Panama: Pirates and PearlsAugust 9, 2011
So picture this: a generator goes down, and a replacement part is needed urgently to repair the problem. What do you do – call 1-800-GEN-R8TR? I wish!!
Often, running a business in Panama requires a certain amount of ahem…elasticity! We have a problem – no problem! We get creative. So when we managed to find a friend of a friend with a plane who just happened to be flying into the Perlas archipelago, we arranged for him to drop off the generator parts on a neighboring island, and Chief Engineer Scot, Chef Michael, and myself took off in the tender to take care of the pick-up 25 miles away on the island of Viveros.
On the way, we enjoyed some of the most ridiculously breathtaking scenery in the land of pirates and pearls, all along the coast of our island, Isla del Rey.
I often think to myself that if you looked up “Tropical Paradise” in the encyclopedia, photos of this island would pop up.
Back in the day, the Pearl Islands were ruled by an Indian king whose subjects’ main occupation was pearl-diving. Pearls were then used as ornaments and to trade. Some of the most renowned pearls in the world were collected in these waters and have adorned kings and queens – including the 31-carat “La Peregrina” pearl much loved by the fabulous and sadly late queen of the screen Elizabeth Taylor.
When this island was visited by Vasco Nunez de Balboa (discoverer of the South Sea) in 1513, he named the island Isla Rica (Island of Riches) for its wealth of gold and pearls. Nobody knows when its name changed, but most likely it was called Isla Del Rey after Jesus (Central Americans are a very religious people!). The feast of pearls here sparked the greed of the troublesome Spaniards, who were joined by many famous pirates who looted and pillaged (often eachother), until all the gold and pearls were gone. Thanks a lot pirates!
However, I am mildly obsessed by the pirate booty I feel sure I am going to find in one of these dark little caves one day soon…
Of course, there was no way on earth that the guys were going to get all the way to Viveros island and ignore the frenzy of life churning in the water around us. Scot stops for a dose of baby grouper…
Look at the teeth on this little baby!
Hopefully Scot pays attention to where we are going so we don’t meet the same fate as this boat…
After hearing a rumour that there are tarpon in the area, Michael has not been able to sleep. His fly rod barely left his hands today on the ride to Viveros – especially with the mangroves and rock formations everywhere – a fly fishermans DREAM!
I finally broke down yesterday and bought myself a new pair of Maui Jim sunglasses – Guy Harvey special editions baby!! I tried them out today for our boat ride and they are fantastic.
Mine have dorados on them…
You can buy yours here in the store!!
While we were having all our fun, our guests were out conquering the blue water for their third day ever of deep sea fishing.
Captain Junior is always up before dawn with his mate Alirio to make sure everything on the game boat is ready for action…
…soon found by Laurent with this big dorado…
Which Alirio immediately sets to turning into ceviche for a nice snack…what luxury!
Gilbert soon forgets about the stock market with this 78 lb yellowfin tuna – he fought it for over 1 hour!!!!! After 8 yellowfins caught today (most released), these two were exhausted by their exploits.
The dynamic duo and their tunas…
…and then the dynamic duo of tuna…Tuna Belly Sashimi and Warm Olive Oil Poached Tuna Belly Salad
Good night from Paradise,