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Landfall-Learning > Ship's Log

Ship's Log: Updated February 15, 2008

Hunkered Down in Paradise

We are contentedly settled into our slip at the Bocas Yacht Club and Marina and enjoying the incredible beauty of this area. Though it has been raining for three or four days and looks like it's going to continue for a few more, we did have a couple of weeks of gloriously sunny weather that lent itself to snorkeling, body surfing, hiking, exploring potential properties to buy, and bird watching.

There is a tree in bloom right outside the showers that has been attracting hummingbirds by the tens and twenties at a time.

The sound of many wings beating sounds like a miniature helicopter squadron! But boy, are they hard to photograph! It took about twenty shots to catch this one in mid-sip.

Tracy has also made friends with the local tree snake and checks for him in the coconut trees every morning on his walks with Gellie.

Let it Rain

One of the things about living in a tropical rainforest is that, well, it rains a lot! And if we let the rain keep us indoors, we'd be indoors a lot! Fortunately, some folks understand that, and say "Just do it anyway!"

Shortly after we arrived here we were invited by Charky, our new friend who runs the Calypso Cantina restaurant at the Bocas Marina,

to go out to a nearby sandbar off Careneros Island on her day off, to just hang out in the water, eat some of her restaurant leftovers, drink some beer, and just relax.

Which is exactly what we did! Despite threatening gray skies and a forecast of rain we all piled into the dinghy with the dog and two coolers full of food and drink. We were met there by Charky's friends Kerry and Rudy from Catalina Island, California, who were visiting Bocas.

After playing in the water for a while, out came BBQ chicken and ribs and beer and wine. What an odd feeling, to be eating messy finger food on a sandbar, waist deep in water, 200 feet offshore. Easy to rinse the BBQ sauce off your hands though, huh? Kewl!

But even the hardiest of us got chilled eventually by the drizzle and overcast, so we moved the party over to the Pickled Parrot restaurant, just up the beach from the sandbar, to continue our day of rest and relaxation. Thanks, Charky, for such a great idea!

Enjoying a Visit from Justin

As always, having friends and family visit us is the highlight of our stay anywhere. This month it was Justin, Sharon's youngest brother, who flew down from Santa Cruz, California, for ten days of surfing and sunning.

He brought a little Santa Cruz sunshine with him, in the form of a T-shirt from his son Kai for Uncle Tracy (aka "Crazy ol' Uncle T"). For those of you who don't think that Tracy has a hippie side, well, here he is, in all his tie-dyed glory!

Justin lucked into a perfect weather window and was rewarded with sunny skies and 3-5 foot warm turquoise waves on the point break off Isla Careneros, a quick dinghy ride over from the marina. We'd pile into the dinghy,

zip over to the point on Careneros and then wait outside the break while Justin put the finishing touches of wax on his board. Then he'd drop into the water and paddle over to the break as we drifted in the dinghy, watching him surf for a while. Can you see his head behind the break?

We did not dare to get too close to the breaking waves because they could easily flip the dinghy. What a mess that would be!

On the way home one day we stopped at the same "picnic sandbar" for a swim. How much nicer when the sun is shining! Well, maybe not for Gellie; she's just not a happy swimmer!

While Justin was here we also went to Red Frog Beach for some awesome body surfing and sand castle building. We got some great rides in, on another gorgeous day!

All that sun and surf really tired us out. If anyone is thinking of coming down for a visit, here's what you have to look forward to for sleeping accommodations on the boat. Only the hardy would be fool enough to stay aboard! Fortunately, Justin is hardy! (Notice that when we finally get our mail, we get a LOT of it!)

Looking for Land

This may come as a surprise, but...

While we still intend to cruise around the world, it has become obvious to us that we'll never be able to afford to buy any property by the time we circumnavigate, after inflation eats away at our investments and property prices continue to increase over the long haul. So, we're thinking it makes sense to buy something now, to have a home to come back to when we're too old to sail or just tired of cruising (hard to imagine, but we have heard that it can happen!).

So we spent a couple of days recently looking at property, and spent a week here two years ago doing the same. This time around we are just as in love with the area, and so we are making a serious attempt to find some "dirt." Waterfront dirt, so we can keep Landfall nearby. Prices are pretty flat right now, so it's a good time to buy.

Tracy kept track of the properties we visited two years ago in his handheld GPS, and since he still has the same GPS, he marked the locations of the new ones we saw.

We've seen about a dozen properties so far, winnowed out of over a hundred for sale. Of course, our price range eliminated most of them right off the bat! A couple of pieces seem pretty darn close to what we want, though. Let's see, we could put the dock here...

Unfortunately, we discovered that the rest of this property is under three inches of water at really high tides...guess we'd better keep looking. We'll keep you posted.

Tracy the Day Laborer

Meanwhile, we met a guy named Garry a couple of weeks ago. Garry is building a house on an island 20 minutes by speedboat from our marina. For the next couple of weeks Tracy is working with him to help him finish building his house, "apprenticing" as it were, so that when it's time to build our house here, Tracy has more experience. Garry is a builder by profession, so who better to learn from?

So far Tracy has installed about 150 electrical boxes and is running conduit and wire to connect them all. It's a 4500 square foot house--and that means a lot of fixtures and plugs and switches! He'll be a pro by the time he's finished!

We'll post a picture of the completed house next time. Until then...

Stay tuned for the next update about our adventures in Bocas del Toro!

Old Logs


Moving on Again (to Bocas del Toro, Panama)


Christmas Greetings from Isla Providencia

Halloween Fun and Fiestas on Isla Mujeres

Feasting on Isla Mujeres

Living on Isla Mujeres

More Isla Mujeres Adventures: Hurricane Dean!

Isla Mujeres Adventures

Staying in Isla Mujeres for a While

Key West, Florida to Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Pensacola to Key West, Florida

Gulf Shores, Alabama to Pensacola, Florida


Olympia, Washington to Half Moon Bay, California and Half Moon Bay to Mobile, Alabama