Tuesday, March 08, 2005


Hi folks,

Crazy horse finished about 48 hourse of mostly continuous motoring when we anchored at the island of bocas del toro, panama about a week ago. we were coming from albequerque cays, of colombia, where we had a day of excellent reef snorkling, and met a couple sailing in the same type of boat, an alberg 35. had a potluck on the beach and over a kingfish dinner, it came out that the alberg 35 owner, Dave, was the captain for an important man´s motorboat. the important man: non other than the first man to fly faster than the speed of sound, yes, chuck yeager. many can imagine my excitement. many entertaining stories about dave´s own airplane and helicopter flying stories.

the highlite of the passage came when we saw a clumb of bamboo floating in the water. we were trying to sail, but recognizing its futileness, we furled the sails, turned on our engine, Ron Dog, and motored towards the flotsam in search of a mahi mahi dinner. we found lots of fish, including mahi mahi and probably about 50 bull sharks up to 5 feet long. we hooked a few mahi mahi but as soon as the sharks detected any panic out of the hooked fish, it was a gonner. we were running about the deck, quite half cocked, with fishing gear everywhere, and trying to get it all on video tape. the urge to see pandemonium and crazyness in the water overwhelmed our desire for a fish dinner and we hesitated in pulling in the hooked mahi mahi long enough for the sharks to go mad, which caused us to lose our dinner, twice. very exciting and amusing entertainment to an otherwise uneventful motoring. from there we spotted a group of 20 pilot whales which we motored over to as the basked in the sun. the continued basking and a few swam towards us. back to the flotsam and a few circles later, with sharks chasing us, we headed south again.

we came to bocas del toro in search of ´the best surf in the caribbean´. yet we have had nothing but flat calms for over a week with no forcasted signes of improvement. we have entertained ourselves with a bit of snorkling, exploring the island of bastamientos, playing soccer and basketball wtih the local boys, eating cheap food, and sharing in our exasperation about the lack of surf in this legendary spot. one of the highlites has been ´crazy guy with a plane on a stick´. we have a series of ´crazy guys´ that we´ve found on this voyage, including crazy cat woman from jamaica, crazy wood guy, from san andreas, who half the time would give us smiles and say rasta things while the other half of the time he would start yelling at us apparently for not buying his wood things. crazy plane on a stick guy is about 20 and pulls a model airplane on a stick up and down the street during the nights. the first night he just went back and forth, talked to no one, we had doubts about his mental condition. but on the second night, after doing his full check out, and a good pit of taxiing, he started to run, and lo and behold, the thing took flight. you can imagine our excitement, especially mine.

after a week of no surf, we got a weather forecast and it was north east to east 10 knots and 4 foot seas, which in our experience means, no wind with which to sail anywhere, and no surfable swells. so we packed our bags, knowing we would not last in bocas one more day without surf, and came inland, where we are now. got on a boat taxi which goes about 30 miles an hour to the mainland and then ducks into the rivers with no abatement in speed. it is quite beautiful and gets our adrenaline going. from chinguanola, where the boat taxi took us, we took a $8, 4.5 hour bus ride to the city of david, near the pacific.

the bus ride was fantastic. it was wonderful to be inland and we rode over the continental devide into the clouds and cooler temperatures and then back to the warmth of the lower elevations, with spanish music going the whole time, except for one welcom english song that we all sang along with, janie´s got a gun. that night we got two rooms at a hostal, $2.75 each for me and ted for a double without an attached bathroom. $4.50 for chris and rob for the attached bathroom. our deal seemed better until the following morning when our neighbors in the next rooms over woke up, packed up and left, making us realize that though the walls go to an inch above the floor we were essentially in one room with plywood partitions hanging from the ceiling. still can´t beat the price for a night´s rest. that night we watched the movie, hitch, for $2.50, which we all thought was really cheesy but there were many parts where we were laughing outloud and i even clapped a few times in my enjoyment. when we return we´re going to see blade 3. the following day we took an hour bus for 90 cents to the backpacker town of boquete, where we will spend our second night tonight. it´s a cute little town, with friendly people, cute and talkative kids, and cheap food. this morning we woke up at 3:45 am, got our prearranged taxi at 4, then drove to the entrance to the parque nacional, where we proceeded to hike 14 km to the summit of the highest mountain in panama, volca boru, i think is the name, higher than 11,000 feet. the path was a rocky four by four dirt road to the summit, which made for slow going by headlight for the first few hours. but after the sun rose above the clouds that were already below us, we had a great time and made the summit and celebrated in being able to see both the atlantic and pacific oceans from one spot. having returned, we are resting our blisters and almost rolled anckles, and rob and ted prepare for a day of kayaking tomorrow with a rafting outfit. (only two boats available, they´re the experts, so i conceeded.)

we plan to return to bocas in a day or two, and hopefully the surf will meet us there. we love panama; it is beautiful, cheap, friendly and easy to get around. that´s it from the haus, sorry it´s so long, but it´s been a while, thought you´d all like some details, and the internet is only $1 an hour.

(by the way, i apologize for spelling colombia with a u in a previous email. for the correction, i give credit to my friend, frank abagnale. thanks frank.) all the best to everyone at home,

hasta luego,

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