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Updated Mar 2013 Providencia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Bocas del Toro Panama

Click on photos to enlarge.

10-2012 Bocas del Toro: Our friends Lorenzo and Joyce own a 55-foot shrimp boat, The Eileen Ferrel, that they converted to a cruising boat they live on. We first met them in Honduras, again in Providencia and now in Bocas. They invited us and two other couples for an afternoon excursion to a local resort for pizza, beer and just relaxing. As you can see it’s a big, big boat.

10-2012 Bocas del Toro: Captain Lorenzo at the helm of Eileen Ferrel and Laura on watch.

10-2012, Bocas del Toro: Jim and his Panama hat. When in Panama it’s almost criminal not to wear a Panama hat, don’t you think?

10-2012 Bocas Marina: Friday night at the Calypso Cantina.. Every Friday night it’s Bar B Q ribs or Bar B Q Chicken, &1.00 beers, 1.25 soft drinks and 2.00 mixed drinks. I (Jim) tend bar on Friday nights if we’re here. It’s a mad house. FYI, The little kid on the left is not part of the band. I don’t know where he came from.

May 2012 Providencia Colombia – While exploring one of the outer cays, we came across the remains of a large sea turtle, mostly just the shell and this skull. There are many protection programs throughout the Caribbean to try and save the turtles from extinction (we’ve actually only seen two or three live ones) but many of the natives still eat them and their eggs.

July 2012 Manzanilla Beach Providencia – While on a tour around the island, we enjoyed a peaceful day at the beach. Fortunately we didn’t drink enough to try launching ourselves into the water from this swing.

July 2012 Providencia Colombia – An informative beekeeper showed us his many hives (apiary?) and explained how they collect the delicious honey sold on the island. It’s very dark and flavorful and certain months of the year it changes flavor slightly depending on what flowers are in bloom.

Aug 2012 San Jose, Costa Rica is one of the country’s largest cities. We enjoy walking to this pedestrian mall for a little shopping or dining and of course people watching. The city has many small parks scattered throughout where the city’s workforce will take their lunches. They sit among sidewalk vendors selling bootleg DVD’s, watches, sunglasses, you name it, and it’s probably there.

Aug 2012 Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica – As we passed by in a bus on our way to San Jose where we would catch a flight to the US, we noticed all the banana fields were flooded due to the heavy rains. Pesticides, within the plastic of the blue bags you can see covering some of the larger stalks, keep the bananas protected so they can be harvested and exported with as few blemishes as possible.

Oct 2012 Almirante Bay, near Bocas, Panama – We were told this marvel is called a Sundog, although our wimpy camera was not able to capture how vivid and extraordinary it truly was. This ominous cloud formation that came drifting over the anchorage, had a huge rainbow on top. It would change color and intensity as it slowly passed overhead. Even more remarkable, it didn’t produce any rain.

Oct 2012 Bocas Del Toro, Panama – New boat owners have a ceremony and celebration for the renaming of their catamaran, now Laeto Loco (Greek for Happy Place). The family pictured on the right has taken a one-year leave from their lives back in Indiana for an adventure sailing around the Caribbean. The have already spent a few months aboard getting the boat ready for living aboard (and of course learning how to fix things). The surly looking crowd pictured on the left are the cruisers present to witness the offerings made to the Gods of Wind and Sea and Diesel Engines (I’m pretty sure they included that one in the speech.) and partake of the food and drinks, of course.

A close-up of the Proa.

Nov 2012 Bocas del Toro Panama – An Englishman named Chris sailed this handmade wooded craft from Mexico, alone. It’s called a Proa (spelling?) and when he wants to tack and go the other direction, the sail flips completely around and the stern (back) becomes the bow (front). The outrigger is for balance. He sometimes had a small tent set up on the center platform for shelter but he is definitely out in the elements and what cruisers call a “bare bones boat”. Who knows, some may also call him “the Mad Englishman”.

Nov 2012 – Porras Lagoon near Tierra Oscura (mainland) Panama – We finally left the marina to anchor at some of the nearby bays. A couple of times we hiked a vast property left in trust now managed by the Smithsonian Inst. and small frogs scrambled to hide in the underbrush as we passed by. Each island seems to have a particular color of frog, although on this walk, besides these 2-inch ones colored black and green, we also saw smaller ones, maybe 1-inch long, that were a blue similar to faded denim.

Nov 2012 – Gourmet dining comes to Bocas. This may look like a big hamburger but the top is actually crispy and hot fried cheese with layers of eggplant and vegetables below. Just one of many unique dishes at a new restaurant called Karmaway run by two or three kids (ok, maybe their in their 30’s) who have a knack for making something delicious out of what they can find here in the markets.

Nov 2012 – Here Laura is standing deep in the bamboo grotto. The owner of the property (now deceased) taught some of the local Indians how to make furniture from bamboo and other wood harvested here. The workshop is still operating and they produce beautiful and ornate furniture, lamps, wall art, bowls, etc. Jim ordered a walking stick with snake carvings. We have to come back in a couple of weeks to pick it up.

Nov 2012 – The same property has many varieties of fruit including this planting of pineapples. These plants will soon get a pinecone like flower in the center that will develop into the pineapple fruit. The plants can bear many crops if cared for properly.

A sign for Paki Point – Owned by a nice couple, she’s Italian he’s Argentinan, offering food from around the world.

Nov 2012 – Bocas del Toro Panama – One day out at anchor, we were approached by one of the natives asking for work. We hired him to help with some small boat projects. This is his hand-carved cayuku (canoe) with a 30-year old motor that sometimes took a little coxing to start. As we admired the resourcefulness in some of the patches on the aging wood, he said he had another new boat at home but this one was still good.

Dec 2012 – The next photos including the Bar Sign are Paki Point on the Caribbean Sea, Panama – A brightly colored restaurant near the surfing beaches where you can enjoy some great food, relax in lounges and hammocks, or swim in the ocean. Seaside homes, hotels and restaurants are scattered all along the coasts of most the islands throughout the archipelago called Bocas. Some can only be reached by water but a road goes most of the way to Paki Point and beyond to an even larger beach, with just a small section washed out where taxis and bicyclists find it a little rough going in the sand and coral.

Relaxing view from the lounge of Paki Point.

Our friend Joyce from The Eilleen Ferrell drawing on her IPAD. She's very talented. Here she captures a local woman holding a tiny monkey.

A surfer getting ready to go out at Paki Point even though the waves are still mild, just at the start of the season.

Jim and Carl helping out in the De la Luna kitchen after a great meal.

Another itty bitty frog in the jungle. Throughout the islands here, we've seen turquoise with black patches, red with black spots, dark denim blue and this mix of blue-green.

A wonderful sunrise in the Caribbean.

Beautiful orchid at the De La Luna Resort

Getting away from the resort and hiking in the jungle. We almost needed a machete, but definitely a branch to sweep away the large spiders that make huge webs between the banana trees. It wasn't bad going up, but coming down was so slippery we almost did it all on the seat of our pants.

The walkway to the cabanas at the De la Luna. A resort about 15 miles from Bocas Town. The owner Michele has done an excellent job of making this a beautiful, and FUN property.

One of the longest sections on the tour, it disappeared into the tops of the trees and you felt like you would catch in the trees. After the first few zips, you knew if you put on the brake, you wouldn't make it to the platform, so it was full speed ahead and hope the tour guide had the brake lined up at the end in case you came in too fast!

The very wobbly stairs leading to the platform to start the Zip-line Tour. If you can't make it up these, you should go home because it just gets higher from here

One of the bands at the 3-day Stone Soup Music Festival at De la Luna. There was a wide variety of music, food and people watching. To the left is Michelle who owns the resort.

Jim enjoyed the Zip-line experience but the Monkey Bridge SUCKED! We think the guides wanted you to fall off just to see if you'd pee your pants, even though you'd only drop a foot or so before your safety equipment would catch you.

Zip-Line Tour-We all had good gear and lots of it-adding a few pounds to your walk and causing you to walk tall.

The big thing now is coconut oil. Use it to cook with, fry up some eggs or rub it on your legs to keep the biting bugs away. This was a local Indian giving a demo on how coconut oil is made. First they get the hard coconut out of the husk and peel the hard shell off (both done by hand with a machete). Then grate the meat (a metal sheet with holes punched in it) and squeeze out any liquid. Next they boil the pulp until the oil comes to the top and then filter out the chunks. It's an all day process!

Clint, being younger than most of us had to show off and came down this line upside down.

This was at a small restaurant in a secluded bay that was so far from any town, we're not sure what channel they could even get let alone if they electricity to plug it in!

Rappel Tree-One of the easiest parts of the Zip-line Tour. It was still a long drop!

What's there to say? Enjoying the beach. More photos on the next page, see link at the far top left of this page.

Sailing over and through the treetops you sometimes could not see the platform at the other end of the zip-line.