In Reply to: Re: donnahoo posted by Bruce(OR) on May 04, 2022 at 16:03:46:
No, my place was on the Caribbean side. Bocas del Toro on Isla Colon was the closest real town to our island. My property was on Bastimentos, 2 islands away from Bocas. It was one hell of an adventure. I bought the 1/2 acre from an old hippie that had purchased a few hectares. I had 100 ft of Caribbean front, in a protected bay. My own 60 ft. dock, where I kept my solar panels. When we 1st went in 2000, there was only one fiberglass boat in the whole area. They used cayucos, or basically hollowed out logs with a 15 HP motor. We had to bring all of the materials in by these boats, except when I bought lumber from Isla Popa, and they had a 7 ft. wide hollowed out log boat that would haul tons of wood. But, we had to bring all of our sand and gravel from Bocas to our place. I had to buy bulk sand and gravel. They would deliver it close to the wharf in Bocas. Then I would buy hundreds of flour sacks. 5 shovels of sand to a sack=apx. 100 lbs. The log boats would only haul about 36 bags without capsizing while crossing the channel. On more than one occasion, we hit rough seas and had to throw bags of sand and gravel overboard, lest we go down to the briney depths. Took literally hundreds of sacks to build the foundation. It was just basically a cabin, 30 ft. from the high tide. We had a coral head just 50 ft. off my dock. I loved it, although it was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. The wood we used to build the house was like mahogany. The 12' nispeara (sp) posts the house was on, took 4 men to lift them. The wood was so heavy, it would sink if you threw a piece in the water. It was also so hard, we had to pre-drill holes to drive the cheap, soft nails available down there. Elsewise, they would just bend like hitting a soda straw. Most of the siding and flooring was of Conufiestala (sp), which was green when we got it. Our waterfront was very shallow, and a boat loaded with wood, would have to stop about 50 ft. from the shore as it would drag bottom. The 18' rafters weighed about 125 lbs. each. We dropped many in the water carrying them to shore, where we stacked the wood, only to have to pass the boards up 12' where we made another stack, until we installed it. As I said, I loved it. I brought a couple of 100 watt solar panels from the USA, and we were in high heaven when we had electric lights, and could run a small fan over our bed. We had to catch our water and built a tower behind the house to hold the water tank. But.....the termites got to it one year, and we moved it to the ground before it collapsed and wrecked my house. Then, we had to use an RV type water pump to pressurize the water since we no longer had the help from gravity. Ok, so this is a long story. I guess you can tell I really liked it there. We would go down there for 2 months a year from 2001 til 2016. In 2013, we had a very bad year. I was diagnosed with colon cancer and they gutted me, but got it all. My wife had 3 major surgeries of the female type. And the worst thing was my son, Bill, killed himself. He was a vet. and had been deployed overseas for 2 years. when he got out, he was all messed up in the head. He made it from discharge on 2005 until 2013. I found him at his house, where he had hung himself. We didn't have a clue he was in that bad of condition, and the V.A. was handling his medical needs. So, we fell $100,000 in the hole and I ran out of 0% intrest xfers with my charge cards, and had to sell our place in Panama to pay these bills. But, I turned a $30,000 fun vacation house and land ($13k for land, $17k to build the house) into a $195k sale. Of course, that price didn't include all of the things like solar, gas refrigerator, bed, household stuff.....you get the idea. I would do it again (I'm 65 now), if given the $$ and time. I absolutely loved it.
So, you were in Panama, too? Were you there for the invasion to get ol' pineapple face out of office? He was a corrupt as they come, and a lot hadn't changed when I 1st went down there. I had to bribe the mayor of Bocas to sell me sand that they were mining (illegally) from some very big beaches. I got "gringo'd" many a time, and I decided that the national sport of Panama was "Fleecing the Gringo's). Ha! But, by the time we left, everything had changed. New boats. Water taxis, real hardware stores, grocery stores, everything....except the heat!