Monday, April 15, 2013

Panama Part II - Surf

After kayaking at Coiba Island we returned to the mainland and stayed in Santa Catalina, a low-key surf town. 

Here is Laura, showing us how it's done.

Ben was rocking it after the first day too, but really both kids loved playing in the surf as much as they did actually surfing!
Meanwhile, back at the ranch. We stayed at Rancho Estero for $55/night.  We had a shared outdoor kitchen - which I really liked. There are only four little thatch cabins and everyone we met there was super nice.  Unbelievably there was a couple from Jackson Hole!  For the location and price it was great.  It is only a 15 minute walk to town and right above the 'beginners' beach.  The manager is keen on recycling and trying to spread the practice to the schools in Santa Catalina.
Cool recycled metal dinosaur art where we stayed. Ben loved them.  The estuary here was a great place to watch birds and at night there were huge bats skimming the surface of the water.



The only people on the beach - Scott and Ben walking out to surf.

View from our 'cabin by the sea'.  Our cabin had a great common space next to it and we played dominoes one evening while waiting for the rain to let up.  Also next to our cabin was a mango tree. Someday I'm going to have a mango tree in my yard, not sure where exactly that will be yet.

Estoy contento.
And here is Scott!  Scott and I got into a rhythm of going to surf in the morning until we felt too beat up and tired.  The kids either surfed too or played in the sand.  Then we'd go back to the 'ranch' for lunch, a beer, and a siesta.  The late afternoon and evenings were so pretty so we'd go back out and surf some more.

Dog finding shade on the road to town. The roads in Panama are very nice by the way - this one was just recently paved. One day while I was walking home from town I ran into the ice cream guy and bought two coconut ice cream popsicles
(for myself of course).


It was hot, sunny and steamy in Panama almost the entire time we were there. Then one night near the end of our time in Santa Catalina when we were walking to dinner the sky broke open with a vengeance.  It was an amazing tropical rainstorm with  continuous thunder and lightning.  We took shelter in an open-air restaurant that was closed and sat on top of the bar because it was the only place that the rain wasn’t blowing in on us.  We thought we would have to wait all night for the storm to subside because the lightning went on and on.  Finally we sprinted back to our place, dodging the big crabs that the rain brought out of the earth.  They were all over the road.  We didn’t have a flashlight and we were scared we would step on them – the ultimate gross out. 

Ben 'Jammin' Rio waiting out the storm.

These are the crabs that the rains brought out. 
 Back at our cabin I was afraid I would step on them with my bare feet in the middle of the night.

Just to show that it wasn't all fun and games - Ben and Laura doing homework (writing in their journals) one night.

We made lots of four-legged friends in Panama.  I especially loved these three dogs that were playing in the surf.  Pure dog joy!

Fresh pineapple for breakfast - the outdoor kitchen area. 

 Sweet lab that made our porch her home. Actually she probably adopts all the humans who stay here!

From an early morning walk on the beach with Scott - where the river meets the sea.


On the last morning in Santa Catalina we ate breakfast in town while waiting for the bus to come by.  It looks like we have a big pile of stuff but each of us carried a small day pack with our clothes and books and then we had one big bag full of snorkel gear.

It's hard to say goodbye and the kids really missed our Daisy Doodle back home.  While waiting for the bus they made friends with this scruffy terrier mix that reminded them of Daisy.  Of course it snuggled right up to Ben.  I tried to make sure they only snuggled with dogs that had collars AND flea collars.

Next stop, El Valle de Anton.

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