Tayrona National Park has an extensive ecosystem of numerous plants and over 2000 animal species. Yesterday I mentioned a fair few that I’d spotted. Thankfully we managed to avoid the creature that made the news today. I told this story by a girl who I met at a Cartagena hostel later this week. She was on a beach at Tayrona today, when a caiman crocodile suddenly appeared very close to the shore at one of the designated swimming beaches. It was the exact beach where I was swimming yesterday. I know this because there was a large log on the beach that can be seen in the YouTube video of the incident, Un Caiman Aguja soprendio a turistas en playa del Tayrona. Apparently there was all sorts of screaming and running from the water, like a scene straight from Jaws. What was quite disturbing is how people are just standing around filming the incident. If the crocodile made it onto the sand I’d imagine that caimans can run faster than people and according to the internet they have no qualms about eating humans. This sort of event is supposedly extremely rare. Apparently the caiman had either been washed out to sea during recent heavy rainfall or the higher than normal water levels had caused it to become confused between its usual fresh water habitat and the ocean. Whatever happened, that’s me never going into the sea again!
Before all the fun and games at the beach we’d already left the campsite. The walk back to the truck was very possibly the sweatiest walk ever. Measurable amounts of precipitation were rung from my t-shirt! While I’m glad to have visited Tayrona National Park, the extreme climate and wildlife issues would probably put me off returning.
The drive along the coast to Cartagena was the last trip on the truck. While it was as comfortable a mode of transport as could be reasonably expected, I can’t say that I’ll particularly miss it. Columbia is a beautiful country with stunning scenery but it’s also big. Covering 1500 miles in just over two weeks, while rarely going over 30mph was sometimes a bit of a slog. Obviously this is a completely trivial moan. Try telling that to someone in some warn-torn region or even a person who goes into work every day!
By late afternoon the beautiful walled city of Cartagena emerged on the coastline. We were staying barely inside the walls, although this had the advantage of the restaurants and bars being slightly less touristy and certainly more reasonably priced than the establishments closer to the main squares. After enjoying a sociable night in Cartagena I watched some of the World Series baseball on the hotel room telly. It was the deciding game between the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Cubs, two teams who hadn’t won anything in donkeys years. I wanted the Cubs to win as I loved the Wrigley Field ballpark when I visited this summer for a Pearl Jam concert. Also the Cleveland Indians logo (and perhaps their name) are a bit racist. The Cubs had a decent lead but the Indians came back to level the game going into the ninth inning. Then I fell asleep, missing the climax to what will probably be regarded as one the all-time classic baseball games. At least the Cubs eventually won, ending their 108-year drought.