Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Bocas del Toro, Panama – Days 200 to 202

Tree climbing Jackie picks a coconut, cracks it open on the trunk and drinks
This may be the worlds smallest apartment, but the kitchen is very well equipped, and the supermarket round the corner sells really nice things to cook, so one pack of seafood mix, one bag of rice and we've had two poor man's paella, and they even had some Thai curry paste, so two Thai currys, all very yummy, though it is a big pot of curry paste so we may be cooking Thai curry in many Airbnb's as we move through Panama!

Fred and Cindys island. Where to build the house?
Having had beautiful weather for a week, Sunday dawned cloudy with the threat of thunderstorms, so our day with Wendi and Will started slightly later than planned, but what a day. We met by a hotel near the dock they use, from where they took us to their boat and with that we were off. First stop was at an island owned by a couple who are living in a floating house, no, not a boat, it's square and house shaped but floats while they are building on their plot so far the bar is coming on well, the dining area has roof and floor, and they have a little bedroom on stilts, not that they are using it as they are in the floating house. Plan for the future is Airbnb and party pad. I'm sure they will eventually start on their house.....

Fred and Cindys dock - house and yacht
Back in the boat and on to Fred and Cindy who have lived on a yacht as dive instructors for the last 10 years. They still have the yacht which provides them with a lot of their fresh water, though they do have a collection tower too. Their build so far is the dock with a great kitchen/bar area, and then a bedroom and full kitchen. They have yet to decide quite where on their island they are going to build! From the dock however, is good snorkelling, so this was the place. 
Fred completes repairs to his boat. That's their bedroom through those doors
Wendi had brought mask, snorkel and fins for us so off we went. Amazingly Brian forgot to take the camera so there are no pictures, however we saw a couple of baby nurse sharks, conch, lots of fan worms, clams, lobster (crayfish to those of us from the UK) a sea spider assorted fish and lastly a school? Flock? Herd? Of little squid, they were so cute, showing some amazing colours and changes too. Can't believe I was cold when we finished, not that I refused a beer.  I sadly had brushed against a fire coral while backing up to let someone else see the first babay shark. Hopefully the hydrocortisone will soon work! We then headed off with Cindy to a local restaurant, we think only accessible by water while Fred just finished up with the boat he was working on. We had a lovely lunch and a really enjoyable time. 

Their kitchen and lounge
Back in the boat and off to Wendi and Will's island. They have been there just over a year, but not let the grass grow under their feet. They too started with a small house which they could live in while the main build was done, but they are in their proper house which is beautiful. Pool, amazing view indoor and outdoor kitchens, couple of guest rooms..... They also have dog, chickens, and six week old kittens they had only collected the previous day. Surprising they ever got rid of me really! What a fabulous day out, all through chatting on a Facebook housesitting website!

Beers on the deck after snorkeling LtoR: Fred, Cindy, Will and Wendi
Arriving for Sunday lunch
Yesterday we pottered, getting caught in the rain, then tried the same walk without clouds before deciding that no clouds and no sunblock was a bit daft. So today we hired bikes and went off in the same direction yet again, to Bluff beach, a good cycle on flat but dodgy road once the Tarmac had ended. Taking the bikes back at the end of the ride and we bumped into Cindy, it's lovely 'knowing' people!

Coming ashore for lunch. What a great way to live!
Heading to Will and Wendi's house after lunch
Off inland tomorrow where apparently it will be cooler, so he says, though he is now moaning about the AC making him too cold!

Arriving at Will and Wendi's island house. House on the left, dock on the right
At their dock
Will, Wendy and Jackie by their swimming pool (Jackie handing over the 1.5L bottle of rum, bought for half price at Panamanian duty free)
This is the view from their balcony. They have a tough life!
Outdoor kitchen and bar
Indoor kitchen and lounge. All 'off-grid', very environmentally friendly
This is their house from a nearby hill on their island. It's about 4.5 acres in all that they own
And the chickens like to be stroked. This one is sitting down to get the full treatment
Six week old kittens get their dinner looked on by Bruno their Rotweiller. He's not allowed near the kittens yet, not because he's fierce, he's really soft, but because he's powerful and may not know his own strength
On the beach on our first walk. The cloud in the distance eventually made its way over us and dropped a large amount of water and a thunderstorm
A coconut drink break on the way
This is why we didn't go to Bastimentos Island. US$50,000 reward for information on the murder of a 23 year old tourist on Bastimentos Island on 5th February this year walking on the a jungle path to a remote beach.
On our bike ride today
The track gets a little more rugged as we press on
On a beach somewhere along the coast
Lunch stop. That sea was not for swimming in. We tried, nearly got sucked out and got pounded by big waves
Don't know what sort he was, but he was interested in us
On our way back after the going got too difficult in soft sand
I may not be Tarzan but she's definitely Jane!

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