Today we arrived back in Colon aboard the mysterious Ferry Xpress from our trip to Colombia. The mystery comes from never knowing when the ferry will sail.
As we pulled into the port, a pilot came aboard to make sure the ferry found the right place to dock. Again, we had an enjoyable sea trip but would caution anyone considering using the Ferry Xpress to be very careful. Our experience, while good onboard, was very bad from a scheduling standpoint. Our round trip to Colombia batted a 100 % schedule failure, as sailings in both directions did not occur on the scheduled days.
Back at home, in Cerro Azul, we checked on our house construction. Progress seemed slow, although things were happening. Walls are pretty much up, the septic system has both tanks completed but the drainage area is still waiting for rock. The area under the front deck has been closed in and the workers have moved their sleeping area here to stay out of the wind.
Still to come are windows, doors and the roof, all under way on paper. Pricing and delivery are now both considerations as I return to Canada on 4 April while Andrea holds things together until the end of April. We have told the builder that work must stop when Andrea leaves, but we will permit the installation of windows, doors and the roof under Caterina’s supervision, with the proviso that if we are not satisfied with any of that work it will be addressed when we next return. This will allow us to secure the downstairs area and use it for storage of some of the stuff we are starting to accumulate. No finishing work will begin until we return next season.
Whenever I get frustrated with the progress of our house build, I have to remind myself that we have been at it only since mid-December, which is just coming up to four months. Numerous people have told us that our progress is spectacular compared to what normally happens when a house is built here.
Well, Alicia is still here and thanks to our screwed up schedule complements of Ferry Xpress, she has a couple of days here in Panama before she returns home. We decided to head out to Punta Chame, to enjoy some beach time and see the colorful kite surfer crowd tear up the ocean.
Punta Chame is a very small remote community at the tip of the Chame peninsula about one and a half hours drive west from Panama City. Once you turn south off the Inter American Highway, you travel on a well-paved two lane road through very lightly developed terrain. It reminds me of a mangrove marsh in some areas and in others the beachside dune areas, you see while driving the Florida coastline.
Punta Chame’s claim to fame is a kite surfing school called Nitro! Justin Bieber put it on the map last year by tearing up the place. The main activity here is kite surfing, which is a crazy person wearing a surfboard and harness connected to a large kite. To make this work, you need steady slightly less than hurricane strong winds and a large body of water so you will not crash into the other crazies doing the same thing. The result is fascinating! The higher the winds the more daring the stunts. Airborne somersaults and high-speed travel are common to see when the ocean is full of kite surfers. It is a great spectator sport.
We arrived just at lunch time so had some food at the small resort at the tip of the peninsula, followed by a stroll to the beach. The tide was out and there was not a kite to be seen. Apparently, when the wind is not blowing, nobody comes to the beach. Not a single person! We were told that the forecast was for the winds to return later in the afternoon… after we left.
With the tide out and the sun shining, the empty beach needed some people to walk on it so we took a stroll down past the fishing boats moored waiting for the next tide to cycle. Occasionally, we came upon a group of sea birds feeding at the water’s edge, who flew off out over the water, protesting the disturbance with varying calls.
We returned to the mountain for a spectacular sunset and a visit from our neighbours, the toucans who live in the tree behind the garage next door. We also had a visit from a honeycreeper, who took residence in the bush next to our pool area. This place, the land of endless sunsets, has such beauty in everything we see. I am going to miss it when I head back to the great white north.