After arriving in Bocas Del Toro it became apparent that there were some needed repairs on Stray Catz and some necessary upgrades if we’re really going to cross the Pacific. (I’m waffling on that) This area is one of the last places to get this stuff done before we go through the Panama Canal. It’s not exactly the ideal location considering it takes one to two months to get most of the marine parts I’ve needed shipped here, but at least you can get stuff shipped here.
Knowing good and well in the back of my mind there was work to be done on Stray Catz, I was listening to the local cruisers-net that is broadcast every morning on the VHF radio. (For those who don’t know, a cruisers-net is sort of a verbal meet and greet and a who can help who gathering of both ex-patriots and cruisers who are in the area.) This particular morning someone was looking for a house-sitter. Thinking how nice it would be to not be on Stray Catz while she was in shambles, I immediately took note of whom to contact about this opportunity. And in typical cruiser style, about three days later, I contacted them. As luck would have it, no one else had jumped at the chance, and the next thing you know we were tying Stray Catz up to a dock in Tierra Oscura (The Dark Lands).
So named I’m told, because of it’s close proximity to the high hills to the west where the sun sets quick with an early darkness over the area. It’s a beautiful piece of property. It has a couple of acres loaded with plantain, banana, cacao and many other fruit trees. The parrots flying over are numerous and loud and we’ve been visited multiple times by howler monkeys. Of course even when they’re not on the property we can hear them just fine in the surrounding hills.
The location is both a blessing and a curse. Being located so far away from town we aren’t distracted by the ease of restaurants, cruiser gatherings and other social events, but we also have to plan ahead for any trips into town. It takes about 30 minutes each way, and if it’s bad weather, the pangas (small motor boats) we drive are not as safe and stable as Stray Catz. If you forget something either at home or in town, you go without.
Of course, it still takes some discipline to get up everyday and go out and work on Stray Catz. Not living in the adverse conditions of a boat under construction makes it easy to be less motivated. And there are the distractions of the local opportunities.
The project list is long, and unfortunately it has been added to since we got here. The stove stopped working. The water heater started leaking, and the water maker needs a new membrane.
We also need a new cockpit door. The folding plastic doors we have, lack one simple feature… security.
Oh did I mention some local distractions?
This is the stuff we see on a normal day.
Today we went for a row in the small kayuco (dugout canoe) and just a short way down the shore Anna spotted a three toed sloth sitting in a mangrove tree only about 10 feet off the water. We checked him out for a while then rowed on and spotted another about 50 feet up in a tree.
We rowed back to the house where Kylan took Anna’s place and I grabbed a camera.
Anna offered Kylan $100 to bring the sloth back to the house, but the best he dared do was climb up to the sloth and pet him.
We’ve had visits from multiple friends
who venture down here on their boats to the dark-lands. Next week we’re expecting a visit from a family with four teenagers. Kylan won’t know what to do with himself.
There is a restaurant that is in the next little bay over that is only open on Fridays and Sundays called RanaAzuls. This is a popular spot for local ex-pats and cruisers alike.
It’s practically our only social outlet for the week.
Anyway, it looks like we will be here till at least the end of October, before we move on to other parts of Panama.
We have all these beautiful, interesting and exciting experiences. We are truly blessed.
Next week is Anna’s birthday. If only I could give her a roach free house. For that is Anna’s true nemesis here. Roaches. We are told they’re normal here in Panama, but that doesn’t make them any more likeable.