Thursday, September 5, 2013

Interesting Village La Esmeralda

We've had some wood canoes coming to our boat each day at our recent island to sell us whatever they have pulled up from the sea - oysters, lobsters, fish, octopi, crabs, etc.  They have also had pearls, irregular and all natural.  Courage bought some bananas and a papaya from one guy, who came daily back with things to share.  This morning he bought 3 lobsters for $10; the guy had his 9-year-old son in the canoe also.  Said he was a good paddler.  We gave them a nice pair of swim trunks that were a little too big for our boys. His shorts were polyester and ripped.  Didn't look great for a life on the water.  But a nice matching set with his shirt, so maybe they work great for him.  Who knows?  Courage also bought a sierra for 2 men's shirts.  We went to shore and played with a bunch of plastic jugs that had washed up.  We collected 2 quite nice plastic cups to bring back to the boat, clean up and use as the kid's special cups to drink from.  Cheaper than any thrift store I've been to!!

This afternoon we took the boat to their village, Esmeralda.  Very friendly group of people.  We were greeted immediately by 2 small dug out boats trying to sell us tiny fish, bait fish at best, 3 kids in one canoe, 2 kids in the other.  Then a large square raft made of Styrofoam with 3 kids on it and a paddle.  So funny.  We gave each kid a candy, and as Courage predicted, the wrappers went right into the water.

We gathered into our kayaks and headed to shore with our whole family.  Probably 20-30 kids from the village met us at the beach, climbed into the kayaks, took our hands, and were talking to us in Spanish. They paraded us up, then down their village, showing us a medical building and a school.  The group grew as we walked.  The kids asked for us many things in Spanish that I don't understand.  One of them was to take a picture with my camera, so a couple of boys used my camera to take pictures.  Most of them didn't wear shoes.  Some boys were only in their underwear.  One boy had a pair of red underwear filled with holes as his only outfit.  I'm hoping that this is his favorite pair, not his only pair. Their antennas on their houses were way up high on sticks for elevation.  A guy was selling us 10 limes, so we bought a few.  He didn't have a bag; so I went to the local store to buy something, then have a bag.  They didn't have any fresh fruit or veggies there, so I bought some canned tuna and ring pops for the kids.  Vitality had a bag of candy with her to share with the local kids.  Since they parted with all their candy, I figured I could get them a few more for themselves. Turns out I got ring pops which are rings, suckers, and they light up, all for 20 cents a piece.  Kids are still playing with the lights as I write this.  I read our evening story using Innocence's ring pop light.  We loaded up one kayak with half of us.  It took a couple of waves on departure, and then Courage pushed it through a wave and jumped in.  The kids on shore all clapped as he made it through the break zone.  Just a guess, but I'm guessing those antennas aren't for TV, these guys were hurting for entertainment!!  We stayed and shared a couple of bags of Cassidy's outgrown clothing, then went to load ourselves up.  The kids had already pushed out the kayak, and the kayak Courage took out to the boat was being returned by some local kids that had gone out to the boat in their dug out canoe.  Cassidy loaded in one kayak, I in the other.  As we departed, I had a passenger, one of the local kids. I waited to be sure he would have a ride back and that I wouldn't be sending a kayak back.  His buddies loaded up in a dug out and escorted us to the boat.  At the boat we dropped our passenger off and prepared our boat to go to the next, more remote anchorage.
Was interesting and fun, but very over-stimulating to have people swarming you and speaking Spanish while being paraded around a town and trying to keep track of 6 kids.  Cassidy was easy, Valiant being carried, so only 4 wanderers to get lost.  Innocence raced some boy in his skivvies and held her own.  Integrity apparently had some "altercation" with a retarded boy who got a little physical.  Nothing serious, but I'm sure he was confused.  Happened while the group got split up, so I didn't see it, only heard about it. Got some nice pictures of Innocence surrounded by the local kids, etc.   The town has recently grown from 500 to 1000 people.

Beautiful quiet anchorage we found, single house on the shore. Went just up the tributary river and on the first bend scared a crocodile off the bank, maybe a 4 footer.  Will do more exploring over there tomorrow when the tide is coming in, was too much against the current so we didn't go far today.  Had a great dinner of sierra, planning lobster tomorrow.  Getting rain every day, but only for a short while, just enough to refill our bathing water almost daily.  Also got our front tarp hung up yesterday, so keeping our front hatch open in the rain - allows so much more air flow and less stuffy when humid and hot!!  Also great for sitting under when we were under way to be up front on the trampolines, but shaded.

Just an update from Panama.  Was a fun, interesting day.  From the Styrofoam raft (loved it!!) to the boys asking to try using the camera.  Reminded me of bits of Nepal, random things we take for granted.  The kids were also asking for chocolate, but I didn't give that.  Didn't want to encourage "begging," but wanted to share.  It all works out.

Homeschooling is going well.  Boys read and wrote this morning, then the kids all checked out sea life, watched an oyster get cracked open to look for a pearl, held an octopus, bought 3 lobster and a sierra, learned about negotiating with/without money, watched the rain and thunder come in, learned about life in a small Panamanian town (many Jamaican descent it appeared), including how to make a raft out of anything that floats, how to make friends even if you don't speak the language, why people dress differently than you do, etc., recycling vs. littering, saw a crocodile, went to land there to check out the tracks, ate their fresh fish and veggies for dinner, then finalized with how to catch rain water to drink. Good life skills all the way around, and they didn't even know they were learning except the first part where they had to read.  The first part is the only one they give resistance on too.

Going to get everyone to bed.  Goodnight.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

New Island

Nice day, new island.  Had a campfire, burned our garbage, cooked hot dogs for lunch and marshmallows for dessert.  Began to rain, refilled our bathing water and laundry water - need to go wash clothes, but looking for the motivation. 
Bright and sunny again.  Nice swim this morning, kayaked to shore, saw a breaching whale in our same bay.  Put up some fish netting on our lifelines to make it easier to keep Valiant and Vitality on board if they slip.  Conjuring up a way to make our back cockpit more useful - put a shower on the back swim steps, make a water storage tank to collect the rain water, keep it dry in the cockpit so it's more of a livable space, etc.  Lots of great ideas, need time and energy to get them all done.  I also have a car stereo and marine speakers I want to get installed.  And run 120 power to our freezer so we don't have an extension cord running through 2 rooms for it. Overall good though.

Also, a guy came by this morning in a dug out wood canoe and sold Courage some plantains and a papaya, they are very green, will last us another week or so probably.  He came by later with 2 octopuses and some oysters.  We were less interested in those, but the kids played with the octopus some.

Made BBQ chicken pizzas last night, quite a luxury.  Making a loaf of bread pretty much every day also, which is going well.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Perlas Islands

Thinking we are going to the Perlas Islands for the next month until we pick up Loyal at the end of September.  We should have supplies to last us - 30 jello packs, canned corn, canned fruit, rice, beans, oats, raisins, sugar, flour for bread, etc.

Nice passage, just made it in.  Lots of dolphins, including some jumping all the way out of the water and tail slapping the water.

Cassidy rode on the bow ladder and was right next to them.  Intrepid and Integrity went down for a little bit also.  Looks like a great island, will check it out tomorrow.  Integrity fell in this evening as we approached the island.  He went to the back swim step to get water in a bucket and was told not to drop the bucket.  It pulled him in and he held on to it.  We threw the man overboard pole and went back for him.  He was yelling to us - "I didn't drop the bucket!"  He was fine and not shaken.  Swam to the pole, then up to the bow ladder and came back up.  (Bucket, man overboard pole and all).

All is good, nice dinner, going to watch a movie, then bed.