Settling In

Stephen and Roberta Arnold
Fri 1 Jul 2011 03:13

Thursday June 30, 2011 9PM


We’ve been here for 2 weeks and are slowly settling in and learning our way around. We have made one side trip which I’ll talk about in a bit.


Our marina is only accessible by water, it’s either water of jungle swamp whichever way you look. It also has a watch dog – of sorts. Here’s Spice the guard(?) dog.




We were hoping that the dog would help keep our cat close to the boat. The other day our cat was laying down relaxing on one of the wooden walks and Spice was on one side of him and we were on the other. We tried calling the cat, but Spice thought we were calling him. To get to us Spice had to go over or around the cat. Several times Spice took 2 steps forward towards the cat and then backed up. Finally he jumped off the walk, detoured around the cat, jumped back on the walk and came to us. During all this our cat didn’t move. I guess we know who is in charge.


Twice a week a boat from Casa Guatemala (the local orphanage) comes by selling fresh baked bread, fruits, vegetables and meat. They usually have a good selection of pork and chicken as well as whatever vegetables are in season. Here they are tied up to the dock




We’ve found that their prices are competitive to town prices and the quality to be outstanding. There is also a guy that comes by occasionally selling lobsters. Not only did he sell us one but showed us how to cut it up to cook.




Since we are staying in Monkey Bay we expected to see some monkeys.  They finally showed up the other day and Roberta was able to photograph them. It’s hard to get them to pose for a family portrait.




If you put someone in a row boat in the US and gave them a paddle and sent them on their way, they would probably spend their time moving from side to side paddling the boat bow first through the water. But not here.




This lady is sitting in the bow of the boat and paddling it (what to us would be) backwards. Actually it makes sense – no moving from side to side to paddle and the stern is out of the water. I’ve seen as many as 4 guys in a boat like this paddling it backwards.


Last week we went on our first inland trip – 9 of us from the marina in a 7 passenger van, an opportunity to get close. We went to an area that had a hot sulfur spring waterfall. To get to the van it was a boat ride to another marina and then a walk through the swamp. This bridge went on for about 100 yards and it gave us ample opportunity to test our mosquito repellant.




We couldn’t drive directly to the waterfall, after parking we had to walk along the river for about ¼ mile. It must have been laundry day because we saw several families doing their laundry. Always mom and the kids in the stream making sure all the cloths got clean.




During our walk we came across some leaf cutter ants. The ants cut off sections of the leaves and carry them off – where I don’t know. Each green leaf section you see in this picture is being carried by one ant.




Unfortunately this picture doesn’t tell the whole story. This tree is about a foot in diameter and the leaves on this tree were at least 100 feet up. There was a double line of ants – those headed down with leaves and those headed up without. Once on the ground the followed the path we were on for a while before veering off into the jungle. I couldn’t see where they were taking the bits of leaves, but they had created a little path into the jungle.


The water for the waterfall came out of a spring just above the falls and was almost hot enough to burn. By the time it cascaded over the fall it was warm but not uncomfortable. Here’s the falls from a distance




To get an idea of the size, here’s a picture of the falls with some people.




I thought the tree to the right of the picture was interesting, especially how it appears to be glued to the side of the cliff. Here’s another view. The haziness is caused by the steam coming off the water.




We spent a couple of hours swimming in around the falls. Here’s Roberta hanging our near the base of the falls.




After her swim by the falls she headed down river and found a quiet place to relax