12/22/2007, Shelter Bay Marina
Walking around Shelter Bay Marina is interesting as we are out in the jungle . While hiking under the jungle canopy, we saw a family of qua-dies, a nickname for these cute rodent animals the size of a raccoon,with tails like a possum and a long pointed nose making them irresistible. Then we spotted many ,white face monkeys . A six foot boa stopped me in my tracks as he slowly made his way through the grass. A gigantic hawk peered from the royal palm tree top. Next high up was a couple of holler monkeys jumping from tree to tree. Many tadpoles live in the puddles on the road which never have a chance to dry up as it is raining on and off day and night. Trevor brought a family of the soon to be frogs home to observe and care for. Did I tell you about the tapir we saw a few nights ago and Ted saw 2 skinny-dogs which now turns out to possibly be 2 jaguars as Jerry also saw them the next day. Our neighbor has a pet toucan and sings beautifully in the morning. Watching the wild toucan's fly is funny as you see this giant colorful beak moving through the air before it disappears into the trees.
We have spent much time riding the marina bus into town for groceries and to file canal transit paper work. It is a 30 minute ride unless you are stopped at-the canal for a ship being transported into the lock by a mule which could add up to 1 hour waiting time. A mule is similar to a train engine and word is the cost of one is 1 million dollars . The cost of passage for a large container ship varies from 150 thousand dollars to 250 thousand dollars depending on size and load. Fortunately we will be considerable less. The average cost for a recreational vessel is seven hundred to fourteen hundred dollars.
Yesterday we received our Christmas blessing by over hearing a conversation on our way back from town. As a fellow cruiser is telling the horror tale of a friend being detained in Panama City for three days due to visa expiration we realized our visa's had expired. Mine and Trevor's were way over due since we arrived in October and never left!. As we arrived the marina Ted was on the phone immediately gathering the proper information as we gathered documents photos and passports . Calling Rudy our taxi driver for assistance we jumped in his cab to head back to town to the immigration office where the woman agent was determined not to help us as she was anxious to go home with the Christmas weekend approaching. Ted and I sat praying. Rudy's sweet talking a five dollar bill and prayer convinced this reluctant woman to process three gringos with the clock ticking to closing . We all rejoiced leaving the office it was friday afternoon.
I miss swimming the most while here at the marina. The cleanliness of the water is questionable as in all marinas for swimming that is. One benefit as to being here is I am not rushing around in a Christmas frantic . I made for the first time fruit and nut bread sharing with my neighbor just like Christmas at home. My Christmas cards are electronic and wether the satellite system sent them out or not is a mystery, internet service in C.A. is sporadic.
Today is a total rain day making happy trees, tad-poles, and my rain gear. Thank you Mary for my rain gear.....I wish you all a Merry Christmas and time to relax with loved ones and reflect on all that God has done yesterday , today and for the promise of tomorrow. I think I will go ride a bicycle in the rain and enjoy the world as it is in this very moment. Love gail