Thursday, May 22, 2008

Brown Boobies and Flying Round Stingrays

I was pretty startled this morning... just walking along the beach, minding my own business when I looked up and saw a brown booby less than 5 feet away. I'm use to seeing frigate birds, brown pelicans and American oyster-catchers... but brown boobies! Sure enough, consulting my Panama bird book, brown boobies are the most common booby in Panama. Most boobies hang out around islands. This particular booby must have been taking a breather.

I took off for the day to take an art class that was offered in Caldera at a beautiful setting (Rancho de Caldera). There I met a woman who moved from Kodiak 2 years ago. Diane (who gave the class) moved here from England with her husband Michael fairly recently. I didn't win any gold metals for my artwork, but I had fun and met some new people. I returned by way of David where I went to the Chiriqui Hospital. Yesterday, when I walked the beach at high tide, I stepped hard onto a thorny tree branch that was hidden in the brown sand. Ouch! I punctured the skin & realized I hadn't had a tetanus shot in the past 15 years. Luckily, I spoke to a doctor who could habla some English. They had me go to the Farmecia down the hall, purchase the "Tetavax Vacuna Amp Cx1" for $8.45, return to the nurse who "shot" me for $6.00. I figured none of you would be able to come visit if I died silently in my condo of Lock Jaw!

Returning to the beach in time for a short walk, I got talking to Scott & Deb (Canadian surfers/yoga instructors) as they were evaluating the surf. What was that? A flying stingray!! We must have seen 20 stingrays (smaller than the one who killed the woman in Florida) flying out of the water. They must be looking for food? I looked up flying stingray on the Internet & found several YouTube videos of stingrays flying out of the water. Very Cool!

Tomorrow I'll head back up to Boquete where I'll spend the night with my new friend Louise. She will show me around Paradise Gardens (an animal rescue center) & we'll talk about upcoming trips with Panama Audubon Society (we both recently joined). On the way to Boquete, I'll stop in David where I'm picking up a hoard of Caribbean Organic Chocolate (very hard to come by, especially if you live outside of Panama) from its inventor (Nancy).

Have a good weekend & watch out for those flying stingrays!

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