welcome to our blog!

This blog tells the story of our 22-month sailing journey from Oakland, California, to Bristol, Rhode Island, aboard our beloved Bristol 32 sailboat, Ute. Please feel free to browse through the archives (partway down the sidebar to your left) to see pics and read stories of our adventures in North America and Central America . (Sorry the first 3 months of the trip are missing - they vanished somewhere in an internet cafe in Mexico - but all you're missing is CA, Baja and Western Mex).

If you're trying to track us down now that we're landlubbers, try us at uteatlarge at yahoo dot com. Thanks!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Funny Monkeys

Wanna see what happens when Craig met these Funny Monkeys? Have a gander at these.


Funny Monkeys.

(Cora needs to make the following disclaimer: at no point did we intend to feed the monkeys. The "I don't have any monkey food" comment was just me absentmindedly trying to deter the monkeys from harassing us. We had just landed on the beach and I had just given my cohorts a stern lecture about how if we left the wildlife alone, they would mind their own business. guess not. turns out these had been pet monkeys at some point. Since I reamed out one of our traveling companions in Costa Rica for wanting to feed the monkeys, I didn't want there to be any confusion on this point! Needless to say Craig will not be taking my advice about wildlife for while.)


laura said...

those tails are just awesome...

and I've got a lot of reading to do to catch up! things are nutty here, quitting my old job & starting to get ready for the new in August (Sonoma State!!!) -- now that I'm unemployed, hopefully can keep up with your adventures better!

Craig said...

OK, Cora asked for the extended dance mix version of what happened at Bad Monkey Beach, so here goes. When Allen and I rowed the inflatable kayak out to Ute for my first time, she was lying a few hundred yards off shore from the mainland, but much closer to Isla Linton. Cora told us the owner didn’t mind if you visited the island. Evvy and Cora made some remarks about how that island looks fun to explore, but then again “what tropical Caribbean island in Panama wouldn’t be fun?”

In retrospect, this was obvious cosmic foreshadowing for the dark adventure to come. It took us a few days of hanging out, making treks on land and to the more distant Isla Grande before we actually got around to rowing the dingy over to Isla Linton. As it was, we had just passed beer :30 rather late in the afternoon. We had made a trip to buy supplies, including cold beer from the open air bar in town, each of the four of us had just opened a cold one (which in that heat is saying something!) and we piled into the dingy.

Not knowing what to expect, we landed on the nearby beach, curious and relaxed. Soon after landing, we figured out that the building you can see in the video is part of Florida State University research facility. Standing in front of it, we saw a spider monkey sitting on top of it, lazily looking down at us, rolling around a little. We all remarked on the monkey – “Hey Evvy, here’s a monkey already, and we just got here” “He’s seen people here before” “Here come two of his friends.”

That’s where Cora’s video picks up the scene. Cora and Evvy were on the beach, close to the dingy. Allen and I were standing closer to the research building. As I watched the 2 Bad Monkeys approach, they were obviously acting “funny” as Cora said, but it was pretty clear they were aggressive. As you can see, they were standing up, tails in the air, showing their teeth, coming right for me. I’ve never encountered a monkey outside a zoo before, but I treated them like a stray dog or sharks that I have gone swimming with. Don’t show fear, don’t be aggressive, just stand your ground, and like Cora said “don’t interact with them.”

Well obviously the monkeys were ready to interact with me. Honestly, at about 2 feet tall and 20 lbs, these monkeys inspire more smirks than fear. When they approached, I was ready to talk to them and say, “I don’t have any monkey chow.” That’s when I realized I was in a monkey fight! In the video you can see what I didn’t see. As Allen pointed out the monkey closer to the camera walks on all fours, avoiding attention, until my vision is blocked by the palm tree, then he stands up. Most telling to me is that monkey’s body language as soon as he gets behind me, he prepares for the strike in complete concert with Bad Monkey #1. You can see Allen’s feet running away in the last frames, and you can hear him saying “ah ah ah” just before the monkeys start yelling with a similar sound.

Cora ended the video, wisely moving herself into the water, taking shelter. I think she had a mix of not wanting to stand there and record her friend being attacked, while also running for her life. Obviously the monkeys tried to grab me, but they didn’t get their paws around me. I gave half a thought to hitting the monkey (hey, I had a beer bottle), but really decided not to have a monkey fight. I ran towards the water, thinking they won’t go in the water, luckily I was right. My flip flop broke, I stumbled, ran into a baby palm tree but quickly made it in water, with only monkey scratches, no bites. No sooner had I made it to the water, then the monkeys began taking the dingy, and Allen was starting to take it back. I made for the dingy, but Allen got it in the water before the monkeys could get it.

As I looked around, Evvy was in the water up to her waist, about ready to swim away, and Cora was moving to deeper water too. I walked back and got my flip flop before the monkeys could take it too. We rowed away, talked about the attack, and drank our beer in the dingy. I was happy to have no bites, and avoid a lengthy rabies series the doctor warned me about. Allen rowed and made a short tour of the island from water. After the attack, Evvy kept a sharp lookout with the binoculars for other visitors to Isla Linton. She saw some men land with machetes, and we heard some yelling. We figure the monkeys harass people with machetes, but they understand they will lose any confrontation with such a person, and they keep their distance.

Finally, in the first video Cora can be heard saying “those monkeys are funny.” From that time on, if Cora saw a “funny” butterfly, or “funny” puppy, or sloth, or bird, or any animal, the rest of crew would quickly look to me and tell me to be careful. Funny trip to Panama.

Lightstation said...

Of course, they really just wanted your nice cold beer. Do you know how long those poor little monkeys were sitting on that hot little island waiting for a dingy full of ice cold beer to show up? Then you told them you weren't going to give them any treats, so of course they had to take you down. Lesson learned.

Jeff/Liz/Paulina/Abby said...

Makes the raccoons in New Jersey look tame.