Isla Corazon, Rio Chone/Manabi Province, Ecuador
With a potential El Nino Phenomenom percoluting along the equator, many locals along the Pacific coast reach back and share stories of the El Nino of 1997 and ’98. One veteran of that extended season of torrential rains and mudslides is “Don Francisco” from the petite community of Puerto Portobelo on the north-east side of Rio Chone. The mangroves on the upper half of Isla Corazon washed away during the 1997/8 disaster, and silt from landslides and farmlands destroyed more trees and altered river channels. Francisco Reyes, who worked on a farm before the upper half of the island washed away, dedicated his time to replanting and restoring this heart-shaped island.
My friend Stephen visited several weeks ago, and I rode with him to Isla Corazon, where we took the two-hour tour of the island. Known best for having one of the largest colonies of frigate birds along the Pacific coast, Isla Corazon hosts many other bird species. I never tire of visiting Isla Corazon, admiring the bird life and hearing new stories. Each tour is unique, depending on which guide takes you on a special canoe ride and which birds and critters step onto the stage.