Saturday, February 08, 2014

Last day on the Atlantic Coast..

[Kyle]The day before leaving for the canal we met once again with our agent, Roy, to go over the particulars of the transit and settle up our bill. He confirmed our advisor boarding time and backed that up to come up with the time we needed to be leaving the marina and the time he would arrive with lines, tires, and line handlers. The advisor is the canal official that is in charge of our boat for the canal passage. We were all ready to go.

We took the opportunity to have a “leisure day” and go for a really long, hot walk through the jungle to have a last look at all of the park’s animals. Since it was right in the heat of the day, we didn’t see much for a while. Once we got to where we almost needed a machete, Maryanne spotted an iguana on a distant branch. That was nice, because they are hard to find, but Maryanne has really been dying to see a sloth. We’ve talked to lots of other people say they practically had one as a mascot for a week, but we have never seen one. We’ve seen everything else, but no sloth.

Farewell to the animals of our local jungle!

We were consoling ourselves watching butterflies and leaf cutter ants when Maryanne finally found her sloth. Maybe I should be calling her Eagle Eye. Her sloth was just a ball of thick leaves in a faraway tree. We could see what looked like Yeti fur – maybe, but no features. After fifteen minutes of studying the thing through binoculars, I found a paw with long, curvy claws. Maryanne couldn’t find the claws, but by bushwhacking her way to a better vantage point, she found the adorable face. Sloth confirmed! How she saw that thing at first, I’ll never know. It was as if she had spotted the outline of a neighbor’s cat through the gaps between the leaves on a shrub four houses down.

Yep, that thing up there that looks like a coconut - it IS a sloth!

That made her all happy and smug for the rest of the day. In the same way she found a lone howler monkey sleeping almost motionless high up in a tree. Then we went to find the much more obvious capuchins and finished with a visit to a nesting colony of what I call Bubble Birds. Someone told me their proper name once, which I promptly forgot. Their calls are these adorable babbling brook noises, so they should really be called Bubble Birds.

We then invited our new friend with the truck over for dinner. Maryanne experimented on us with a practice run of the food she was going to feed the whole boatload during the transit. We both wanted seconds, so I think it was a success.

[Maryanne]I'm suddenly feeling anxious about having so many people aboard the boat. We have a 2 day transit schedule, which means we start mid afternoon on one day, transit the Gutan locks and then moor for the night, completing the remaining distance and locks the following day. This means I need 2 days of meals for 6 people, and accommodation for 3 adult male line handlers. We've rearranged things, pulled out or spare pillows and sheets, bowls and forks, etc... I think we can manage it. I am especially nervous about feeding all these people. While we have a good meal plan organized, we are not familiar with what Panamanians likes and dislikes are - so we are winging it a little with a bit of everything and options galore! We are advised that especially the official canal Agent needs a 'good meal' and if he doesn't get it there are scare stories that they he might simply go and order one to be delivered to the boat (that is a $400 boat ride each way for delivery!). No pressure here!

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