We’re back in Bocas Town for some internet access and a few days’ change of scene after a week out at Punta Laurel. I just uploaded sixty photos from the trip (here’s a slide show). If I had to pick three favourites, they would be:
Punta Laurel is essentially a series of thatched huts connected by walkways, built around a big rock and above a coral reef. It’s designed for groups of up to about ten people, but we’re the only people here.
It’s a bit like camp. Things are kind of rustic–there’s a generator for lights in the evening and recharging our laptops, a composting toilet and an outdoor rainwater shower. There are simple activities–swimming, snorkeling, reading, sleeping like a teenager. And somebody cooks for us. Two local women come over in a little boat from the nearest island. The food is simple–fish, lobster, shrimp, lots of rice and fresh fruit–but very satisfactory.
The weather here is as changeable as I’ve ever seen anywhere. The sun shines, it rains, the wind whips up, the sun shines, all in the matter of an hour. It’s been mostly bright, with occasional intense showers.
Muchos Flora y Fauna
It’s a joy to be surrounded by so much wildlife. I spotted my first ever moray eel (I mean, aside from the local aquarium) while snorkeling the other day. I was floating about three feet above some coral, and he unfolded out of a crevice. He rose toward me, all freckled and the bright green of an under-ripe tomato.
I’m man enough to admit that I panicked a little. His snout was easily as big as a small terrier’s. There was no doubt about who was the resident and who was the interloper. He stopped after a foot or so, though, no doubt intimidated by my manic thrashing. I’ve returned to his nook on several occasions to observe the eel, but I’ve kept a little more distance.
I’ve seen dozens of other species of fish whose names I don’t know. Big schools of them. I also saw bioluminescent algae for the first time in my life. Little clouds of it floated by one evening, looking rather like (I searched for a more decorous metaphor) irradiated semen.
There are also flocks of seabirds who regularly circle our little island. Pelicans skim over the waves, frigatebirds wheeling overhead, big white egrets fish off the rocks and little terns spend their evenings perched on the dock. We also saw a harpy eagle, Panama’s national bird.
We’re headed to a different, waterborne resort for a couple of days, and then back to Punta Laurel for another five or six days. On Boxing Day it’s back to Bocas Town, then back to Panama City the next day. We’re going to explore Panama’s capital for a few days before it’s on to Manhattan for New Year’s, and back home in the first days of 2009.