On June 19th, Kalima and Penina’s host brother took us to SnakeIsland. Imaginably, I thought it was an island full of snakes. Once again, I was wrong. The biggest islands of the “Isles Des Madeleines” is called Sarpan which was misunderstood and distorted to serpent. Le Parc National des Iles de la Madeleine is the smallest national park in the world, and a UNESCO world heritage. It was beautiful but barren. It was uninhabitated. Indira, our research expert, told us that local people used to think that there was evil sprit on the island that prevents vegetable cultivation or human inhabitation. Interestingly, Sparpan is home to a subspecies of Phaeton, a tropicbird seabird only found on the Îles des Madeleines and the Galapagos Islands (which lies on the west of Ecuador). We all said that we should tell this to Dr. Hickey, a bird-watcher.
We took a boat across the ocean. Everybody, by everybody I mean me, screamed. Watermen were standing up balancing the rocking boat. I asked the host brother if the boat had ever been turned over wishing that he would say no to calm me down. He nobly said “yes” and added “of course” then also added “many times” and laughed. Anyway, we got to the island safely and climbed the steep cliff with dresses and flip-flops (we did not know that this trip would involve dangerous physical activity). But when we got to the top, it was all worth it. I could see hundreds of jellyfish below the cliff. I could see bird nests. It was magnificent. Some people went hiking and swimming, some people just sat and talked. After a while, the host brother started grilling a fish which we bought before we left. We ate and had good time. There was no computer, internet, games, markets, or anything but I’ve had the best time. I really enjoyed just being and taking everything in. i use to hate just "chilling". i had to have something to do. but running on senegalese time somehow taught me how to appreciate every minute of the day. it was a beautiful day.
yes. we actually took the fishing boat!
extremely dangerous cliff climbing; photograph by Tori