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!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

the last vacationer leaves us....

Whew!...it's back to "normal" cruising life for us - or at least normal parked boat life - after yet another action-packed week with a visitor from the Northland. Between the boat being a construction zone and it being rainy season, we didn't manage to work in any sailing while she was here, but we did fit in some fun outings, and lots and lots of swimming. There were just enough sunny days to get out some, and enough drizzle to keep us from overheating.

What with Sarah being a zoo person, we had to work in a couple critter encounters. The highlight of the week - at least in our estimation - was a tour of a local cacao farm owned by two expat gringos. Not only was it an astonishingly beautiful place, but we got a full rainforest tour and cacao-growing and chocolate-processing lesson. And - major bonus! - we met a nine-month old ocelot. Yup, we pretty much wet our pants over this. The farm's owners resuced the soft, slinky little cat at the age of four months; prior to that, she had been kept in a small house without ever so much as setting foot on dirt or grass. Now, she runs free on the farm - and attacks visitors' kneecaps and ankles without warning. So it was one of those rare situations where we could meet a big cat, and actually go home feeling okay about someone having a "pet" ocelot. She's right at home in the jungles of Bocas.....

We also spent time inundating Sarah with boat facts, sailing lore, ocean tales, and more boat facts. The poor girl learned more than she ever wanted to know about boats and sailing, but she took it well. On Saturday, in a token attempt to get some work done, we packed her off on a field trip with a couple of the neighbors - to a meeting for, of all things, the Bocas Garden Club. She was whisked away to another islands and fed drinks in coconuts, all while learning about tropical plants. She was amazed, as we often are, to see house-sized wild representatives of plants that we struggle to grow in a pot or windowbox back home.

Okay, enough about other stuff, back to the ocelot. Seriously though, it was amazing. Plus, it made us happy to start doing things off the beaten tourist track here in Bocas - to get to know some locals (both the gringo and Panamanian kind) and go on outings that aren't advertised on sidewalk sandwich boards in Bocas town.

Thanks Sarah, for getting us out of the boat!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

was this at the caribbean chocolate factory in bocas? Those little cigar-like chocolate bars were a big hit with Duluthians- must have somethin in 'em that we're just not gettin' up here.

Ute said...

no, actually it was a different place! i still don't know where the CCF bars are made exactly....well it's in bocas but I dunno where.
if we get more visitors, I'll send them home with some ocelot farm chocolate for you...it is INSANE....duluth might not even be ready for it....

JKB said...

SF is ready for it!! I want Ocelot chocolate! How freaking cool to see how cacao is grown and processed - that is such the kind of thing I love. Are you going to start going to visit the ocelot now? I can't believe you met a huge cat!