Dugout Canoes

The locals calmly and quietly paddle around in home made wooden dugout canoes. They seem to take a liking to paddle really near our boat and always catch us unaware as you can’t hear them coming. I’m not sure if we are the local thing to gawp at (I do admit Hugo and Felix dancing and running naked around the deck during tropical rain showers is quite a sight – but if you can’t do that at age 6 and 8 when can you!!) or if they think trawling a fishing line in their hand they will get fish nearer our boat? Either way we both smile and wave with our “hola” greetings. How the canoes stay afloat is amazing, they sit so low in the water, are paddled from the rear with a homemade wooden basic paddle and are very narrow (think tree girth width and then narrow hips to fit inside it), and they always seem to be bailing water out too – leaky trees it seems. The sight is somewhat surreal when you see a guy go past in a football shirt and on his phone, in a rustic dugout canoe. Obviously the way to travel even if you have a phone. Most don’t own shoes let alone phones though.

Dugout canoe

Panama have put a restriction on yacht movements, ie you can’t. So our pace of life has just got even slower to match the sloths we see in the rainforest trees. We hope to be able to ask for permission to move bays, apparently they grow cocoa beans on the next island and have a small chocolate “factory”. Sounds like a place to be stuck to me!! Dolphin Bay is also renowned for as the name suggests, the dolphins who live and play there. We hope to spend a couple of weeks soaking up the atmosphere there soon.

Felix helping with the washing!

Apart from that we are enjoying the quietness of the mangroves and exploring the rivers. The surf beach on the other side of Bastimentos is great and the boys have made friends with local kids of the owners of a beach shack/jungle tent hotel thing that appears closed. Hugo has donated his bike to the girl his age and in return we get to use their WiFi and sun loungers. There is little point in having bikes on board anymore they will just rust away, a dugout canoe would be more useful 😂. The girl and her family seemed delighted, so we’ve made someone happy at least. We have promised to buy Hugo a surfboard to replace his bike as he would get much more use out of that now. We just have the wee problem of finding a) a shop b) anything that is open and might even sell one to buy it. Fingers crossed and we put out a call on the vhf cruisers and expat net today to ask for help/advice so you never know. The sailing community is nothing short of resourceful. The boys have been lent a homemade sailing dinghy to sail after school tomorrow, so we are being well looked after by the local sailing community.

Hugo sailing a borrowed dinghy
Sailing towards a dugout canoe

The most exciting thing on the horizon is a big trip by boat taxi to the mainland on Tuesday to get food, supplies, boat bits and maybe some post 🤞. I hope to speak to family too and get enough WiFi to upload this. All good from us 👍⛵️🏝🐬🐒🦥🌴

One thought on “Dugout Canoes

  1. All sounds a good as it can be. I’m surprised Russell hasn’t already made a dug-out canoe! When are the boys going to get a ride in one?


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