Archive for April, 2012

Concluding, but not last, thoughts on my Panama Trip

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My trip to Panama was a fantastic adventure. Never would I have thought that I would meet so many kind, unique and interesting folks.  The weather was not what Frankie had hoped for, but we had a great time anyway.  The Bocas del Toro area is truely a land of beauty and those that have settled there have found a real treasure.

Many thanks to everyone who showed me such great hospitality, especially to Frankie and Terrry. I miss you already, and I look forward to returning to Bocas, keep the beer cold.

Leaving Sundowner Island and Bocas del Toro

We were up before light to leave in the little-boat-that-could for Bocas town and my flight home.  We were graced with a beautiful sunrise that started with a small fierce red glow in the east and ended with a glorious sky filled with drama and colors more intense than anything I think mankind has created.  Quite a send off and not something an iPhone camera can capture accurately.

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After take off, we flew over Hospital Point, down Isla Solarte and past Frankie and Terry’s Sundowner Island.  Click on the photo to get the largest image you can.  You should see two bays off the main body of water.  The one on the right is Discovery Bay.  With several boats and rooftops visible, it is home to their good neighbors, Bill and Paula, and Mark and Deb. To the left of Deicovery Bay is Sundowner Bay. The lone vessel in that bay is Frankie and Terry’s sailboat.  Sundowner Island is the first half of that green clump to the left of the sailboat. They are close to Isla Solarte but on an island of their own.

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Pretty flowers on Hospital Point

Here is a selection of cool flowers, all blooming at Hospital Point.  Greg told me what they were called, but, alas, I have forgotten their names. Enjoy their beauty and call them what you wish.

This is a fig tree

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This is one ginormous fig tree. That is an actual, full scale Frankie standing next to it.

Holy Instant Cave, Batman!

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These bats chew the central stalk of a Royal Palm frond to cause the sides to drop, forming a nice tent-like shelter. Who needs a damp, creepy cave when you can have a nice beachfront abode?  This one is at Hospital Point.

The Pineapple Crop

Frankie and Terry have been growing food on their island since they began settling it, and this is some of their latest crop of pineapples.

The little boat that could

This is Frankie and Terry’s boat.  It is the only one of its kind in Bocas town. The most popular kind of small boat is a panga.  Pangas are narrower, faster, “tippier,” and, most importantly to many people, fill up with water when it rains. Filling up with rain is not a good thing for boats. When that happens, the boats grow an affinity for the bottom of the sea! To keep this from happening, you have to have a battery powered, automatic bilge pump always at the ready.  These things have a bad habit of failing in an amazing number innovative ways.

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Terry’s boat is a type called self-bailing. The floor of the boat is above the water line and there are actually holes in the stern of the boat that let the rain water drain out – Brilliant!  It was his father’s fishing boat and they had it packed into a shipping container in Florida and shipped to Bocas. It was not a FedEx job.

This little boat hauls a load, not fast, but steady.

This pic is from a trip that began at the dock by the good old Riptide floating bar.  Turns out, the local lumber yard will deliver materials and load them on your boat moored right by the Riptide. So, you order your materials, go have a beer, or two, and wait for the material to arrive.  Not bad.

This particular time, it was loaded with all the wooden siding for the the bodega, quite a load.  When we climbed aboard to head home there was about 8″ of water in the boat! Ack! Remember those holes in the stern, yea, the water goes both ways. Gas tanks were floating, batteries aswim.  The ever-calm one (that would be Terry, not Frankie) did not hesitate, in we climbed, several more hundred pounds of cargo. The little-boat-that-could stayed afloat and off we went, moving slow. Once the boat was moving forward, water can exit those holes in the stern and slowly that sinking feeling ebbed.