The (Fish) Empire Strikes Back!

The days are getting warmer and warmer here on this little island in the Caribbean Sea and on days with no breeze Tate can only cool himself down by a swim in the blue green waters that surround the boat. This is one of the main reasons he likes spearfishing so much. Not only is it great exercise and feeds us VERY well it cools him, who is naturally very hot natured, down and makes him more comfortable in the evenings. Day after day he goes into the water for up to 4 hours at a time…bringing home a good amount of fish for dinner and the freezer. We should have known however that these days of prosper wouldn’t last. Under the surface something was brewing, a revolt of sorts from the fish he constantly hunts. They had finally had enough and rallied together to put an end to Tate’s reign of terror.

If you have a weak stomach turn back now for what awaits are uncensored details and photos of the carnage.

After being in Providencia’s anchorage for two weeks all alone we awoke one morning to find company by the name of S/V Seawolf. Aboard were You Tube Vloggers Captain Dominic (Dom), his beautiful first mate (and 6 month pregnant wife) Sarah and their wolf like canine “Bear”. Seeing how they were in their late 20’s and had a cruising story similar to ours we became fast friends. During the week we shared the anchorage we showed them our favorite haunts on land and also in the sea. Dom is a bow and arrow deer hunter back home in Philadelphia, PA so it was only natural for him to gravitate to spearfishing.
Dom, Sarah and Bear

After giving it a go with Tate’s “starter” gun he was hooked and wanted to upgrade his Hawaiian Sling for something with a little more OOMPH. While Providencia is beautiful and the sea is plentiful the land doesn’t have many shops in which to buy things. It’s NOTHING like back home or even in Mexico. Luckily we kept in touch (via WhatsApp) with the owner, David, of the Beuchat store 50 miles away in San Andres, CO and I was able to negotiate a deal over text (Spanish only…I <3 Google Translate app) for Dom's new speargun. Tate and I also ordered some lead dive weights at half the cost they are sold for in the US and everything was sent by avion (plane) the next day. No tax and shipping is always free. David ROCKS!

This day was particularly hot. Still and sunny the excitement was at an all time high on the dinghy ride back to the boat. Just like when Tate got his new speargun, Dom just HAD to get in the water RIGHT AWAY and in ten minutes flat both guys had departed and taken to the sea. They spent all afternoon fishing for lobsters and Snappers and many hours later came by to show off their catch. It was an impressive one and plans were made for dinner as Tate grabbed his filet knife from our boat and went with Dom to clean the fish on the spacious dinghy behind S/V Seawolf.
Tate and Dom Aboard seawolf

Spirits were high as both men cleaned their fish until just when they were finished an unsettling hissing noise came up from the 10′ inflatable. “I think it’s leaking!” Dom said. Sarah got some dish soap and the men rubbed the dinghy down hoping to spot the air leak before the sun went down. As Tate as washing down the front side his right hand slipped on the soap and accidentally landed right on the tip of his very sharp and partially hidden filet knife near the seat.

In an instant his pinky went numb and blood was EVERYWHERE. It was like a scene out of a horror movie with blood squirting out and bloody hand prints contrasting on the white hypalon. Quick to react Tate applied pressure to the wound just under his pinky finger on his palm and was able to stop most of the bleeding. The knife had just been used to clean fish so the puncture wound was no doubt full of who knows what from the fish and the saltwater. Aboard Seawolf his hand was washed thoroughly first with soap, then with hydrogen peroxide and finally with alcohol before being bandaged with Neosporin.

Upon Tate’s arrival back to our boat I could tell something wasn’t right. He explained in detail what had happened and proceeded to show me the wound. It was pretty gruesome, essentially a stab wound roughly an inch deep that went sort of diagonally at 45 degrees into the hand, luckily not straight into the deep parts of his hand. The knife hadn’t hit bone but his pinky was numb and tingling, however not completely numb. Pieces of (ICK!) stringy meat like substance were hanging out of the opening. After he had fully dried from his hours in the sea I bandaged him up again and off to bed he went. The next day we took a look again at his hand.
Filet injury

He didn’t know exactly how deep the knife had gone and I could only see about 1/2″ of the way inside so we took out our spare filet knife and estimated the depth based on the incision size. It appears the knife had to have gone in 3/4″ to 1 1/4″. Quite Deep.
Rapalla filet knife

On the third day of changing the dressing the wound was looking much better, though he had to painfully push pieces of meat back inside the cut to aid the healing.
Tate's filet injury

Since all of the circumstances regarding this accident were about as bad as they could get (saltwater and a dirty filet knife) he decided it would be prudent to start a round of antibiotics. While we have about 60 Cipro pills onboard we checked with the pharmacy on shore and found, unbelievably to me, that you could just walk in, without a doctor’s visit or prescription and buy 10 Ciprofloxania pills for 5,000 Colombian pesos, or roughly $1.66 USD. We bought 20 not wanting to deplete our stores too much since we are headed to the San Blas for many months after here.
Ciprofloxania

We debated for some time on what to do about this injury. Should he go to the hospital onshore and have it looked it or should we just treat it at home and save the money and hassle (and possible secondary infection) of going to a hospital. He decided to treat it at home, not feeling like the hospital could do anything more for it than he could do here onboard. Tate is extensively trained in first aid dating back to his time as a Boyscout, later as an Eagle Scout and in practice as a guide on the Nantahala and Acoe Rivers and the Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico. So for now as long as it’s not infected and is healing nicely he will baby it at home.

Stitches or superglue with a puncture this deep is risky as an infection could brew from deep within so he’s letting it heal from the inside out and daily changes his dressings which consist of a bandaid with neosporin, medical tape on top of that and an Ace bandage around his hand to prevent anything from getting underneath. He isn’t using his hand at all to give the area the maximum ability to recoup. After the inside mends up nicely he may superglue the exterior to keep any bacteria from entering. A needle prick on the pinky finger tip shows that no major nerve damage was done but the finger is still tingling and numb so there might be some peripheral nerve damage, that can and hopefully will heal.

Coincidentally this is the SECOND time we were gearing up to leave a place (Isla Mujeres and my kidney infection) when some malady has befallen the good ship Sundowner. We have enjoyed our time here very much and are finally ready to set sail for the San Blas. In fact we were thinking we’d leave this weekend, however now we can’t. We have to wait on the progress of healing as sailing is a very hand intensive activity not to mention salty with all of the ropes, tiller steering and anchor raising. Our Visa here is up in five days and we are still hoping to check out then and set sail for Panama next weekend at the latest.

In the meantime Tate can no longer spearfish. Did the fish conspire to put an end to Tate’s hay days? Perhaps they were the cause of the mysterious air leak or through some kind of Caribbean voodoo caused the unhappy fate. Whatever the cause we’ll never know for sure, but for now and perhaps forever the fish of Providencia will be safe from Tate the Impaler.

Providencia fishermen
Full Moon over Providencia

Propane and its problems.

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I tell ya what…

Aboard Sundowner we carry two propane tanks. Each is 17lbs and each will last us about 2.5-3.5 months depending on how carefully we husband its use.

So far we’ve refilled one tank in Cuba and one tank in Mexico. We expected to refill a tank here on the island of La Providencia. But alas… Not all worked out.

Before we left Mexico we had started using the propane bottle filled in Cuba. Although it was really odd. The stove made a strange hissing sound. The color of the flame was a little off. The odor wasn’t quite right. The dear only knows what the Cubans actually pumped into our bottle but I’m convinced it probably isn’t “propane”. It might be butane or something of the sort.

Well when we got to the island, the same day, the stove just quit. The system wasn’t stopped up but no gas… The tank was still mostly full. The fiberglass tanks I have let me see the actual level inside and it still had at least a half tank, maybe more. So I switched tanks and we took the bottle to try and have it purged and filled. No dice. On the island here they only exchange bottles that are shipped to and from San Andreas. So here we are stuck in paradise with exactly one working bottle… And of course we’re the type to park it for months at a time.

Now it wouldn’t have been so bad if Dani and I had not gone on a mad cooking spree in the beginning. Dani baked bread for many people which uses the oven and a lot of propane. I made roux and gumbos and cooked for people. That takes hours on the stove. Tick tock, how long until we run out. Eventually the situation dawned on us when we decided we loved this place and would be sticking it out for quite some time. We were in danger of running out!

Since then the cooking has been miserly. We eat sushi which helps but still and all, we do cook. And rarely eat ashore. There is a kettle of water boiled daily for coffee, tea, and washing, etc. We started using the pressure cooker for everything. We tried to make it last. But this morning, Dani handed me a tepid cup of some fluid said to be coffee and with a guilty look confessed, “The day has come, the propane is empty.”

Now… I had some backup plans. I could buy one of the island propane bottles and connect it to a cheap one burner stove, but I was still gravely unsatisfied by my mostly full Cuban flame juice sitting there mocking me. I researched the problem. Back when SV Tango was here I spoke to Steve about the perplexing problems. And thus began my education on OPD valves.

TECHNICAL: OPD valves (Overfill Protection Device) are standard on all modern tanks and they are not the same as the old ones. In fact the modern valves actually serve four different functions at once. One interesting function is that they shut down when too much flow leaves the bottle at once!

So armed with this and a great hope we might have turned on too much gas at once… I reinstalled ole Cuba fuego. Now. The trick was to open the wheel valve very very slowly. If you just twist it right open the valve shut down and you have to take out the fitting and start all over. But by very slowly twisting the valve open I heard the distinctive WOOSH and the pressure gauge shot up. Viola. We have stinky Cuban fire on the stove again.

I made Dani make a new cup of coffee to be sure its all working. It is. And so we’ll hopefully be able to make it to San Blas for our scheduled refill.

As a scary side note… I thought of getting one of the bottles here then manually purging and gravity filling our bottle. I would NEVER recommend this as it is a seriously dangerous en devour. But lack of coffee will drive a man to do strange things. Luckily I didn’t have to resort to it.

And all you commenters out there… I know the dangers involved, I did a great deal of grave research before contemplating the attempt. I have enough “old women” in my life giving me flack about spear fishing dangers these days so please go easy on your ole pal Tate? Thanks.

Raw

Slowly we ventured into uncharted waters. We pulled up anchor and sailed head first into the unknown, and boy did it taste good! Raw fish that is, or sushi, shashimi, nigiri or any other fun word you want to use to describe the fresh thinly sliced raw delicacy. I’m embarrassed to say we’ve been catching fish regularly for almost two months now and we are JUST starting to eat it raw. It’s a shame really, all this time wasted on cooking fish when at our fingertips has been the most delicious and freshest meat morsels we’ve ever had. There’s not a moment more to waste. If you still haven’t tried that fish you just caught raw, NOW IS THE TIME. Do not be afraid, it could be life altering.
Dani Snorkeling in Providencia

Of course I don’t just mean any old fish. Trust me that blue striped grunt (have you even heard of one?) isn’t going to taste very good but many, many others will. Varieties of Tuna, Snapper, Mackerel, Salmon, Bluefish, Striped Jacks, Sea Bass and Halibut (among others) make it onto the list of “Sushi Grade” fish and onto your plate at very expensive restaurants. Unless of course you live on a boat with a spearfishing maniac of a husband. My luck is the latter and how lucky I am. I can only speak on the fish we commonly catch here-shown below, Snappers (yellow tail, schoolmaster, red), Mackerels (cero) and Striped Jacks (blue).
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Since I’m already making your mouth water imagining a delicately firm and very fresh piece of Mackerel atop perfectly flavored sushi rice I feel the need to add a disclaimer. Before you eat absolutely anything raw you need to do the research yourself online and get familiar with the proper care and handling of raw seafood. Make sure you know the area you are fishing and the risks of “Ciguatera”. Read about the condition “Anisakisis” (a whopping 10 cases reported last year in the U.S.!) and understand the risks of consuming raw products. We are fully informed and choose to “live dangerously” and partake of the gifts from the sea.

Long before we left our land based life Tate commented on how nice it would be to eat some of our freshly caught fish raw. I thought he was mainly talking about landing a possible Tuna of the boat during a passage and I briefly imagined having as much shashimi as my heart could desire but really couldn’t wrap my head around the idea. I was low and beaten down by my $100 dollar sushi dinners that always left me wanting more fish. The idea that I could eat myself silly just didn’t register and the planning for sushi faded away. However now that has changed.

You see where we come from food is EVERYTHING. Drinks are a very close second but food is number one. The better the food the happier we are in life. All major (and minor) events revolve around eating and so much of our life has been spent planning and preparing to cook…and eat. The tasting, tweaking, smelling and eventual eating is the mainstay to any Louisiana (Ahem, South Louisiana) household. So it’s no surprise that as Tate and I travel and improve our cooking aboard Sundowner our happiness also improves.
Tate Spearfishing for Sushi

Our trip aboard the sushi boat started one evening when Nike and Matthieu (White Spot Pirates) came over after a day of spearfishing to have dinner. To my great surprise she had prepared sushi rolls, the first I’ve had since leaving land. I was mesmerized. Rice, seaweed AND veggies rolled together with Snapper and Blue Striped Jack. She even had wasabi and soy sauce to boot! It was SUPERB. Honestly the taste of the fish was better than at any restaurant I’ve ever been to and I’ve been to a lot of good ones.
Sushi with White spot Pirates

How could this be? Wasn’t sushi some complex deal that required a lot of effort and know how to do correctly? You mean I could do this? I soon learned that I could. Since that fateful night our taste for sushi has grown. While fresh raw fish by itself is tasty it’s nice to add veggies to your liking. The grocery stores here are often stocked very well with fruits and vegetables, though not usually at the same store. I went to four different stores, all walking distance, to gather up this heap.
Veggies for sushi

It seems like the same core ingredients are used in a variety of sushi dishes. Cucumber, carrot, bell pepper, avocado and mild cheeses. To cut the actual sushi you need to filet and debone the fish. I also cut out the blood line and wash in fresh water. Next put the filet on a cutting board so it is horizontal to you. Then take a very sharp knife and cut vertically, against the “grain” and make 1/4″ slices. You can angle the knife 45 degrees if you wish to add a bit of angle and complexity to the piece. And WALLA ;), you are done. Feel free to give the fish a little taste as you cut it. Never trust a cook who doesn’t taste his food.
Sushi Veggies all cut up

If you prefer you can eat the fish alone or just with the veggies but we like to add rice, sushi rice that is. No it isn’t some special bag you pick up in the store, though you can. You can make “sushi rice” from regular white rice. I found a recipe I like which is as follows:

Sushi Rice Recipe

  1. Wash the rice until the water is clear (optional though I think the rice tasted better). I let the rice sit in water just above it before straining and repeating about five times. Skip this is you are low on water. I you are at home you can run the faucet over the rice for a couple of minutes until the water runs clear.
  2. Add water to rice in a 1.15:1 ratio (1.15 cups water to 1 cup rice) and cook uncovered on high heat. Stir the rice (with wood or plastic) every minute or two until the water boils and then cover the pot and lower the heat. After 6-8 mins if there is no more water to be seen it’s probably done. The recipe calls to transplant the rice to another container but we just leave it in the pot uncovered, gently stirring occasionally to release heat.
  3. In a separate sauce pot heat 1/4 cup white wine vinegar, 1 tbsp sugar and 1 tsp salt until all the solids dissolve. Let cool. The recipe calls for double these ingredients using rice wine vinegar. Since rice wine vinegar is hard to come by where we are we used white wine vinegar and reduced the recipe since it’s a stronger tasting vinegar.
  4. Slowly pour and stir the vinegar mixture into the rice. That’s it, you are officially a sushi rice cooker!

Unfortunately we don’t have seaweed and aren’t good enough yet to make sushi rolls that don’t fall apart with just rice, though I’ve read you can with sticky rice, plastic wrap and a towel (Google it). Instead we just put everything in a bowl and add a bit of soy sauce and mayo with Tabasco. It is heaven I tell you pure heaven.
Sushi Bowls

The Snappers are milder with a softer and more delicate texture while the Ceros and Bluestriped Jacks have a slightly stronger flavor with a nice firm meat. I think I prefer the Jack to the Snapper for sushi, but the other way around for cooking.

Now go, go forth and eat raw you fish loving friends of mine.

I’m so happy we “discovered” the joys of making boat sushi now because I have years to try different varieties around the world. Tate however, while very much enjoys sushi, prefers cooked Grouper over any other kind of fish. Lucky for us he got a Nassau Grouper today, supposedly the best of them all. We are about to find out!

Typical afternoon when not spearfishing
Tate playing Scrabble

Another sun sets on our beautiful and wonderful life here.
Sunset in Providencia

The Internet while traveling

I still remember hour after agonizing hour spent thinking and shopping for anything we could possibly need for this trip. Back when we were still on land with unlimited internet and easy shipping (looking at you Amazon Prime <3) I spent roughly two years planning, making lists and thinking hard about what to bring. While we set ourselves up pretty good we certainly fell short in a few areas. One of these is internet access. Blinded by our unlimited Sprint data plans we didn't really give much thought to how we would access the internet while traveling around the world aside from free Wifi spots.

We had heard of this “Sim Card internet” on numerous travel blogs and just assumed our current phones would be able to do whatever was needed to access the interwebs. WRONG. Come to find out…far away on the island of Providencia, Colombia we didn’t have any device on board that could use a Sim Card to access the internet. FAIL. Our phones were completely and totally locked meaning there is no place to even put a Sim Card.

Technical Stuff

For Fun Stuff click here or scroll to the bottom.

If this is sounding like some kind of voodoo to you, you aren’t alone. In the States with your cellular plan you get a certain number of minutes and data to use during the month. Most people get new phones through certain providers (Sprint, AT&T, Verison) and have yearly contracts that are paid monthly. If you pay every month then WALLA, you have internet and can make calls.

While traveling abroad however most areas offer the ability to purchase a Sim Card through the local cellular provider and buy minutes/data as you go. A few new US providers in the last five years have been doing this but I’ve never met anyone with this type of plan. This is all new to us. But here’s the catch. You need an UNLOCKED device that can read any Sim Card to access the cellular network. Preferably you want a Sim Card reader that will work all over the world with the various network providers like “Moviestar” in Colombia, “Digicel” in Panama, and “Tigo”, “Telcel” etc. Devices that will work include unlocked phones, tablets, wireless mobile hotspot devices (WMHD) and similarly USB Wifi dongles.

We had none of the above. Since there is no local Wifi, like in Key West and Isla Mujeres we had absolutely no way to connect to the internet to browse cute dog photos and post blogs like this one. Not only did we not have a device, we can’t buy anything like that here. Sigh. When we brought our phones to the internet store the lady must have taken pity on our sad faces when we discovered they were locked because she let us borrow a her personal WMHD for the time we are here. Weren’t we some lucky fools? The WMHD works like a modem. You put a Sim Card in the back, turn her on and then BAM, you have a Wifi hotspot that anyone in the vicinity can use.

Since we have to give this device back when we leave (scouts honor) we went ahead and ordered the nifty and highly rated Novatel Mifi Global 2 device which is sitting at my sister’s house waiting to be mailed. This WMHD has a battery that can last half a day and can connect up to ten devices at once. It tracks the data usage on the readable screen and also has a micro SD slot that give any device wirelessly connected access to the contents. Really cool! It works around the world, easy peasy.
Mifi Global hotspot2

A cheaper (about twice the cost as shown on Amazon) and more frustrating option would be a USB Sim Card Dongle that you have to put in a computer or USB accepting tablet. Once connected to the internet the computer or tablet can then be made into a hotspot that other devices can connect to. The Mifi option is definitely preferable to us for a number of reasons.
USB Dongle Sim Card Reader

This brings us to the second topic, Data Hoarding. We’ve now been in Providencia for two months (tomorrow) and have had internet almost the whole time. Since we don’t need minutes but rather data we buy the largest and most economical cellular plan which gives you 3GB’s for around $20. This means that in one month’s time we have 3GB of data to use.

We started using the internet on our computers only and would monitor the data usage by turning on the “metered connection” in the Wifi settings. Turning this option on tracks all of the data used (in MB’s then GB’s) on that certain device. Since Tate and I have separate computers he has a metered connection and I have one. The total of the two is our total data usage.

It became evident pretty quick that our browsers and apps were data hungry (ok mainly mine). The computer’s various apps look for updates and the Google Chrome browser displays image rich web pages. We found that it was nothing to go through 100MB of data in an hour casually browsing the internet. Needless to say we recharged the Sim Card more than a couple times. This got us thinking…surely there is another way, and there was.

Early during our time here Steve from SV Tango suggested we use the internet browser Opera Mini to save on data. We briefly checked this out but since it doesn’t run on Windows computers, we put it to the side until one day a light bulb went off and we realized that we had two Andriod devices on the boat that are not only more portable and pleasant to browse the internet on, they work with Opera Mini. So my frugalness led me on a quest to save as much data as possible.

Opera Mini requests web pages through their own servers that process and compress them before sending them to your device, which speeds up the transfer by two to three times, dramatically reducing the amount of data transferred. I can attest that these savings are real, and dramatic. In my Chrome browser on my computer Fox News would eat up about 20 mb every five mins, but with Opera Mini Fox News only uses 0.2 mb in five mins. That is NOT a typo. I go through Opera Mini to access Facebook, Gmail, Yahoo mail and our blog dashboard instead of through the stand alone and more data hungry apps. This is a shot of my “Speed Dial” and Data Savings.
Opera Mini screenshot Internet while traveling

It’s really quite remarkable. There are still pictures and videos though the quality is heavily reduced. It doesn’t matter to me though as I don’t need to see the details in Hillary Clinton’s face to know it’s her. The browser isn’t perfect though and has trouble opening links sometimes, but a quick “open link in new tab” selection seems to fix that. We are using the 10 Version and hope they will continue to improve it’s compatibility with web pages over time. I have also tried the Google Chrome “Beta” browser which claims similar savings as Opera Mini but there is no comparison. Beta uses about 40% of the data that regular Chrome uses, while Opera Mini uses 0.01%. Like I said, apples and oranges.

Not stopping at just data savings through the browser we found “Opera Max”. It works by routing ALL of your cellular data traffic (not just for the web browser but for apps too) through it’s servers, which then compresses the content and sends it back down to your device in a smaller package. Aside from the data compression we use it primarily for it’s “App Blocking” feature. You can block apps from accessing data for both Wifi and regular Mobile connections. I haven’t found another app that can do this.

This means no more sneaky apps trying to update themselves or receive push notifications every time you connect to a Wifi signal. This is huge because many apps, like Yahoo Mail, soak up 5-10 mb just starting up. It also tracks ALL of the data used over your connection by app which allows you to see what is using the most data.
Opera Max Main screen shot

Opera Max Wifi App Blocker, items on the right are blocked from accessing Wifi data. If every now and then you want to use an app that is blocked simply open the app and check “unblock”. This allows you to use the app while you have it open but once you close it Opera Max goes back to blocking it.
Opera Max Wifi app blocker

Data tracker
Opera Max Data Management

The use of both Opera Mini for the web browser and Opera Max for the application blocking and data tracking have allowed us to SIGNIFICANTLY reduce our data usage. I can literally browse for six hours during the day on Facebook, our blog, email, news sites and Cheezburger and only use 30 mb. It really is so much nicer to use our small devices laying on the settee or out in the cockpit instead of the cumbersome computers that really need to be on the table. For blog posts I edit the photos on my computer (offline) then transfer them to my phone in order to use the photobucket app to upload online.

Another app I really want to take my hat off to is called “WhatsApp”. Everyone in the world except those from US is probably sitting there jaw agape, you mean people don’t know about this? WhatsApp is an instant messaging app for smartphones/devices and now even computers (WhatsApp web) that uses the device’s internet connection to send text messages, images, videos and actual calls. In April 2015 it was the most globally popular messaging app with more than 800 million active users. In February 2014 Facebook bought WhatsApp for a whopping $19 billion dollars, the largest purchase of a company backed by venture capitalists to date.

I had heard about this app when Facebook bought it but was told it was used primarily in foreign countries or US people with relatives/friends in other countries. The app give you real time texting on your phone where you can easily send pictures and guess what, it uses BARELY ANY DATA. I chatted with my mom the other day for an hour over WhatsApp sending pictures back and forth and it only used 1.3 mb of data. I highly recommend this free (free for 12 months then $1USD a year after that) app if you are traveling without a phone plan and want to stay in touch with family and friends easily. The calls are free, except for the low data usage, to other users with WhatsApp!

The kicker is that you have to set up WhatsApp using a working cellular phone number. You type whatever number you have access to (friends or family NOT using WhatsApp) and they send you back a confirmation code that gives you access. After that everything is done on your device over the internet, in our case Wifi. Another thing is that both people need WhatsApp installed and working on their device to talk to one another. Luckily our friend Michele, who hates texting on her phone anyways, let us use her number (LOVE YOU!). Now I’m in touch with my sister, my mom, our friend Alan AND locals on the island. You see everyone we meet has WhatsApp, so while we don’t have a regular phone to call and text, we can make friends out here and keep in touch through WhatsApp.

Fun Stuff

Since we’ve been here for two months now people are starting to ask if we are bored yet. While we are now the only boat in the anchorage since Sunday we still have busy days, so we have to say no we aren’t bored.

Tate still spearfishes (and gets better!) everyday and I join him every other day. We take our time in the mornings and have coffee, read books and I have been using this down time to work out daily and study Spanish more. I am FINALLY getting better and can have two way conversations with others. In fact a French couple on a boat that just left here didn’t speak much English so the four times we hung out I spoke entirely in Spanish with them, which they know. Coming up in Panama only 15% of the population speaks English, the rest speak, you guessed it, Spanish. My studies will really come in handy as we move farther south. One day soon I hope to impress by writing a post partially in Spanish.

Another reason we haven’t left yet, and an important reason I might add, is we need to save money. We recently bought a WHOLE LOTTA water sport toys (read spearfishing and neoprene) and we’d like to recoup some of that cost. It’s extremely cheap to be here so we’ll bid our time until the end of August to lessen the lashing on the kitty. This is life when you stick to a budget. We love it here though and know we will mostly likely never be in this paradise again…we are soaking it up.

Another benefit to being here is so long, as was in Cuba and Isla Mujeres, is that we are really getting to know the people, and the underwater creatures of this island. We see the same faces when we go to shore and are made to feel so welcome here, a home away from home. Everybody here is laid back and on island time. It’s a wonderfully peaceful place to live and I have no doubt we’ll miss it once we leave.

Tate practicing his depth and aim. This is roughly 25 feet.
Tate aiming underwater

We very much enjoyed eating this guy.
Tate with large lobster

We see the same group of Eagle Rays almost every dive.
Eagle Ray underwater

There are nurse sharks, sand tiger sharks and black tip reef sharks. Nonthreatening and a marvel to watch in the water.
Nurse Shark underwater

Our view on many days.
East Reef Providencia Dinghy

Tate and a Barracuda. He was DELICIOUS fried up with batter. There is NO Ciguatera here.
Tate with Barracuda on knife

The woman behind the lens.
Dani photographing the action