Rambling Robert's Travels

This blog chronicals the travels of myself, Rambling Robert, on my next adventure to South America.

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I am a world traveller. I do not work as such. I have been homeless and unemployed since 1October 2003. I worked as a chef for 30 years in America.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Travel update from Isla Colon, Panama

Greetings to all!
I am on a little island in the Carribean Sea, About 10 km off the coast of Panama called Isla Colon, staying in a town called Boca de Torros. It is a nice little village, kind of a touristy hangout for scuba divers, snorkelers and people who just like relaxing on quiet little islands. To get here you take a water taxi from the mainland. From here I will probably go to Costa Rica which is only about 30 minutes away in a fast motor launch. I plan to transit Costa Rica quickly (about a week or 10 days...quick for me!)and then go to Nicaragua for a month or two. We shall see.
Today I spent the day on a quiet little beach called Boca del Drago (mouth of the dragon). I shared a taxi out there 15 km from the town, with 3 Israeli girls whom I met at the bus stop where we were gonna wait 45 minutes for the next bus. The bus was $1.50 and the taxi driver said he would take us for $2.00 each and so off we went with Elvis the driver.
Beautiful drive to a beautiful beach. We hung out in the sun and swam and I walked for about and hour(in the one hour walk I only passed two other humans). I arrived at the next beach which was completely desserted. It is called Playa Estrellas del Mar (Starfish Beach). As one walks along tahis beach one sees dozens and dozens of large reddish-orange starfish in the crystal clear water. If you go out a little farther in the water there are literally hundreds of them of all sizes, hence the name of the beach. These are not surfers beachs. The water is very calm. There are like no waves. The water is warm and crystal clear. I mean CRYSTAL CLEAR.It is beautiful for swimming and I got quite a bit of sun today! Nothing but blue skys and no clouds. Elvis returned four hours later as per our agreement and took us back to town after a thoroughly enjoyable day of swimming and walking and sunbathing and talking. Just another shitty day in Paradise.
Yesterday was a lot like today except I was with a Panamanian man, a Spanish man and two Costa Rican women, cousins, Who run a nice little hostel here in town. We hung out on a muelle(pier) on our sarongs and sunbathed and took turns diving into the sea and drinking a rum called Panama Jack but it was cloudy all day yesterday. Today was even better than yesterday because the sky was blue and free of clouds and yesterday was great.
I will stay here for another week. I like it here and its cheap so why rush off? I got a deal on a bed in a shared room of $49.00 for 7 nights with free coffee in the morning and free use of the kitchen.
Before coming here I was in a place called David which is Panamas second biggest city. It is a nice city, not too crowded and not too urban. No tall buildings or anything. I stayed 5 days there. It is not a tourist city or a tourist destination spot. Just a place where Panamanians live and work. There is nothing to "do" there. It is a place to "be" not a place to "do" so I was just "being" in Panama. Yazza very nice and relaxing. Took a day trip from David to Boquette in the mountains where the weather is nice and cool. I went biking with a guy from Chicago named James. A crazy Vietnam vet. We rode bicycles and went swimming in a nice river near a waterfall near the side of the road.
I arrived in David after 3 days and 4 nights in Panama City. Nice city I went around it pretty extensively. Visited the "Old City" and went to Miraflores Lock, which is a part of the Panama canal. Saw an educational movie about the canal, how it works and how it was built. Checked out the canal museum and watched as a boat went threw the locks. Pretty cool. Okay so now I have been there and done that. Interesting but sort of ho-hum if you aren't an engineer.
My last update left off as I was about to leave Cartagena Colombia and take a boat here to Panama. The boat is called the Golden Eagle, captained by Peter Rippingale. No shit. I swear thats his real name. The Golden eagle is a beautiful 65foot Sloop (one big mast) built in 1989 in France. It is a Dynamique 62. It is an awesome boat!!
It cost one million dollars when it was new but Peter took it over from the rich Canadian owner who married a woman who hates the water. Peter got it for half a million. Peter has been at sea since he was 19. He is 45 now. This is the third boat he has owned. He has sailed all over the world.
There were 10 passengers on this "backpacker no-frills" cruise. We sailed and motored (the Golden Eagle boasts a 500hp V-8)for 36 hours at about 8 knots to the San Blas Islands. It rained for the first 30 hours or so and the seas were pretty rough. But as we approached San Blas Islands the weather cleared and we spent 3 glorious days and two nights in a tranquil lagoon and on the wonderful and un-spoiled San Blas Islands.
The islands have no electricity and no motor vehicles and no white people live there, only Kuna Indians. Peter provided us with snorkelling gear and all our meals. There was another chef on board for the cruise a guy named Christian from Spain. He and I cooked breakfasts for everyone and taught Peter how to boil water. Only kidding. The food was good and Peter, although he is certainly not a chef is a pretty good cook.
This was truly a highlight of my first 26 months as a traveler. If any of you ever get a chance to visit San Blas Islands...GO!!! It is what Paradise used to look like before it went commercial!!! The captains e-mail is "p_rippingale@yahoo.co.uk"
or "ZCNZ4@sailmail.com" He does private charters too, for those of you with the big dollars he will take you anywhere in the world, at the low low price of $10,000 per week american dollars for up to 8 people, including meals and drinks. He also does these no frills backpacker cruises from Panama to Colombia or Colombia to Panama via San Blas islands for $275.00 per person. A real bargain. Worth twice the price!!
So now here I am in an internet Cafe on Isla Colon off the Panama Coast. Loving life.
You guys are all up to date now on the last couple of weeks.
I am safe and sound and brown and losing weight again. My new bathing suit that I bought 4 months ago in Mantanitas Ecuador is starting to fall off me when I dive in the water!
Next update will be from Costa Rica in a couple of weeks. Feel free to write me back I love hearing from all and any of you!
Congratulations to Long Hair Larry and Wonderful Eileen on the upcoming birth of their first child!!!!
Peace out,
"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." -- T.S. Eliot


Anonymous Pelle said...

Great report. I have never heard of the backpacker cruise. Sounds fantastic.

Panama really has some amazing places and is much better value than the Caribbean.

2:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi! great story -- do you have any pictures of isla mame??

isla girl

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Lori said...

Great story, I have dreamed of taking off to Panama again after my visit in June of 2005. Many people like my self do not realize what adventures and history Panama truly holds. I dream to have the opprotunity to explore Panama once again, but for a much longer time than 1 week.

9:57 AM  

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