Aloha dear friends,
Early morning here in Hawaii. I am having my cup of Palo Alto, great coffee
from Boquete, Panama, and thinking of Russell and the Free Spirit. Woundering
in which ports his adventurous, free spirit is. Thinking of the wonderful
days we had in our "Central America discovery" trip, and sailing again in my
mind through Cozumel, Chinchorro, Guanaja, San Andres, Bocas del Toro,
Portobelo, the Canal crossing, Las Perlas, Panama City, Coiba, Islas Secas,
So many wonderful memories, hard to tell which one was the most memorable.
I am thinking of our last day in Panama City waiting for Sean (Russell's son
who lives in San Diego,CA) and getting the boat ready for the sailing to
Coiba Island and beyond. Of course we had to go to the supermarket to stock
up on lots of bananas, other fruits, (hoping that they had mangoes), yogurt,
and everything else our always ready to eat mouths desired. Sean is a big,
very handsome young man, this being his first year at college. Russell
warned us that Sean consumes lots of calories. So does Jerry.
We went to the supermarket and soon filled 4 carts. The problem was to get a
taxi that would accommodate the 4 of us and all the groceries. Taxis are
small in Panama. It was starting to rain again, but that didn't trouble us
anymore. We were so used to the rain by then, a little one we didn't even
We got our taxi and to the marina we went. The cab driver was a little
somber at first but soon he started to talk and then talk some more when he
found out that I was from Brasil. His favorite singer is an old Brazilian
one called Roberto Carlos, who was very famous in South America in the 70's
After unloading all the groceries and walking the long walk to the boat (we
were anchored in a Marina), putting everything thing away, it was almost
9PM. Jerry and I decided to stay in the boat while Russell and Sean went to
town. Father and son, two very good looking men, enjoying the Panama City
Before leaving, Sean made a great Sangria for me. He learned how to prepare
it in his stay in Spain as an exchange student. It was so delicious, the
perfect drink for that warm evening.
I remember us leaving Panama City, towards Coiba Island, almost noon, in a
beautiful day. The rain had finally stopped and we had a promise of good
wind. We were all so excited, although Jerry was so concerned of us leaving
so late in the day. He did not want to sail around Punta Mala (Bad Point) at
night, just the name gave me some concerns too. Punta Mala stuck out there,
a huge point we had to go around, with its history (or stories??) of rough
seas, strange currents and winds. We heard many stories from sailors. I
wandered if we were going to see mermaids around there.
Sean was a delight to have aboard, his youth, energy, respect and love for
his Dad filled the Free Spirit. It was his first time on the boat and he
loved it. He likes to exercise just as much as Jerry does, so soon the two
of them were exchanging ideas on how to exercise on the boat. Russell and I
just watched the two of them while we sipped our Panamas (cerveja).
Sean caught a sierra just after we left, so dinner was fresh fish. I made
ceviche, rice and salada. A pelican followed us for a miles, after we caught
the fish. I thought he was about to come aboard and become our pet. Dolphins
came by the boat, we saw a beautiful sunset, some huge container ships
sailing towards Panama City, and then, night. Waiting for Punta Mala.
I went to sleep, Jerry took the first 4 hours shift at the helm, Russell and
Sean watched a movie. Yes, we had a DV player in the boat and a large
To our delight our sailing around Punta Mala was beautiful, flat ocean, as
calm as it could be. We didn't even had our traditional thunder/lightening
storm. Maybe the mermaids had calmed the seas for us. I slept almost the
entire night. When I woke up we were anchored in this beautiful bay, Benao,
a famous surf spot. At 6AM there were already many surfers enjoying the
surf. We put the dingy in the water and went to the beach. Russell made a
perfect landing at the far end of the bay, where the surf was very small.
We walked about 1/4 mile to where the surfers were. There was nothing on the
beach but a small shack where you could buy sodas. The water was brownish
because of the rain, the surf was big, fast, and crowded. We decided to go
back to the boat and get the boards and try it anyway. Then on second
thought we decided not to. We had breakfast, cereal and fruit, and motored
away towards Coiba Island.
Our next stop was another "life renewing" experience. I will be writing
about it later.
My love to you all
|Updated: Nov. 18, 2010