You are viewing a read-only archive of the Blogs.Harvard network. Learn more.

Panamania Just another Weblogs at Harvard Law School weblog

September 20, 2004

Flying. . .or close enough!

Filed under: crofootStories — crofoot @ 11:12 pm

Living on BCI, you sometimes start to go stir crazy and just need to get off the island. I work in the forest, except when I’m working in the lab, or sleeping in my room, leaving precious few places to escape to when I can’t stand to look at my computer or think about capuchin monkeys any more.

Boat rides are one way to get off the island. A couple of days ago, Andrea needed to look for seeds for one of her experiments. It was a perfect late afternoon, so we took one of the motor boats and went around to the back side of the island to search for them.

I think the hurricanes must be taking all of the moisture out of our weather patterns because even though it is the rainy season, and it should pour almost everyday, we’ve had two solid weeks of gorgeous weather. Sunny days with a nice breeze, which are somewhat detrimental to my work schedule.

The weather has been putting everyone in a great mood, except for Randy. He is studying the dispersal potential of forest birds, so he nets a bunch of birds, and then takes them out into the lake and sees if they are able to fly back to shore. I had always thought that birds could all fly, and had never really considered the different degrees to which that was true. Apparently, many of the forest birds don’t fly well at all, and have to be rescued when they crash land in the lake!!! Anyway, the reason Randy is grumpy about the beautiful weather is that when it is too bright, the birds (who spend their entire lives in the shade of the canopy) can’t see very well and get disoriented. On sunny days, even some of the best fliers crash land in the lake, or fly in circles, stressing themselves out. Luckily, he saw a tapir this morning, which is really, really rare and seems to have improved his mood considerably.

Yesterday, after too many hours staring at a computer, bashing my head against a mental block, I decided I needed to get away for a while. I couldn’t get off the island on a boat, so I decided to climb up to get away.

Andrea and I went up Fausto tower–one of the 7 40 meter tall ARTS towers that have antenna on top. The view was spectacular, and I surprised myself at how little trouble I had getting up (and down!). I was expecting to freak out half way, but I didn’t. It was amazing to be above the canopy, when you spend so much time staring up at it from underneath.

It was the most amazing feeling to clip your safety on to the tower, and let go with your hands and just lean back. There is a huge cell phone tower (twice as tall as Fausto tower) in the center of the island. Supposedly, from there you can look out and see both oceans. Weather permitting, I’ll be posting some photos from there soon!

Bocas Vacation

Filed under: crofootStories — crofoot @ 2:08 am

A couple of weekends ago, I went to Bocas del Toro–a beach town on the northern Caribbean coast–with a group of BCI people who were all feeling like they needed to get off the island. We took the overnight bus from Panama City to David, a town in the northern province of Chiriqui. The bus ride wasn’t hideously long, but it was so over-airconditioned, I thought I was going to die of exposure. I don’t think I’ve been that cold since we went camping in Yosemite in October. We arrived in David at 5:30 am, in time to catch a very small bus to Admirante, where we could catch a water taxi out to Bocas.

The second bus appeared to be the only transportation option for most of the people living between David and Admirante. It stopped every half mile or so, and it was always a little unclear where the people who got out were going, and where the people gettting on had come from. The sun was just coming up as we got to the edge of the mountains, and we had a gorgeous view out over the province of Bocas del Toro, toward the Caribbean. By the time we finally got on the water taxi, we were all starting to wake up, and were VERY ready to be on the beach.

After all the waffling and indecision that seems to inevitably accompany making any sort of choice for a large group, we finally got our stuff into a hotel, and headed out for Red Frog Beach. To get to most of the beaches, you hire someone with a boat to take you there, so we had a very pretty boat ride through mangrove swamp. We got let out on a raised board walk through the swamp, which didn’t look very promising. However, after about a ten minute walk we came to the beach. We played vollyball and swam, and took advantage of the sun–its the rainy season, so when the sun comes out, you appreciate it!

On out walk back, we learned where the beach’s name came from.

We also went snorkling and visited a couple of other beaches, including Drago, which was my favorite

We spent three days in Bocas, mostly relaxing on the beach or playing in the water. It was fun, although far from my favorite vacation place ever. Then, salty and sandy, we got to do the bus trip in reverse, arriving back in Gamboa in time to take the 7am boat to BCI.

Slippin’ and Slidin’

Filed under: crofootStories — crofoot @ 12:33 am

It seems like a really long time ago, but I’ve gotten ahold of photos from some of the afternoon Olympic events, so I figured I’d put them up. The jello slip and slide and jousting events were the brain children of Brett, Dupa, Raff and Andrew, and they were making jello in the lab kitchen for almost an entire week in preparation. You couldn’t walk into the walk-in fridge because it was too full of jello, and the whole building smelled like candy strawberry for days. It was definitely the highlight of the day–much more fun than jello wrestling, the original suggestion, would have been.

This is me before my bronze medal-winning slide:

and during:

and after, posing with the champion slip n’ slider, Christophe


The other major event of the afternoon was the jousting competition. This was one of those ideas that refused to die, despite set backs. An attempt to haul a huge tree trunk off the shore into the middle of the lake to serve as the jousting platform failed, as did several alternate plans. In the end though, it was definitely worth it–this event showed who on the island played fair, and who played dirty.

Powered by WordPress