Wednesday, December 9, 2009

We Have Arrived

Pictures from Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama:

Kayak-bound Mangrove exploration near Puesta del Sol (Nicaragua)

Loungin´ Aboard Escapade Under a Full Main and Genoa:

Morning reading spot on Escapade (Otto, the autopilot, takes care of the driving most the time)

Ben and Boat-Dog Nash in Costa Rica´s Spectacular Bahia Santa Elena

Ben harvests coconuts in Las Perlas:

Emily enjoys the harvest:

Our cabin porthole - not a bad view to wake up to, eh?

Ben and Emily, Survivors of a different sort

Emily casting for the big lunker...end result: skunked!

Our own private island for a day: Isla San Bartolomé in Las Perlas:

Well, not quite literally - it´s hard to ´arrive´when your final destination is ambiguous, at best. But figuratively, we´ve totally made it. After our taxing, nearly nonstop passage from Nicaragua, we have reached Panama and are preparing for our transit through the Canal, scheduled for Friday. As a reward for our quick pace, we spent a few days relaxing in Las Perlas Islands in the Bay of Panama, about 50 miles southeast of Panama City and the Canal.

During a trip with no defined final goal, these islands were about as close as it comes to fulfilling our images of what we were looking forward to when we started this crazy hare-brained adventure. Las Perlas are the embodiment of the idyllic tropical scene - small, barely-inhabited islands covered with palm trees and ringed by white sand. Fresh coconut water is ample...for anyone willing to shimmy up a tree, knock loose a coconut, smash it on a rock, painstakingly pry it open and get doused and splashed with its leaking juice in the process of reaching the remaining tablespoon of water - there are plenty of coconuts; our energy is the limiting factor. The rest of our days are spent enjoying the fine sand, the big blue sky with corresponding big red sunsets, the warm water and - with the help of snorkel and fins - the myriad fish, rocks, and coral formations beneath the surface. No wonder ABC (NBC?) chose these islands to film the Survivor series a few years ago.

And now in Panama City (anchored beneath the historic ´Bridge of the Americas´) we are seeing more human bodies than we´ve seen since leaving Los Angeles a month and a half ago - talk about sensory overload! If all goes as planned, we will transit the Canal (three locks up, across huge Lake Gatun, three locks down to the ´other side´) this Friday, the 11th; Escapade will tie up to the dock for Christmas and we´ll go ahead on our own way, wherever that may lead. Stay tuned in the next day or so for more complete details on the transit - you may be able to watch us on a live video stream.

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