Sunday, August 23, 2015

Panama - An AMAZING Place!

Welcome to our Blog. Our latest entry always comes up first... 
Click this link if you want to start at the beginning:
FIRST BLOG ENTRY
If you want to start at the beginning of our trip:
START OF TRIP
If you want to see the story of our trip from South Carolina
(where we bought the boat)
 to Lake Ontario Click this link:
  SOUTH CAROLINA
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Before I get started on what will be a fairly long entry, I need to say, FINALLY the Scotiabank has decided that I am a customer, and last week returned our money...  Hopefully that will never happen again...

After Michelle left us, we returned to the outlying areas of the archipelago.  We were astounded time and time again by the beauty and majesty of the amazing place in the world...

Once we were away from the bustle of Bocas Town, everything slowed down and we couldn't help but relax and enjoy ourselves...

We joined back up with our friends Bill & Joanne from s/v Ultra in Dolphin Bay and explored a bunch of new places...

We toured a property formerly owned by a wealthy American who, after his death, his wife generously donated the land to the Smithsonian Institute who has maintained fairly accessible trails through this part of the Panamanian jungle.



A "baby" coconut tree...

Someone has even created a labyrinth...


Along the trail we saw just how nature looks after itself, and along the way discovered just how tenacious some plants and animals are...  
An AMAZING Bamboo stand...

We brought along some water and snacks for our hike but discovered that the jungle offers way more than we needed.  We enjoyed coconuts, oranges, cocayo, sugar cane, just to name a few...

Coconut



Who else sees and accident ready to happen?

The fruits of my labor!

A Poison Dart Frog...
Yep, the natives rubbed their arrow and spear tips on these guys to kill their enemies...

Opening a Cacayo Pod...
Wild Oranges and Limes...
Deep in the jungle we came across an abandoned wood shop in the middle of no where. Apparently the man who owned the property was a furniture manufacturer in the US. Before his death he set up this shop and was teaching local men how to build furniture using sustainable local resources...



On our way back to the boat we needed some gas for our dinghy so learned that some natives sell it by the gallon out of their home...  When we stopped we were told by two little girls that, yes the did have gasoline, but today they only had 3 gallons... "Sold," we said. Without any fuss the girls went to a small bodega beside the house and poured from glass gallon containers the fuel we needed... Sadly, they were covered in gas when they were finished, but didn't seem to mind... It seems they knew that their parents would be proud, that they sold the gas they had to some gringos..
The local Gas Station...

That night we got together for dinner with our friends for dinner on Ultra...  We seem to do a lot of "getting together".



On our hike we picked up some Calabash pods.  We haven't discovered any edible use for these hard shelled fruits, but with a Dremmel tool and a few spoons, you can make the coolest bowls and lampshades and Christmas ornaments.
Calabash cleaned out, waiting to be carved...






While still in Dolphin Bay, we wet for dinner at a little restaurant in the middle of nowhere called Rona Azul... With the stone hearth and generator running off in the distance, we enjoyed good food and great friends...
Joanne, Bill & Joanna

Me, Carl (driving), Shelley and Carl's wife, Mary



Our next stop was Zapatilla Cays.  These are two small islands at the Caribbean edge of the archipelago. With beautiful azure water we enjoyed some nice snorkeling and long walks around the Cays.  









One little disaster occurred when we were setting our anchor.  On our primary, 85lb. Mantus anchor we have 300' of chain in 3 sections.  We used a galvanized link between the first and second sections, and when we were backing down the anchor, the connecting link failed and we lost our primary anchor and 100' of 3/8" chain. We put out our secondary anchor and  I put on a scuba unit and started to search for our missing ground tackle.  After about 20 minutes of fruitless searching, Joanne and Bill arrived to help.  They have this little planning board that they tow behind their dinghy.  For more than an hour Bill towed me around the anchorage until we finally found it...  After we installed new (and stronger) connecting links, we were back in business.... 

After a few wonderful days at the Cays, we moved a few miles to to tip of Basimentos Island where we anchored just outside of Salt Creek, an Indian settlement near some eco-tourist resorts.

We took the dinghy to one of the resorts called Azul Paradise, and met the cutest monkey they called Rafiki...








After we used their internet and had a few drinks we explored the river.  What another beautiful place...






What a great place to do homework...


The next day we walked for miles down the beach and came upon one of the locations where Survivor was filmed...  We though it was pretty cool.


This is where the production crew lived....

On this same walk, we found the BIGGEST coconut we have ever seen...

Along the way we were joined by two dogs who adopted us for the afternoon.  They followed us for more than 5 miles and even tried to follow us when we took the dinghy beck to our boats...  They were well cared for and were wearing collars, and we found out they do this all the time...  They adopt beach walkers, and eventually make their way home for dinner...






After a long walk, we relaxed...  We seem to do relaxing really well....


We continue to explore the archipelago and will share more soon...

Cheers!

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