After 17 hours of backbreaking dirt roads, getting booted out on the side of the road by a frustrated van driver, multiple hitchhiking stints, sketchy lawless towns, a rickety ferry, and one panga boat ride, we finally made it to our put in to begin our 100 mile SUP expedition in the remote jungles of Nicaragua.
The mantra for our well-planned trip quickly became “We’ll figure it out,” a phrase we repeated on what seemed an hourly basis.
Tired but unfazed, we aired up our SUPs, tied down our dry-bags, and embarked on our long journey down the Rio Grande de Matagalpa towards the Caribbean Sea.
After two days of paddling we came upon a small village called Company Creek; named and established by the banana syndicates nearly 50 years before. The Miskito Indians that live here today quickly put to rest all the bad rumors we’d heard about the native people. I was told we were the first whites to visit in nearly 40 years. Still, the village leader offered us the clinic building (a gutted house on stilts) to hang our hammocks and stay the night. We woke up the next morning to the sounds of howler monkeys, exotic birdcalls, and villagers starting their daily chores.
The Miskito people have next to nothing, but seem to have everything. Swinging in my hammock strung between two palm trees next to the church, I couldn’t help but reflect on what was important in life and how my problems now seemed minuscule. Other than smiling and waving as they passed by, we struggled to understand each other, I did however learn to say “my name is Sam” in Miskito by the time we left, “Nanamdia Samuel.” Company Creek isn’t a fitting moniker. We renamed the village Happy Town.
“Sometimes on an Expedition, all you need is some coffee, a hammock and some air in your board” —Sam Mauldin