Where we are now, and what is next.

September 2023

We are now in Bocas Del Toro, Panama. Bocas Del Toro is a beautiful archipelago on the North Caribbean coast of Panama. It consists of 9 islands and many many mangrove islands. The water is crystal clear most of the time. Sometimes after heavy, prolonged rain, it may be a bit murky for a few days but that soon clears. The water is not blue like Bahamas, but rather, looks like it has a green tinge to it. This is probably because it is surrounded by equatorial rain forests since Panama is only 9deg North of the equator. 

We spent over a month at the dock in Red Frog Resort Marina but decided to head out to anchor just over a week ago. The breezes at anchor are sublime. You don’t realize the importance of the breeze while at the dock. It keeps insects at bay, and of course the cooling affect is always welcome. It is very hot and very humid out here and there is no escaping the heat. One sometimes feels like a hot soggy mess and of course, for the ladies, our hair does not like such humidity.

We left Florida almost three months ago and are still enjoying meat which filled our freezer to the brim. We have not purchased any meat in Bocas yet. There is a shop that sells meat and fish which has been recommended so we will try it soon.  Fresh produce is available in abundance and is of a very high quality, mostly locally produced (in Panama, not Bocas) It does however, not keep for as long as produce bought in USA. This is a good thing in my opinion. We go to the mercado (market) every Tuesday because the supply boat brings fresh supplies every Tuesday morning. The supermarkets, of which there are many, are well stocked and you can get everything you need. It’s just a matter of homing in on the brands (or alternate items) that you prefer. It’s reasonably affordable. We still have stores of dry goods like pasta, rice, sugar, instant coffee for the Admiral (me), This brings me to another point, I like ordinary black tea which is not so popular here and it took me a while to figure out what is what on the tea shelves. Thank goodness for the pictures on the packaging which helped in identifying ginger, mint, camomile and the rest. The only nondescript packaging was labeled Tê Negro which is self explanatory. I have to use two bags to get a decent strong cuppa.

We have been to a few restaurants also. It is always nice to enjoy nice freshly prepared meals. We have found the offerings to be very good, and again, affordable. Many places have Happy Hour, or BOGO drinks during certain hours. That always helps.

Some mornings a local lady comes around in her cayuco (canoe) selling empanadas for $1 each. They are filled with chicken, cheese and vegetables, and are very tasty. As far as we are concerned, great value for money. So, by buying from her, we are helping to support the local economy which gives us the warm and fuzzys and helps her support her family. It’s a win win situation. 

And now for the what’s next… for now we are enjoying being in Bocas, and so will stay for a while longer. We will probably go down to Shelter Bay and a few other places further south to explore. We would like to go to the San Blas islands. However, now is not the right time because of the prevalence of electrical storms. We would like to avoid a lightning strike at all costs. We may go through the canal before the end of the year or early 2024. We have a wedding in South Africa at the end of January so everything has to hinge around that. No need to make a decision yet.