Nancy and Sam welcome you aboard Windfall, our 1977 Maple Leaf sailboat. Windfall is a center cockpit design, 42' length, 13.5' wide, and 40,000 lbs of cruising fun!

On August 7th, 2010 we set sail on our "No Itinerary" world cruise and enjoying the "Cruising Life" very much! It's a wonderful adventure!!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

It's Official...WE LIVE IN PANAMA !

     We've "Gone Native" and bought 7 1/2 acres on Bastimentos Island in the Caribbean! 
     We are in the Bocas del Toro Archipelago of Panama! 

Our view of Hospital Bight...across is Cayo Nancy (really!)
"Two Waters" (Dos Aguas)....Our new adventure!
Windfall at anchor in front of Two Waters
     We were talking to a realtor about what we would like (vs what we can afford) for a piece of property somewhere close to Bocas. Of course our "wish list" was extensive, out of this world dreams, and beyond any reasonable hope of ever finding the "right property." Our realtor, JB (a ex-Texan) said, "I've got goosebumps...I've got YOUR property, and the owner just called to ask what the property is worth! It's not even listed."
Hey Lady! You want to buy Bananas, Mangos, Limons, Coconuts?
     "Ok", we said, "Let's go check this out." We scheduled a trip with JB to nearby Bastimentos Island just minutes from the touristy town of Bocas.
     As we pulled up to the dock, we found there to be 2 hectars (about 5 acres), a good dock with 10' of water around in the small bay/cove, an unfinished house sitting HIGH upon the hillside, with a nice concrete walk way from the dock to the beginning of the hillside then a graveled path leads up to the house.
The lower part of the property...Note: Concrete walkway (The gardener cuts the grass with a machete)
Welcome to the Jungle!  Our backyard!
   The owner, who's husband works for Army Intelligence, has owned the property for 13 years and loves to garden. Apparently, if you work for Intelligence the Army doesn't want you to own property in foreign countries. Hmmmm. go figure!     The property has a caretaker, Ovidio (Oh-bee-dee-oh), who has lived and worked on the property for 7 years.

     We fell in love with the place and all the possibilities it may have in store.
     "Oh my, what a view from the house", Nancy exclaimed! The front view overlooks the small cove/bay (with a dock), "Hospital Bight" (a big bay), and across to "Cayo Nancy"(Nancy Island) - Hmmmm sounds like a set up...or maybe it's "meant to be!" Ha
     We knew we'd make an offer soon, but the property wasn't "listed"...or even for sale yet! The owner was only called JB to ask what the property would sell for.
     The next day as we entered the realtor's office JB said,"I've got some news..some good, some bad. The bad: There is a friend of the owner coming from Virginia to look at the property and he's been to Bocas many times before. The good news: There is MORE property than we thought."  
     Great, we both thought as we looked at each other, now it's out of our range...which is about $1  Dollar! Our hearts sank. JB was excited to tell us that the property NOW has 7 1/2 acres ..... Great.... Oh, and the family friend is due to arrive later this week....Great...just great...Oh, and the water frontage is not 300 feet wide but it's 412'wide!...Great...great...even better..... We both gulped, lowered our heads, and made our pitiful offer.
      As JB called the owner to say we've made an offer and we put money down on the property
     A large partial of land next to the property just sold for $1.2 Million...which has a lot of zero's beyond our price range!  No folks, property is not cheap in Bocas del Toro, there are many "gringo" houses are listed here in the Bocas area for big dollars.
     Within a day our "humble offering" was surprisingly accepted, the owner asked if the new owners would take good care of the property as she really loves to garden and didn't want the land to go to a developer. I told JB we're putting in a new city dump on the property! He just shook his head and laughed as Nancy gave me "The Look." ( I think you know what I mean).
     So, today we're motoring Windfall to the cove and dropping anchor, then walking the property, taking pictures, and exploring our newest Windfall Adventure. Plus, we're going to jump from the dock into the clear 82 degree water, snorkel around the cove, and view the beautiful nearby colorful corals.
     We even have a name for this beautiful land, "Two Waters" or "Dos Aguas" named for the fresh water stream and the ocean waters on the property. 
     From here, well...only time will tell, but there are a LOT of possibilities for the property, it's outstanding views, and it's beautiful location. Yes, it already has many bananas, coconuts, mango trees, Limons, etc...
The famous "Red Frogs" of Bastimento Island...which also come in Orange, Yellow, Green

Our backyard - Ginger flowers and Bananas
     Bastimentos Island ("Supply"in Spanish) is where in 1504 Christopher Columbus resupplied his ships with food and water before setting off on his 4th voyage....Even Chris liked it here! 
     Now, the island is a laid-back tourist destination with nearby world class surfing, marinas, beaches, snorkeling, diving, caves, horseback riding, and many beach-side hostels, villas, and cool little restaurants that offer the most delicious foods you've tasted! Plus, Bocas (town) is only 3.2 miles away - with an airport. Red Frog Marina & Resort. Red Frog Beach and Turtle Beach are just 3/4 mile away, with water taxis to take you anywhere you wish.
     You can look at the property on Google Earth at  9°20'16.23"N  82°11'32.32"W   It should put you on/near the red rooftop of the house.

   We met with Ovidio, the caretaker/gardener, who offered to show us the entire property line. With machetes in hand, off we went into the jungle, chopping our pathway, crossing streams, and following the survey notes to locate the property markers. Luckily, Ovidio had helped with the survey and knew where the corners and property lines lay, without his help we'd had a hard time finding the corners in that jungle!
Getting the GPS locations of the lines - Hey Ovidio! Wait for me!!

Nancy in our natural freshwater "pool"...... It's refreshing!

To walk off some sore leg muscles, Nancy and I took went to the Red Frog beach to check it out and see what's on the "other side." It's pretty cool! With only a couple beach-front bars, this is a very busy surfer/tourist area. Many surfers come to test waves and skill levels. Or, you can just relax on the deck with your sandy feet up and a cold beverage in hand.
Red Frog Beach - On the backside of "our" island (Bastimentos)

Ahhh...beachfront bar, cold beverage, and comfortable chair...Life is good!
Nancy likes this trail with all the pretty plants and flowers

      Our friend David visited from Portland and we were looking for another adventure. We were told how to find the trail that leads to secluded Turtle Beach. So, with water bottles and snorkel masks in hand, three gringos took to the trail.  
The "secret" trail to Turtle Beach
Sam on Turtle Beach
I saw this in a movie!
     With lush tropic islands just offshore and in the background we were treated to an absolutely wonderful 3/4 mile long beach that was all ours. 

 Turtle Beach - and nobody in sight
If you get lost on the trail....Well.....
     Nancy's neice Suzy and boyfriend Ray came aboard Wndfall to visit for a few days.We decided to try the Batimentos Bat Cave tour...and I have to say it was AWESOME! We had a great time, and even got pretty wet as we explored one of the largest caves in Panama...and only a couple miles past our property! FUN!
Ray and Suzy with our guide....Ray will never be the same!

"Panama Sam" going into the dark abyss

New professional spelunkers - Suzy & Ray
     After all our guests left, Nancy and I needed to finish the dock at the property, the end of it was not fully completed. This makes it much easier for Ovidio, Nancy, and I to get from the boats and onto the property. Ovidio stopped by after we had the lumber delivered and started nailing boards on the dock. He said he built the dock 6 years ago and glad to finally finish it! (Thanks Ovidio!)
     We had the pressure treated lumber delivered by a very large caycuco (hand carved from ONE TREE!) 

This is a BIG Caycuco !

Our first construction project for Two Waters !

    Yes, Nancy and I have a lot of work to do, but we also know this is only another chapter of our life's adventure.
When something is right, it falls right into place as the story goes, and for Nancy and I this is another "windfall" in our life. Hang in there with us, we'll be returning to the states for replenishing the bank kitty and to buy a LOT of lottery tickets!