Slow Down! Sloth Crossing

We had a looonnnnng pause on our walk to the bath house one morning while a sloth crossed our path! We’d been spotting these critters high in the treetops where they blend to look like a hairy coconut; but we were thrilled to experience a very close encounter.

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This sloth was identifiable by the markings on its face and back. A friend of ours referred to it as a “Costa Rican Sloth” and we wondered how it might have slipped through border control. Upon further investigation we learned that this was a three-toed sloth of the genus bradypus. The black stripe down the sloth’s back determined that it was a male; adult males have unique markings on their backs, like fingerprints. Three-toed sloths mature at three-years old and they can live to be 30 years old. They are the size of a large cat, weighing 8-10lbs. The greenish hue in their thick, coarse fur is actually algae growing on the fur.

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Sloths are tree dwelling creatures and their bodies have adapted to enable them to hang from their limbs. The three-toed sloth’s arms are nearly twice the length of its back legs. Sloths are notorious for being slow; in fact, the term sloth in Spanish ‘pereza’ literally translates to ‘laziness.’ Sloths cannot easily walk on all four limbs and while moving about the ground they crawl by pulling themselves forward with their arms. Three-toed sloths can be active during the day or night and they can move between different trees up to four times daily.

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Three-toed sloths eat up to 96 varieties of leaves. While eating and lounging, this sloth can rotate its head 300 degrees to scan for predators rather than precious energy repositioning its body. The sloth may be an ideal mascot for cruisers who are slow moving, willing to eat a variety of foods, and are each uniquely identifiable.

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Just One More Day, Please…

Vacation was winding down for Darren, Katie, Annika, and Gavin. What better way to get the most out of our time together than to spend yet another day at the beach; our “private” section of Turtle Beach. 20140525-105830.jpg

Annika was The Keeper of the Map. This was a very important job! Annika was responsible for keeping the map clean and dry; she was given a specialized map case (a very handy, small dry bag that she could wear around her neck). Annika was also responsible for directing us though the rain forest to Turtle Beach. She did an excellent job! Once we’d arrived, she brought out the map to confirm our location. 20140525-110231.jpg

Meanwhile, Brian scouted the area to ensure we would not be disturbed during our final beach day. 20140525-105854.jpg

Gavin was ready to get into the water! 20140525-111208.jpg

The afternoon was fabulous! We felt quite spoiled being at our own private beach.20140525-111502.jpg20140525-111520.jpg

With all those palm fronds around, Brian couldn’t resist weaving a hat. The fronds were a bit shorter than those he was familiar with working with in the Bahamas, but just the right size for a little head. 20140525-111824.jpg
Brian had some help from Annika, she was perfecting her leaf-splitting technique. Annika explained, however, that she was not weaving. “I’m making tickets,” she explained. I replied, “Oh, do we need tickets for this beach?” “Yes you do,” Annika informed me as she continued to effortlessly cut the palm leaves with her teeth. She then handed me two small pieces of palm leaf and instructed me to put my tickets into the box (through the slats of the reclining beach chair). Good thing admission was free! 20140525-112455.jpg
Almost finished…20140525-111835.jpg20140525-111846.jpg
Perfect fit!20140525-111912.jpg

Katie and I went for a walk and came back with some coconuts. Darren and Brian went to work! We’ve watched the Indigenous people of Bastimentos drink from coconuts while they are working. With one hit of the coconut against a tree trunk, the husk comes off and then one swipe of a machete releases the refreshing coconut juice. It is fascinating to watch. Darren and Brian, however, took about 20 minutes to prepare our coconuts…brute force, multiple tools, and sweat were involved. Well worth a tasty treat!
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Gavin had played himself out.20140525-113723.jpg

Katie and Annika had some girl time.20140525-113806.jpg20140525-113844.jpg

We took one last walk down the beach.20140525-113915.jpg

And then we consulted The Keeper of the Map to direct us to Casa Kayuka for a late lunch. We were so hungry…things got a little crazy while we were waiting for our orders. 20140525-114156.jpg20140525-114208.jpg

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MMMMMmmmmmm…FOOD!

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Back at the Red Frog Marina, everyone freshened up. The gals put on our party dresses and we went back to Casa Kayuka that evening for Wild Wednesday. (As it turns out it wasn’t quite as wild as we’d expected.) Dance music played while we enjoyed drinks and ice cream. Darren and Brian had a showdown at the billards table; Annika judged the event. We danced and played and later headed back to Rode Trip happy and tired.

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Brian and I love our friends and we didn’t want them to leave (despite our cramped living quarters). But all vacations eventually come to an end…and Darren, Katie, Annika, and Gavin had to return to their own home in New Hampshire. We’ll miss them, but we’ll be in touch and see one another again soon!

Turtle Beach, Isla Bastimentos

Another beautiful morning at the marina and it looked like a great day for the beach! IMG_9180 IMG_9181IMG_8008 Gavin was ready to go!IMG_8005 We took our jungle, “No, it’s a rain forest,” path toward the beach. IMG_8048

Hydrangea

Hydrangea

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Breadfruit

Breadfruit

Turtle Beach was a long walk away from the Red Frog Marina. But once arrived, we had our own private beach scattered with tree-trunk playgrounds.IMG_8065IMG_8076IMG_8096IMG_8069IMG_8064 Inbetween making mud pies (mud cupcakes, mud cookies…Annika is an established sand baker), playing peek-a-boo around branches, and taking dips in the ocean we took a stroll down the beach to see what else we could find.IMG_8087

Trail to Polo Beach

Trail to Polo Beach

Then, it was time to head back toward Red Frog Beach for cold drinks and a bite to eat at the Palmar Tent Lodge.IMG_8120 IMG_8119 IMG_8118 The Palmar Tent Lodge is an eco-friendly, beachfront resort. This is camping with style! The lodge offers daily yoga classes, delicious meals, and opportunities for surfing, spearfishing, kayaking, and local tours. The accommodations are earthy yet lovely; the resort functions on solar power and filtered rain water. The guests here are travelers passing through, each with his or her unique story to share. IMG_8099 IMG_8102 IMG_8108 IMG_8098We enjoyed the afternoon at the lodge; eating lunch, playing cards, reading French comic books, and strolling along the beach keeping cool in the ocean. Then we headed back to Rode Trip where Brian and I cooked up pizzas while Darren, Katie, the kiddos, David, and Victoria freshened-up from their day at the beach. We spent the evening under the stars among new friends and old; getting acquainted with dock neighbors, sharing food, drink and good conversation. Annika even found a playmate, Donia (2 years-old), who’d arrived at the marina earlier that day with her parents in their motor trawler. Donia and her mother joined us while the girls played. We kicked back and enjoyed the cool night air under a starry ceiling. Ahhhh…I love vacations!