23 March 2013

Sharks in a lake?!

Now, when my colleague and good friend, Jorge, informed me that there were sharks in Lake Nicaragua I thought he was just joking.  If you know Jorge, like I do, then you know that he is always joking and trying to get a laugh out of you.  So, it wasn't until he really started spitting out facts that I realized he wasn't playing.  There really are SHARKS in the lake!

Lago de Nicaragua (Lake nicaragua)
I couldn't wait to get to my laptop to further research, and share my findings with you. Here is what I found

Lake Nicaragua Facts

  • Despite being a fresh water lake, Lake Nicaragua has sharks, tarpons, and saw fish!  
  • Initially scientist thought they were a unique species of sharks but later realized that they are Bull Shark, a species known for entering fresh water in other parts of the world.  
  • They were presumed to have been trapped in the Lake Nicaragua by volcanic activity that shut it off from the Pacific Ocean. 
  • It was later revealed that the sharks jump along the rapids of the San Juan River (which connects Lake Nicaragua and the Caribbean Sea) almost like salmon.
  • Nicaraguans call the Lake Lago Cocibolca or Mar Dulce (literally, Sweet Sea; in Spanish, freshwater is agua dulce).
  • The lake has sizable waves driven by the easterly winds blowing west to the Pacific Ocean
  • The lake holds Ometepe and Zapatera which are both volcanic islands, as well as the archipelago of the Solentiname Islands.
  • The lake has a reputation for periodically powerful, unnavigable storms.
  • Lake Nicaragua is the largest lake in Central America

Since our home base will be in Granada, a city on the edge of this unique lake, we will definitely get a chance to see the lake itself.   So now the questions is will we see the sharks of Lake Nicaragua?
Only time will tell....

Forget snakes on a plane, we have sharks in the lake! 

                                                         Wait a minute... do you hear the theme song from Jaws playing?!

21 March 2013


We have 2 weeks to go until we depart for Nicaragua.  We have changed our program city from Managua to Granada.  I've been busy, busy, busy getting everything prepared for my students and making sure their families are well-informed and comforatble with each and every detail. 

It's so amazing that this year I will be taking a group of 11 students!  There were many neigh-sayer who didnt believe I could get another group of inner-city young men out of the country again.  But, thanks totheir awesome parents we were able to make this happen.  Last year I took 5 students and this year that number has more than doubled. 

Here a list of our scheduled trip highlights (April 4-16):

  • Spanish class in the mornings
  • Volunteering  with children in the afternoons
  • Tours to:
1.  American Nicaraguan School (where we will meet our penpals)
2.  US Embassy briefing, Las Huellas de Acahualinca
3.  San Juan de Oriente & Cataria, Granada city tour
4.  Las Islaets boat tour of Islands on Cocibolca Lake
5.  Mercado Masaya & Verbenas
6.  Volcano Masaya Night Tour
7.   Volcano boarding at Cerro Negro
7.  Poneloya Beach.

All of this cost $1030.90 per student! Including airfare!! 

We are all so excited.  My students are excited and nervous, ready and cautious.  A few have never been on a plane before.  Some have never gone to the beach before.  None have ever been to a volcano.  This will be a positive life-changing event for them all. 

It never escapes me... not even for a moment... how luck I am to be able to share my gift with these young men.