A Week In Review

Well, I’ve made it through my first week back on the Sea Lion after two months of living on land, enjoying my own schedule, and not practicing massage. I have worked on the ships long enough to know that once you step onboard, you leave reality behind and enter a sort of twilight zone. We live in our own little world. That’s not to say that I didn’t take me a few days to get back into the swing of things. The seas down in Costa Rica and Panama are quite a bit more active than Alaska or Baja, so I’ve been trying to gracefully master my sea legs. It makes giving massage quite interesting, though. Since our Internet access is a little more than unreliable down here, I haven’t been able to write emails or post blogs, so here’s a recap on my first week back on board.

Saturday – After an uneventful New Years Eve in Panama City (I think I went to bed at 9:00), I took a taxi back to the airport to meet the other Lindbald staff and the new guests coming in from Miami. I had very little info, just the arrival time and airline they were flying, but as soon as I walked into the airport, I saw Christian, a naturalist I knew from last year working the ship. It was good to see a familiar face! After the guests landed and the luggage was loaded onto the truck, we boarded the bus and I settled in for the final leg of my journey from Bali to the Sea Lion – an hour drive from Panama City to Colon on the Caribbean side of the Panama Canal. Needless to say, it was a relief to finally unpack my bags.

Sunday – We spent the morning ashore, hiking at Barro Colorado, an island in Gatun Lake, which is located in the Panama Canal. On the walk we spotted howler monkeys, capuchin monkeys, and a red spider monkey as well as agoutis, which are small bunny-like rodents. Since Barro Colorado is a scientific research site, Lindbald is the only cruise company allowed to land there. In the afternoon we sailed through the remainder of the canal and entered the Pacific Ocean.

Monday – This morning we spent several hours on a slice of heaven called Granito de Oro, or Grain of Sand. Imagine a cartoon-like island with several palm trees, a few black slippery rocks, and a sloping golden beach perfect for sunbathing, playing frisbee or launching kayaks. I didn’t go snorkeling, but our underwater videographer caught footage of a Hawksbill sea turtle, a white tipped reef shark, a snake eel, and a variety of tropical fish. I’m definitely getting wet there next week! In the afternoon we had a picnic lunch on the island of Coiba. A national park now, Coiba was once famous because it was home to many of Panamas most dangerous prisoners. The villains were exiled to the island and although there were guards, the prisoners weren’t watched too closely because if any one of them tried to escape, the odds of them getting bit by a poisonous snake was pretty high. We didn’t see any snakes, but the view from the hammocks was pretty spectacular.

Tuesday – One of my favorite activities on the ship is to go on Zodiac rides and this morning we did just that. We were at a group of Panamanian islands (whose names are eluding me right now), but because if the cold upwelling of ocean water that brings along with it a feast of small fish, the islands are densely populated with sea birds. We spent about an hour an a half motoring around the islands, watching frigate birds with their big, red inflated throat pouches, rather homely-looking turkey vultures, pelicans scooping up fish and sea water in their huge pocket mouths, brown footed boobies, and blue footed boobies, which do, indeed, have sky-blue feet.

Wednesday – This morning we visited a tropical paradise called Casa Orquideas. It was create by two expatriate Americans who moved to Costa Rica over 30 years ago and bought a piece of old farm land. Since then they have transformed the area into a botanical garden with fruit trees, tropical flowers in all shapes, sizes, and colors, a vegetable garden, stone walking paths, and benches to sit on a enjoy the surroundings. The floral diversity, of course, attracts many critters, and we saw scarlet macaws, toucans, and many different species of butterflies. A guest even spied a baby Fur-de-Lance, a rather fatal pit viper.

Thursday – Today we went horseback riding in Corcovado National Park. I had to go to supervise the guests, my bosses orders. There were a lot if us – maybe 25 or 30, but on the way out I stayed at the end with the stragglers, so it seemed like there were only a few of us. We rode along the edge of the rainforest, occasionally coming across an expanse of sandy beach with the waves crashing against the jagged rocks. It was beautiful. On the way back, my horse flattened his ears, picked up his gait and we went flying across the deserted beaches at the head of the pack. It reminded me of our family Costa Rica vacation when we went horseback riding on the beach at sunset.

Friday – This morning was spent at the beach, reading, sunbathing, boogie boarding, and playing frisbee – all part of my job description, of course. We were at Manuel Antonio, a beautiful, long, crescent shaped beach surrounded by tropical rainforest. The naturalists took the guests on guided walks in search of monkeys and sloths, while I held down the fort back at our beach camp, calling Zodiac shuttles back to the ship in between dips in the ocean.

You may be asking wether I was actually working this past week, and the answer is that between all these fun activities, I did manage to fit in 19 massages and do a stretch class every morning. After such long days I’ll be looking forward to my week-long break in Mazatlan in three weeks! (Thanks to Nonny and Da!)


2 Responses

  1. Snowing like crazy here…just in case you are missing the white fluffy stuff….not sand..it is COLD!! Your dad left, and it has been snowing ever since. Wish i could trade places with him and be with your mom or you…or, oh yea… with Nicole in Maui!!! Would rather be bathing in the sun!
    Don’t work too hard Becks…wouldn’t want you to burn out! xo

    • Hi Karen! Hopefully you’re getting out and enjoying the snow a bit? I talked to mom and dad a few days ago and hopefully we’ll be able to meet up next week at some point. I wish you were down here too! I want to do a cruise with you, Nicole, Mom, and me – it’ll be a girls vacation!

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