuary is abundant for small-scale fishing practices. When I am paddling, I am passing hand-carved dugout canoes and young people swimming along the shore. Or an occasional heron, ibis, or jumping fish. The vista varies from overhanging channels deep in the mangroves to long coastal stretches with only sand and surf. It is dry tropical, welcoming, and my own version of a real paradise.
* The Nature Reserve includes >22,500 acres or 9000 hectares of mangrove forest, mudflat, sandy beach, rocky reef, and estuarine water. It measures between 3 to 5 miles across and is 18 miles long. That’s a lot of kayaking.
* The Estero’s shoreline is home to approximately 150 dispersed families who rely on the local, natural resources for their livelihoods. Fishing, clamming, and harvesting wood is crucial to the survival of the rural community.http://www.ibiskayaking.com/