Day: November 13, 2015
We’ll be setting sail for Shelter Bay in the morning, which is about an 18-24 hours sail from here. Located on Toro Point at the Caribbean end of the Panama Canal, directly opposite Colon, Shelter bay was formerly known as Fort Sherman. As a former US Army base, it was the primary defensive base for the Caribbean sector of the Canal, and was also the center for US jungle warfare training, and was turned over to Panama in 1999. Many abandoned buildings are scattered through the area, and the creatures and I have spent lots of time exploring and watching the monkeys that fill the trees.
To prepare for the crossing, we had a long ‘to do’ list, and everyone worked hard to accomplish all of it. We filled water tanks, stowed and cleaned, made sure the wind indicator at the top of the mast was secure, checked fluid levels in the engines, and did laundry. Tomorrow morning we will stop by the fuel dock on our way out and top off both 52 gallon diesel tanks, as well as fill the 10, 5 gallon jerry cans just in case.
We are so excited to get underway, and haven’t decided yet if we are going to anchor some place along the way, or just go straight through.
Emotionally I’ve had a pretty rough day. The aching within me for my Dad and brother has been intense, and I’ve cried on and off pretty much since I woke up. Tomorrow will be a better day.
The sunset was beautiful tonight, and through it I felt peace.
We have decided that it is taking far too long for our goods to arrive here in Bocas, and that it’s time we prepare to sail to Shelter Bay. It is a much larger hub for shipping and we’ll be able to save ourselves a couple weeks by sailing there and picking our stuff up. We are watching the weather to see when the best time to leave is, but as of right now it looks like tomorrow or Saturday would be best.
With this in mind, the creatures and I decided that the one place we still wanted to check out, was Wizards Beach, which is the next beach to the west of Red Frog Beach. The doc told Danny to keep his nose as dry as possible for a few days, so he stayed on Tanda Malaika to work on projects here, and the creatures and I loaded water and apples into our backpacks, and set off on our adventure.
We were stopped by a lifeguard who was very curious about the pickle…
We walked north across to the other side of our island, and then headed west down the entire length of Red Frog Beach.
It was high tide, and not many people were out, so it was deserted and so beautiful.
While walking we came across two crocs……but they were pretty docile and didn’t bite!
The ocean was a gorgeous turquoise.
Down at the far end of the beach, Mycah came across a TV, plugged it in and watched an episode of her favorite show.
Beautiful vines worked their way from the jungle onto the beach, and some of them has pretty purple flowers on them.
We found the path that we assumed would take us over the hill through the dense jungle to Wizard Beach, and started down it. Under my bare feet I could feel movement periodically, and found hundreds of little hermit crabs living under the fallen leaves.
The path meandered back and forth and at times became really muddy. We all had mud oozing between our toes like melted chocolate. At first everyone tried to avoid the muddy patches, but it became apparent that in some areas it was completely unavoidable, so I told the creatures to just embrace it and enjoy the feeling…so they did. We saw many red frogs, and a couple of them that were an orange color. Their color is directly related to their diet, and obviously these little guys hadn’t been eating their fire ants and centipedes lately.
We finally reached the ocean on the other side, but there was no sandy beach, just more trail along the rocks and through the coconut palms.
The farther we hiked, the more the beach opened up, and out of no where a wooden walk way showed up leading into the hillside. We of course, had to check it out.
Then there is was!!! We found a lost city. Giant stone structures from days gone by, lay in the jungle. We imagined the people that had lived there hundreds of years ago, and us amazing explorers from the land of Tanda Malaika, had discovered it once more. We just knew we were going to find stashes of gold someplace close by.
After closely examining one of the ancient carvings, we realized that they were not so ancient, but instead were made from wire covered with hard yellow foam and then some whatchamacallit that looked just like stone over it. Ah well, we know we will find a lost city at some point in our travels. Guaranteed!
We finally came to the big open beautiful Wizards. Aidan chased Mycah down the beach, and Skyler squealed as this little crab ran right in front of her and began burying itself in the sand and water.
We found a shady spot and sat down to rest.. We had walked about 3 miles at this point through many ups and downs, ducking under and around tress and wading through mud, and we were all hot and sweaty. We drank down some water, then made our way into the surf. The water was so warm that it took a few minutes to cool off from hiking.
We noticed that far down the beach there were a group of people, and we wandered which way they’d come, and if there was an easier path than the one we had just walked. After swimming for a while we each grabbed an apple and started walking toward them to ask. A woman told us that they had simply walked over the hill from Bastimentos! We thought that perhaps we would try find the path and saunter over to Bastimentos too, so we made our way up toward the jungle once more and this time came across a policeman. He couldn’t speak a word of English, but almost immediately his buddy names Salina, who was also a policeman, showed up, and between our Spanish and his English, we understood each other. He explained to us that walking to Bastimentos was very dangerous, especially on weekends, because people hide in the jungle and jump out at the non locals and rob them while threatening them with machetes. He told us he’d escort us to Bastimentos to make sure we arrived safely, just in case. We followed Salina and all along the way he taught us Spanish.
The path was so easy to walk compared to the one we had come in on. After about half an hour of walking, we began seeing signs of civilization.
We stopped at a little shack, where a man who claims to be the worlds greatest surfer, lives and works. He had cold water and fresh coconuts for sale, so we drank our fill.
He had many surf boards up in his rafters. When Mycah was done with her coconut he cut it open so she could eat the jelly out of it. These coconuts were a lot sweeter than others we have had.
We continued up over a hill and Bastimentos was spread out below us. Working our way through the homes, we could see that it was a very poor little town, but people were happy and children played everywhere.
We made our way down to the water and asked for a panga to take us back to Red Frog Marina.
We loaded into the panga, put our feet up and enjoyed the ride back to our own floating island.
The shower felt SO good, and it took quite some time to wash the mud stains off my feet. As I walked backed to the boat, I came across Gary, an old sailor who walks with a cane. He had a handful of noni leaves, and I asked him what his plan was with them. He told me he boils them and them wraps them around his knee where his joints hurt, and it takes the pain away. He’s been doing it for several years now, and it’s the only thing that has helped.
We excitedly told Danny about our adventures, and he told us about the things he’d been working on.
We will all sleep well tonight, and dream of the adventures we have enjoyed, and of many, many more to come.