June of 2021 I spent some time in Colombias Choco department the area is in the extreme north west of the country as rural and remote as a person can get in Colombia. This was all to do with planning and prepping for an expedition in the area where I looked for local guides who knew the area and could take me to some photogenic areas in the two days I was there I was referred to a local man called Marlom.
He was born and raised in Colombias Choco and was well known in the town of Jurado, he was connected with military, civilian and people who worked within the tourism industry.
This was a good start and a few things were given to me as option as what to do an abandoned airport, a canoe ride or a walk to a small village called Punta ardita. I settled for the walk to Punta it was one of the longer journeys and most time spent hiking which opened up a lot more opportunity for photographing and using the drone.
It was agreed and the following day we were planning to meet early in the morning I was happy with this and planned for the day ahead batteries charged price kind of agreed for his service and we were set.
The following day I woke up at 6am for our planned set of time around 8am and waited sent several texts then realised there was no music playing and electric were not working typical of this part of the world power cuts were a regular occurrence and an expectation. The 8am time came around and no Marlom I ate breakfast and had a black coffee from a small street vendor and had 4 arepas from a bbq a typical breakfast for this part of the country. The arepa tasted a lot sweeter than I had expected it was on a white grilled type of bread with cheese grated and spread over the arepa a little overkill but it was very filling and it fuelled my extra hour and half wait time for Marlom as he arrived as laid back as anyone had known we were off for our first trek which would only be around 5 miles and we passed through the army base at the north of the small town which opened up onto the beach and a river I assumed there was reason to this. They soldiers greeted us but each one we passed pulled us over and asked for permission of an individual called aguila eagle in English maybe there was reason to this also but I wouldn’t find out. When we had came to the end of the road we began hailing passerby in small canoes and fishing boats coming and going the mouth of the Jurado river. The third person we had signalled came over offered help in a dugout canoe to cross the river we accepted and I was up first and told to wait for Marlom on the 2nd trip the owner of the boat picked his daughter of no more than 3 up and out of the body again asked her to wait and due to the weight of two men all the fishing nets and there catch we were a number of large ocean going fish.
As I waited patiently again a lot less time than the morning agreed time of maybe only 10 minutes myself and Marlom were thankful to our crossing and was off again an old path I was told used historically by indigenous people of the area. Is were we began the trek I began film anything and everything with my 360 degree camera and we began chatting to learn about each other Marlom had a child within Jurado and lived with his family in a small home they had always lived in and shared he was looking for property but it was very difficult in Jurado unless he made a home himself a difficult task in itself.
On the journey we came to brilliant viewpoint again a use I assumed was for the military to view as much as they can in such an area, that needed constant vigilance. We came across fresh mangoes my favourite fruit and evidently Marloms who collected at least 50 to sell back in Jurado. As we continued we came across cliff face we had to scramble a much more difficult task doing it bare foot as I had opted for but for marlom easy days work I settled to put a pair of cheap trainers on what I had packed for the walk. We had come across one person who lived on the beach for a much ore tranquil life and a smart move as if he had predicted the pandemic of COVID. We had a brief conversation as to why he had moved there him and his wife and children how long it took him and what the area was like to live he simply replied paraiso paradise in English, I would have to agree. As we left him to it and continued on our journey we had followed a small river inland which looped back around and onto the beach and as we did there was a sign saying playa de la dos muertes beach of two deaths which had too of had a meaning instinctively I read it out and asked Marlom he replied with shhh and put his finger to his lips as if we were being eavesdropped on I looked around and on alert as if we were in danger instantly a fight or flight instinct kicks in and he replied, No possible a hablan sobre la situación nosotros tenemos mal suerte. I replied ok and we continued on with the walk, which was closely coming to an end unbeknown to us as the tide was very close and no normal for that time of the day, Marlom and myself were growing more unlucky since the beach of two deaths and he asked we should turn back and not questioning him and his hospital I agreed so we did so.
On our return we seen again monkeys, wildlife of all kinds and beautiful sights but an incoming storm from the pacific ocean. As we got closer to Jurado I again asked the question about the beach of two deaths he sighed.... And began telling me what I believe to be a very much watered down version of actual events. He explained one morning the were two women who had been found murdered on the beach in an horrific manner I tried to ply for more info as in who, why were they caught who were the ladies he simply could not answer these question I did not know why but as if he had been compelled not to or he simply did not know. I let the topic go and then we again hitchhiked our lift across the river again he cheered up we got back on the bike and went back in to town. I said my farewell he also and we agreed to catch up tomorrow. My curious nature began wondering more I had built a good bond with my host a middle aged man named Ching. And my neighbour who was a shop owner who had cooked me food and were I gotten my cereal the last few days from. My leading question was the name of the beach playa de la dos muertes facial expression changed instantly and said it was not something people spoke about as they believed it was the groups again I understood the dynamics of the area to a very basic level there are a number of illegal groups operating throughout Colombia and they believed it was these groups that were responsible for the countless atrocities that happened within Choco throughout Colombias violent past and present and most likely its future. I ask what groups again they change! you cannot talk about these things they are here
Necesitas guardar silencio sobre estas cosas no puedes hablar de eso.
I apologise about it to both individuals but again they're response was like a mirror image of one another as if compelled or advised to have certain responses to certain topics or questions. I took from this walk that Colombia is beautiful which I never thought of ant different but the locals have a much deeper understanding of the darker lining within there community and there region.