April 2, 2008

Over the Water & Through the Graveyard, A Surfin' We Will Go!

That's right. I said through the graveyard!

William is, and has always been, a dare devil. I knew back in Florida, when I had to stop him from doing full flips off his skim board into a teeny foot of water, that we were headed for deeper water. Either that... or I was going to end up with a quadriplegic. Given the choice between neck breaking flips into shallow water, or the possiblity of crashing into reefs and sharks, I had to opt for the latter. So last weekend Larry, my personal travel agent, planned a surfing trip.

Bastimento is one of the small islands that make up the archipeligo "Bocas del Toro," off Panama coast on the Carribbean side. And it is there we headed to look for what the locals call "Wizzard Beach," known for having some decent surf.

From Bocas, where we were staying, we took a quick water taxi to Bastimento. Once on the dock, we were instructed to walk along the cement path that hugs the shore of this loud, littered shanty town.

The houses are make shift rickety, close and colorful. Reggae music blares at top volume, competing with barking dogs, crowing roosters, hollering mothers. The children play along side their houses or by the shore, on tiny patches of ground littered with filth that is tough to look at.

After about 7 minutes the cement walkway ends abruptly and we turned left as instructed, finding ourselves suddenly on a narrow, uphill dirt pathway that landed us smack in the middle of the local graveyard.

Suddenly we were standing amid heavy cement-made, above-ground burial sites, neatly and brightly tiled, and adorned with flowers, photos, etc. (See photos). We wended our way through the monuments, hunting for a break in the brush. We found a tiny path that grew larger and walked about 20 minutes through island jungle on a muddy, slippery path, grappling for vines from time to time to keep from slipping.

And then there it was. Beautiful Wizzard Beach.

The instructor, Javier, was waiting for us up the beach with 2 surf boards. After some preliminary coaching, off went Javier, into the white surf, with William in tow.

The waves further out were probably 8 or 9 feet and with a nice curl, but breaking quickly. William stayed much closer to shore as Javier pushed him gently onto his first small wave. That rascall jumped right up on that board and rode that wave nearly all the way in to the shore! Honestly, in the two hours he practiced with Javier at his side, he toppled only a few times. What a kid!

1 comment:

Mark Ballard said...

Be careful, it looks like William is having so much fun, he may want to move to the shore (or run away and live with Javier).

The adventure continues....

Love to all,

Cousin Mark

News About The Boys

Mrs. Bliss told us there is a caterpillar here that is pink and fuzzy, and, if you touch it, its fur will stick in your skin and sting you! This happened to her daughter, Aylana. It was very painful and they had to pull the fibers out using tape! There are also scorpions and snakes, but I think there are more poisonous snakes in Florida.

William is busy, busy. In the morning he does his home schooling (Dad is his teacher!). Then, around 9:00 he rushes happily off to the local, Catholic, Spanish-only school where he audits the 4th grade! He's been doing some skim boarding but we are seriously missing the skating. Surfing looms in the near future. For a change we finally have kids on our street to play with, (not to mention dogs and roosters, snakes, toads, etc.) and it is wonderful making new friends. Still, William really misses his friends and family back in Sarasota. It's wonderful to get messages from the folks back home.

We send a special "Hello How Are Ya?" back to Nolen, Max, Connor, Emily W. and Teah!

Larry is Mr. Handy! Between homeschooling and making repairs on the house, he is never without something to do. And we have gone from never seeing him, to having him around all the time. Hmmmmmm.....

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