Sunday, 27 May 2012

Bocas Town

Bocas is a throwback to how tourism use to be, quaint little boutique hotels, owner owned and operated restaurants, a melting pot of people from all around the world and all different walks of life. Compared to Jamaica and the towns of the Bahamas, we feel so much safer here in Bocas del Toro. In Jamaica we were getting yelled at by a guy in his back yard for not coming in, he was saying we were racist; the truth being we would never walk into a strangers home who wouldn't say why we should and was talking on his cell phone in one hand and had a 10" knife blade in the other. Back to Bocas, the locals are friendly, patient with our lack of Spanish, and not aggressive. We can walk freely around any part of town without the sense of imminent danger, the cabs even honk to let you know they are coming up behind you on the street. It has only been a few days, but it is obvious why people fall in love with this small island town.

We reacquainted ourselves with some fellow cruisers we had just quickly met at Port Antonio. They were leaving as we were arriving. They had an awful trip from Jamaica to Providencia (half way to Panama). They had bought bad gas at the marina resulting in motor problems, their steering broke, and a.vent in their catamaran was taking on water faster than the boat was pumping it out. They called a freighter who was going to raft up with them..... Probably not a good idea in big seas. Luckily a USCG vessel was out patrolling for.... Drug runners I guess. They we're happy to help an American vessel in distress, an the engineers finally had a reason to get off the boat. So in retrospect Jennie and I had a cake walk, but I think our boat choice had a lot to do with that. Now we are all at anchor nursing injured boats.

The shoulder is good, I have dislocated it many times, but it is always a struggle to put back in. Cudos to the staff at Bocas Del Toro Hospital, they were the most efficient and quickest of all my hospital visits for the same ailment previously. The service was excellent, and I was not treated with any more care than anyone else. I waited my turn just as if I was another patient. The problem with North American medical care is no need for all the fancy instruments, or law suits, or sales pitches; healthcare should want to help people first and foremost, and profiteering should not be involved. I sat their in my naivety wondering whether they could put my shoulder back in, as it is an odd dislocation. Then I remembered basic ailments have been dealt with for centuries with ease. I felt a bit of a fool, but realised our first world health care system is no better than the third world. Our practitioners are slower, they hide behind technology, and are afraid of being sued in their attempts to help. Social of private health care, it doesn't matter, ego is coming before patients, and that is a problem.

Back to Bocas Focus. From a cruisers point of view this place is a dream. The anchorage is free, the dinghy dock is free, plus there are many places that you can dinghy right up to, provisioning and entertainment is cheap, it is surrounded by marine parks, there are tons of activities, and a mini cruising ground. It's a place to get your boat back into shape, there are no out of water facilities, but there are plenty of hardware stores and the marina can order directly from westmarine (but it takes 4 to 6 weeks, which isn't so bad).

Last night we went into town to watch some of the festivities of African Caribbean week. It involved 45 minutes of mic checks and 10 minutes of drum beats, then back to yelling at us in spanish. Upon returning to the boat we were walking around the cabin with our headlamps and Jennie gives me a "Dave! What is this?" "God damnit! A Cockroach!" well those buggers are fast, we chased it around and it disappeared before we could kill it. Where it went we don't know, Cypraea does not have a lot of cracks to sneak into. I have to give cudos to Jennie, we have seen no signs of roaches on the boat, and she spotted it at night when they come out from hiding. We do everything possible to keep these buggers off the boat, no cardboard, bleach everything coming onto the boat (cans, produce, plastic). Let's say we were disappointed about our stowaway. We deployed ten or twenty roach traps, and will be off to get boric acid powder to coat all the flat surfaces. After some thought as to how the roach got on the boat, as we stay at anchor most of the time, and are diligent with what comes on the boat. We figured it must have come in on one of the government officials bags as the location it was found was where they put their bags. Well this cockroach now has to deal with the wrath of Jennie, it will not win.

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