7/29- 8/17 Bocas Del Toro, Panama

We woke up and we popped our heads out of the hatches and could not believe how absolutely beautiful the landscape around us was. We had entered Bocas at night so we had no idea what the place we were going to spend the next who knows how many months at looked like. We were surrounded by water and slate gray-colored mountains. Being from Florida, we get very excited about mountains. We could also see that there were lots of restaurants, bars, and shops all along the water. We loved the area right away.

After making the boat and ourselves somewhat presentable, we hailed the port captain and began the check-in process. The officials came aboard, but didn’t even leave the cockpit. It was an easy, but pricey (around $350) check-in process. As soon as we were official, the marathon of celebration began. I think we went to every bar in Bocas that day and introduced ourselves to every bartender and local patron-as though we were somehow more interesting than the 20 backpackers and surfers they had met earlier in the day. The day’s festivities culminated with us and a bunch of new friends jumping into the illuminated water at a bar with a shipwreck under it.

That night we met two backpackers, Jake and Sarah, and did the whole, “you’re awesome, no, you’re awesome, we should totally hang out, go sailing, blah, blah, blah” Fortunately, it wasn’t just bar talk and they ended up staying on the Gualby for a couple of days. We took the boats to Hospital Bite to snorkel and spearfish and to Wizard’s Beach to surf. They are two amazing, fun-loving people. We are so glad we got a chance to swap travel stories and get to know them. I hope they caught the cruising bug and are saving to buy a boat right now so that we can meet up with them again some day.

After we recovered, we did some boat projects. I cranked Ted up the mast a couple of times to repair our wifi antenna and to take down the torn and twisted jib. We ended up taking our sail to Erica and Lobo, who live on the sailboat Terra Vana with their 10-year old son. They were able to repair our jib in about a week. It looks as good as new, well as good as it did before. We also spent some time catching up on sleep and scoping out the local grocery stores. We stocked up on beer, rum, and fresh, ridiculously cheap produce. A whole, huge pineapple is $1.25.

Soon enough, another opportunity to celebrate presented itself-Conor’s birthday. We took a water taxi to the island of Bastimentos and walked up a hill to a thai restaurant that required reservations because the restaurant only has two tables. The tables are located on a large, wood deck that has an amazing jungle view. The food and the company were great. We spent the rest of the night hanging out in Bocas. Up until this point in our trip only one person, Conor, has not fallen off of a boat. The morning after Conor’s birthday we were told, by Conor, that a rogue wave came by just as we had all gotten home from the bar, and that he was fortunate enough to only be thrown off of his boat and into the water.

Being without a camera has turned me into a dirty thief. I stole all of these pics from Sarah and Meg (thanks!)…

Salty Dog Anchored

Heading to the Rip Tide to watch the Gators

Gimpy Dog at the helm

Ted catching a monster wave...

Jacob taming the Green Machine

Happy Birthday Con!

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