Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Tragedy That Could Have Been Prevented

As you might have gathered from my last blog, I was pretty impressed with Pacific Bay Resort. So I returned a week later with friend Paul from WA. Frank was the perfect host, and we had a great time watching birds (got to see nesting Crested Oropendola this time), monkeys and an anteater! Plus I ran into a friend named Eric who I hadn't seen since 2004 in Anchorage... small world! The last night we were there (right before dinner), Frank was frantically driving the road (in a golf cart) down to the dock. He muttered, "It's a tragedy. The boat sank and a baby drowned." It turned out that at 9:00 a.m. that morning, 11 Panamanian friends/families loaded into a marginal fishing boat for a day of fun and recreation. Around 10:00 a.m., the seas got too rough and they capsized. They had no life jackets and none of them could swim. It's a wonder that only 3 died (2 small children and their 39 year old aunt). The youngest child (less than 2 years old) washed up on Frank's property. Very sad. Frank will probably never get over seeing that dead baby. I'm thinking of starting some sort of Panamanian Foundation that would teach boaters about the importance of wearing life jackets. On a lighter subject, I'll be away from my blog until April 13 when I return from WA (where I'll be visiting my mother). As a parting shot, I've attached a picture and video of Leslie Koleda (from Olympia WA) riding in the ocean at Pacific Bay Resort.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Pacific Bay Resort

I've been hearing about Pacific Bay Resort (& Frank who runs it), so I tried it out for 3 nights last week. What a find! Shush... don't tell anyone! For $50/pp per night you get a nice casa overlooking the Pacific Ocean (the view is equal to the more expensive $1,000/night view from Islas Secas), 3 gourmet meals prepared by Frank who owns 3 restaurants in Boston, plus all the kayaking, horseback riding, monkey watching, birding and sea turtle experiences you could ever want in Panama. I will return! In fact I'm thinking of renting out my condo for a fortune while I rent a small casa at Frank's! Of course, I'll have to teach him the art of Vegan Cooking! It's worth your while to check out this place before it gets overrun (only a matter of time after the most recent write-up from the Moon Panama book). Where else can you listen to howler monkeys howl while you are sleeping?

A Cabin in Volcan Baru National Park

I know, I know! It's been nearly a month since I last wrote. As usual, I'm just having too much fun! My latest adventure was taking my 4WD love truck up the side of Volcan Baru in order to stay at the Peterson family cabin for 3 nights. You see, Luisa "won" a week at the Boquete Auction in December. So I split the week with her. Carol & I spent our days birding (my favorites were Flame-colored Tanagers, White-winged Tanagers, Slate-throated Redstarts, and the Black-and-white Warbler), watching the ever-changing gorgeous view (notice the pictures), and hiking. We spent our nights (after we went to bed at 8:00 p.m.) watching the stars and fireflies. I had no idea fireflies hung out in such high (5,700 feet) locations. When we returned to Boquete, we made the mistake of having lunch at Finca Lerida (located on the road to the Quetzal Trail that is now washed out from the November flooding). We heard the Three-Wattled Bellbird on the way into the restaurant & we could barely concentrate on lunch after that. We ended up spending the night so we could take a birdwalk in the morning. After lunch, we actually saw a Bellbird "singing". What a find! And in the morning, I saw a female Quetzal fly overhead and a whole tree-load of Trogons (Orange-bellied and Black-throated). On to the next adventure!