Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Nature Hike

We seem to have settled into the Dark Land/Tierra Oscura anchorage. The folks living here are very welcoming and friendly and we've enjoyed their company and all the information they are providing on the area.

On Monday, we had the pleasurable company of Cindy and her dogs, Arena and Buddy for an incredible hike. She took us to a "finca" (farm)that is owned by a family (now for sale). This finca has many, many groomed trails through the woods. There are wonderful wood built structures around the property. The gentleman who owned the property passed away and he seemed like an incredible guy. He built the various structures so that the local Indians could do woodworking, furniture making and have a place to stay. The woodworking building was filled with magnificent bamboo and local wood furniture – chairs, cabinets, lounge chairs, tables, stools – plus some wine holders and ornamental pieces. It was incredible work.

The property also was filled with interesting trees and plants. There were many fruiting pineapples, banana and plantain trees, noni fruit, breadfruit, almonds, oranges, limes and some strange looking things. As usual, and with Cindy's assurance, we picked some of these strange things to taste. One is locally called a "bittybye" (sp??). It sort of looks like an artichoke with longer, though soft spines all over it. When cut open there is this soft, custard-like white pulp with large black seeds. You scoop it out with a spoon and eat around the seeds. It was quite delicious. We also picked up a ripe pineapple which was less acidic than many and very white inside – and very sweet. It was like going to a great fruit market and we came back with a backpack filled with oranges, limes, passion fruit, pineapple, and this weird bittybye. The oranges were very sweet. Cindy also snagged a breadfruit (not our favorite).

The walk also was filled with interesting critters. There were the teal green frogs with black spots – Dendrobates Auratus (another in the poison dart frog family) and some very small dark blue (almost black) frogs (Dendrobates Claudiae). Butterflies were also numerous thanks to all the beautiful flowering trees. There were the very large morpheus (bright blue on the inside of the wing, black on the outside – but very large) and some interesting yellow with black designs that when they landed they curled like a leaf; a beautiful white with very delicate and intricate black designs and many, many more.

At the end of one of the trails is a stone labyrinth that we walked – it was really lovely. It was a tribute to the owner.

We climbed up this great tower that was built with a thatched roof and quite high. We took a really good walk, enjoying the dogs exploring all the sounds and smells. We loved all the weird bug and bird sounds and found the adventure really worthwhile.
Our hostess, Cindy lives in a house she and her husband built here in the lagoon. We went there for dinner on Tuesday night and it is a wonderful and beautiful home. Her husband was a great wood-worker and many of the touches in the house are quite unique and beautiful. She's a great lady and we've really enjoyed spending time with her.

On Monday night, we invited "Captain Ron" to Astarte for dinner. He is also a fixture in this area and our friends Anna and Ian connected us with him. He is quite a character and very helpful and informative as well. We've really enjoyed being anchored in this area and getting to know the folks. It is quite a social group and they are kind enough to include boaters regularly in their festivities.

It's been warm when there's no breeze but luckily the breeze seems to come when you really need one. We continue to empty the fridge and cupboards as we get the boat ready for our trip back to the states. We'll do the serious cleaning at the very end (why do it more than once!)

Happy Summer!

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