Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It's The Little Things

Panama is a beautiful country with amazing sights and sometimes it is the little things that get your attention. This very friendly grasshopper joined us for a little sail from Bocas Town to Red Frog Marina. We did not charge him the usual $3.50 water taxi fare.

Enjoying the ride. Hang on tight Mr. Grasshopper or you might just become fish food.

The insects get your attention here in Panama but the "real thing" is all about your friends and day to day life. Living onboard a 44 foot boat with your mate, day in and day out, takes some patience and fortitude. What makes it all worthwhile?

A party! And not just any party, Steve's last year in his 50's. Yes, the Captain turned 59.
Below, left to right: Bill, Kenny, Steve and Craig.

And girlfriend time is priceless.
Below, left to right: Anne, Tana, Roxanne and Liz.

We do know how to have fun!

Any event can become a party. It is one of the things we love most about cruising.

The cake was not so pretty but it tasted just fine.

Keeping the tradition alive but reducing the candles....no oxygen available for resuscitation.

Gotta share Steve...go ahead cut the cake.

There is always something to discuss around the table. Sometimes it is hard to get "talk time". Imagine that!!

Getting off the boat and spending time ashore with friends makes us all remember how lucky we are

Kenny and Tana

Liz and Craig

Roxanne and Bill

And back onboard ship, it is a wise captain that knows the best way to keep mutiny at bay is to

keep the Admiral happy.

We are living the life and one day we will look back on our sailing adventure and we will remember many great ports, beautiful countries and friendly people. But best remembered will be the little things that brought us joy along the way.

Adios for now,

Anne and Steve
S/V Fine Line

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Red Frog Favorites

In Bocas del Toro you can drop your anchor in many different places. We are now anchored near and island called Bastimentos. Red Frog Resort is a controversial development on Bastimentos. Built with the jet set in mind it has high end villas, a beautiful marina and amazing beaches. It was also supposed to have condos, a golf course and a hotel but the economy happened.
The little Red Frog still lives here, however, but we can't seem to find any? Victims of eviction? Short sale? Hmmmm?
We are anchored outside the marina and what a lovely spot.

But the beaches are our favorite. The windward side of this island has many beaches: Wizard Beach, Red Frog Beach, Turtle Beach and more. These photos are of Turtle Beach where we enjoyed the entire beach all to ourselves with friend Bill.

Photos by Steve

The body surfing is good here.

Steve's favorite shot.

You can walk from beach to beach with a small detour through the jungle.

You have to watch where you walk: snakes, scorpions and the dreaded Red Fire Ant!

Along the path you never know what you might find to eat.

Beautiful flowers

All growing wild

And of course there is wildlife. Some wilder than others.

This Boa paid us a visit on our boat. It was morning and we were enjoying a cup of coffe in our cockpit. We were sitting right next to the snake and we did not see it. Our friend Bill came up in his Dinghy. We talked we laughed and then he said "hey, did you know there is a snake on your boat?" Boy, were we surprised. We convinced the sweet thing to get down off the rope and when he was on our back swimstep we swept him into the water with a broom.

He swam away only to turn around and swim right back to the boat. He tried and tried to get back on board. Steve would throw him (using a stick) as far away from the boat as he could but the snake would turn around and swim right back to us. Help! We can't tell you how we finally got rid of him but it did involve a bit of trauma (oops). We now get up every morning and do a snake check.

Up a tree you sometimes get lucky and spot a sloth. How cute is he or she!!!!

So what would make us leave Bastimentos and the beautiful beaches? A walk with Tana in the jungle

And dinner prepared by Maria and Coco at Rana Azul. Tonight she is making her amazing onion rings, lemon glazed chicken and chocolate mousse. Anchors away.

We did see this little critter while picking tangerines with Tana. Not sure what it is? Any ideas? Opossum?

A very interesting tail

Upside down sloth

Cacao. Makes great chocolate.

They come in various colors and are very prolific. You can open the ripe pod and eat the meat around the cacao bean. Just don't eat too much.....:)

That's all for now. See you soon

Anne and Steve
S/V Fine Line

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Walk In The Jungle

We are back in Panama. Although from this picture we could be in the Pacific Northwest in the USA or in some lake in Switzerland. We are, however, in Bocas del Toro Panama.

Bocas del Toro is beautiful. It is surrounded by mountains, jungle, mangrove islands and lots of water.

It took us 26 hours to motorsail here from Colon, Panama. We had plenty of tropical weather to keep us busy for the entire 26 hours: lightning, thunder, rain, wind, waves....whew, we were sure happy to finally arrive and see our really good friends, Liz and Craig on Salida.

Steve quickly got our new dinghy launched and went over to say hello.

The main town in Bocas del Toro is know as "Bocas Town". Simple! It is a very popular tourist destination. There are lots of small hostels, hotels, restaurants and bars. It has alot of charm.

Of course, the whole town has some growing pains and there are some eyesores around.

Catching up with friends is always the highlight for us. Here we are celebrating a birthday with Steve, Roxanne, Kenny and Tana. We have not seen Kenny and Tana since Annapolis 2007.

The Calypso Cantina is a happening place for boaters. The managers, Dillon and Darren (standing on each end) will definantly entertain you. Seated are Bill from Bamboo, Liz and Craig from Salida and Russ from Jacana. In the foreground is "you-know-who".

And of course, Steve is very happy to be here....maybe because they have one of his favorite Rums...

Entertainment by Darren at Calypso Cantina

Firedancing by the South African boaters

Bocas del Toro has many great places to take your boat. We are lucky that our friends Liz and Craig have been here for a year and are great tour guides. "Just follow us". OK!

Along the way we see lots of interesting sights. We are amazed at all the small and large homes tucked into the emerald green country side. And some are on stilts. Small outhouse in the back.

A hidden treasure about 1 1/2 hours out of Bocas Town is the Rana Azul. It is a beautiful little restaurant tucked into the jungle. Owners Joseph and Maria from Austria serve a fantastic Sunday lunch. You anchor your boat out in the bay and take the little dinghy ashore. Gorgeous!

Next to the restaurant is Joseph and Maria's house and boat.

Everything grows here.

So far from home we meet with Alex and Lisa Poff. Alex and Steve worked together at Encinitas Fire Department. Alex is still there but Steve is not. Alex and his family are here on vacation. We found out from our cruising friends he was here. What a small world.

The Poff kids: Riley standing on the left (she is 9) and Cole (4 years old) sitting down. Very cute kids.

Joseph and Maria prepare some outstanding European dishes. People come from everywhere to enjoy the feast.

Not too far from the restaurant is a farm owned by friends of Tana and Kenny. There are great walking paths where you can get up close and personal with the jungle. I know everyone expects to see big dangerous animals in the jungle but mostly you see the small inhabitants.
Here is a Blue Poison-dart Frog. He is very afraid of people so no worries. Named so because it was believed Indians used to dip the tips of their arrows in the toxin secreted by the frog. The reality is, they were rarely used for this and their toxins are hardly toxic.

Green Poison-dart Frog. Unlike most frogs, these frogs are out and about during the day. They like to hide in the roots of big trees.

There are some great looking spiders to look at. Just be careful where you walk because walking into one of these webs is downright creepy.

Beautiful insects that blend into the foilage.

Hibiscus grow wild and beautiful in a variety of colors.

Each time we walk in the jungle we see different things.

Stay tuned for more jungle exploration.

Anne and Steve

S/V Fine Line