Sunday, October 14, 2012

3 Men and a Dugout Canoe

Ok, ok, two ladies and one man and a dugout canoe.  In August I headed out to Bocas del Toro to do an in-service training making hand pumps out of PVC pipe.  Beforehand, Sarah and I visited our friend Erik and the next morning we set out to arrive at said training.

We strapped on our PFDs and hit the waters in Erik’s strappy lil’ dugout canoe, or cayuco, for what would be a rumored 3 to 12 hour paddle from La Ensenada to Playa Verde.  People’s guess-tamating skills had quite the range…  We were unsuccessful in finding a third paddle so we settled for 2 and a half.  As it turns out that was actually pretty ok because those suckers are heavy and I’m a weenie.  Not your standard Feather Brand canoe paddles… 

For reference, on the map of Panama, the star is where I live, and the arrow is pointing at the Kusapin Peninsula where 3 people in my group, including Erik, live.  You enter through the province of Bocas del Toro, but it's technically part of the Comarca Ngobe-Bugle - the reservation of the largest indigenous group in Panama.

This is a zoomed in map of the Kusapin Peninsula.  We started at the star on the right, La Ensenada, and paddled to the star on the left, Playa Verde.

We filled up the boat with the PVC pipes to make the hand pumps and an ornament tire that we ripped off of a boat dock the night before.  Don’t worry, we weren’t stealing, we traded for a tire with a rim that a nice woman gifted us the day before.  A tire that I rolled down the streets of Chiriqui Grande a midst a sea of stares to a different boat dock.  All in the name of moving water?!

We sang for the first hour until we pretty much exhausted our set lists, which reminded me of canoe trips down the Flambeau River in Wisconsin with my friend Samantha.  We hit up boy bands, Christmas, patriotic, some things only Erik knew which showed his age, and Disney songs.  I sing a lot, but if you’ve ever actually listened to the words I sing, you’ll quickly recognize that I might know half of a chorus, at best, which makes going through the songs I know a quick process.  But thanks to Leah Wright, I, yes me, know all of the words to “Part of that World” from the Little Mermaid.   Boom done! 

Around the middle of hour 3 we had rounded the tip of the peninsula and stopped at a gorgeous beach for lunch and a quick swim.  Not in that order of course… you can get cramps and drown. 

Then it was straight on to Playa Verde where our welcoming crew of Sean and Evan pulled that heavy bleepin’ canoe up onto shore.  Thank goodness because I could barely lift my arms much less a boat!  

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