Rondon had eluded us and our friends Rod and Debbie from Si Bella since San Andres. Now on our last day in Providencia, the Rondon was coming together at last. Four hours of grating coconut, pressing the meat to produce coconut milk, boiling the milk and adding yams and the seafood rundown (hence the name Rondon) on the reefs yielded a savory traditional dish. As the Rondon is an assemblage of the island’s bounty, we had assembled the Rondon cookout by getting to know some of the locals over several weeks of exploring Providencia while waiting for our weather window.
We first met Giovanni, the Rondon’s chef, at Paradise, a grass hut on the beach near Morgan’s head. At Paradise, Giovanni cooked us fried fish. He later led us up the island’s highest peak. During the hike, Giovanni spoke excitedly about preparing us Rondon. Kideson Bush, another of Paradise’s owners, delivered us to the beach for the Rondon in his fishing boat. We had previously hired Kideson to take us to some of the island’s prime snorkeling reefs. While we had come to trust Kideson and Giovanni, until the Rondon was served we were not quite sure whether the whole idea would end in disaster or success.
Welcome to Paradise!!!!!
Giovanni fries plantains over the fire. Giovanni’s grandmother was Italian. His mother was a chef in restaurants on the Colombia mainland and San Andres. Giovanni inherited her love of food preparation.
Succulent and fresh from the sea. We knew Giovanni could cook fish, but could he pull off Rondon for an anchorage of hungry cruisers?
Paradise is understated and tranquilo. Giovanni’s son is in the foreground. Kideson Bush kicks back in the chair while his Swiss wife, Judy lounges in the hammock. Judy explained that she visited Providencia over an eight year period before deciding to make her life there with Kideson.
We spent a day snorkeling with Kideson and Judy. At times enormous schools of small fish engulfed us in a blizzard of flashing silver. Photo credit: Rod Merrit.
Metal signs celebrating the island’s flora and fauna marked the path up Providencia’s highest peak.
Giovanni giving thumbs up on his way to the top.
Conch and lobster wait their turn.
Giovanni’s wife pressing coconut milk from grated coconut.
Plated and ready to eat.
A good time was had by all.
The day after the Rondon, taking advantage of a three to four day weather window, Elizabeth Jean departed for the 360 mile sail to Grand Cayman. Providencia had more than lived up to its name and to its reputation as a cruiser’s delight. Photo credit: Rod Merritt.