Gahiza Island – The stay
The morning was a feast for my eyes. Blessed with a clear sky and fresh air, I could see what there was where the lights had been shining the night before. Finally, everything that I couldn’t see the night before was right there in front of my eyes. Several shades of blues on the flat lake surface, the hills a short distance away and many others all around, and the three volcanos on the horizon. A sort of weird feeling accompanied these discoveries though.
As soon as I expanded my vision from the porch, I ran out of my room to the other end of the island, a few hundred metres away, patrolling the rest of the 2-hectare surface in the sunlight.
I remember that I suffered at first because of the temporary blindness of the night before, while staring into the deep darkness from the porch of my room. Deprived of my prevalent sense, and limited in what I was able to see, it seemed to me the night before that the dormant senses were more awake and more receptive. The ongoing concert of the frogs among the papyrus under my window, for example, was rich in tunes and I could identify different kinds of melodies. Between 11pm and midnight, birds like the purple herons also add their music, during their pre-sleep chats.
Would I have heard all of those differences if my eyes had been able to see everything?
In the light, I could now see more, but it is true that, in the darkness, I was able to hear and smell more intensely, and my imagination had more space. The little shining dots, in the distance, reached me wrapped in the moist of the air, and the sounds of nature hidden between the grass. They were more than just lights.
In the morning I could see exactly where the lights of the houses were coming from, but part of the alchemy was gone.
Later on, I had a similar experience in another area of the island, after dinner, next to the old table where we had eaten. It was a kind of magic that I felt when my feet suddenly stopped their slow walk towards where the volcanoes were. Only the next morning did I realise that my right foot was literally a few centimetres away from falling off a cliff, into the water.
I admit that I ventured beyond the safe point indicated on the deck, but I felt I was guided by an invisible hand, and I stopped just when I felt I had to.
There was work in progress and the deck with the table and the benches on it was being refurbished.
David bought the whole island around a decade ago – I never thought I would meet someone that owns an ‘entire’ island like that! After my visit, he informed me that the property has passed through a series of refurbishments and expansions since I was there.
The rooms have been completed and there are now three rooms – a twin, a double and a triple. From two of them, you can see the sunrise from your bed. A camping area has also been created, with space for ten tents, or you can bring your own if you prefer.
The deck I almost fell off has now been equipped with a dining table where evening meals can be served while admiring the night view. Not far from it, big sofa-like individual seats have been installed around the campfire, placed to create opportunities for relaxed chats and story-sharing moments.
The sweet smiles of Brina, the host lady, and her little girl, were waiting for me at the entrance to the dining room, silently informing me that breakfast was ready.
But I should keep going: I could hear the little boat being prepared down at the dock, and I spotted the local guide getting ready to share his knowledge of the lake’s wildlife and history.
A day of exploration awaited me.