Waxing Away on the Tropical Highway–Mister Blue Sky

Posts tagged ‘dive centers’

According to Alton’s Dive Center instructor Phil Smith, if you find yourself talking to a giant moray eel while hovering next to you is your twin ….. you are actually experiencing nitrogen narcosis and you should then__________?
A. ascend and drink 4 Salva Vida’s
B. ascend and eat 2 lobster avocado Baleadas
C. ascend and eat 3 La Cueva Happy Cookies
D. all of the above

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Hasta La Vista Utila, Honduras —- Hola Bocas Del Toro Panama

To Utila: A drinking island with a diving problem
L.P.D. Utila – Live Dive Party Utila
Hasta la vista Utila y adios a amigos locales me. A todos mis nuevos amigos muchas gracias por los buenos tiempos! Muchas gracias a todos en Alton’s Dive Center.
Until we meet again Utila and goodbye to my local friends. Thank you for the great times to my new friends (from around the world). A special thanks to everyone at Alton’s. Please feel free to send me “friend requests” on Facebook and follow Mister Blue Sky on the Road to Tropicville. I apologize for not properly saying goodbye the last evening but the Utila monsoon swept everyone into their thatched huts, me included. Great memories, thanks to all for letting this Yank share a tank and …. other ‘tings’!

From the classic goodbye saying of the late Roy Rogers and wife Dale with a tropical twist by Mister Blue Sky: “Happy Tropical Trails To You … Until We Meet Again”

This is a picture of Brits, German, Honduran, Aussie and Canadians; all fellow dockdekkers (and new friends) flocking together for the last time at Alton’s to toast the sunset and good times. Cheers, Salud to all!

The Final Sunset for Mister Blue Sky with Fellow Dockdekkers Flocking at Alton's

The Final Sunset for Mister Blue Sky with Fellow Dockdekkers Flocking at Alton’s

Bocas del Toro, Panama:

I arrived at 7:05 AM Sunday morning in bad weather. Took a taxi for $2 to Casa Verde which is a waterfront hostel and was able to get a private room without bathroom for $35 for one night. No comment on the room quality but it served its purpose. I walked around Bocas Town for a couple of hours to check out other lodging and fortunately found Hotel Olas de la Madrugada (see website under blog roll) just a short walk from Casa Verde and moved in first thing Monday morning. Three story waterfront on quieter side of town with open air bar-restaurant over the water and another open air covered porch on second story which is where Mister Blue Sky’s has set up his office and where he is presently drafting this blog posting.

Bocas Del Toro Office of Mister Blue Sky

Bocas Del Toro Office of Mister Blue Sky

$42 tax included for room with ac, tv and good internet plus thin walls. In the Bahamas this room would cost $175 and up. Its now Tuesday morning and the weather is still ugly, but I am truly enjoying my new office perch, 14 boats moored up 400 yards away and a marina with lots of sail boats next to them; plus a local boat cruises by every 30 seconds-most are small panga tour boats with canopies draped or water taxi’s ferrying people around in the mist and rain, a few small skiffs scurrying about all of which are bailing out rain water. I am in no hurry, no commitments, no where that I need to be, so about the weather — NO WORRIES I AM CONTENT.

I may have been too conservative about a boat every 30 seconds, more like every moment and I am on the quiet side of Bocas Town. Its ironic that Mister Blue Sky started his tropical adventure on Utila with the first ten days of rain, mist and clouds, and after two days of traveling in similar weather, its still the same but as I just stated “aino tingmon I be aappy” …… boats boats tropical waters and islands in view with so many “man o war” birds you would think they are seagulls too.

Another Mister Blue Sky Office View on a Misty Wet Day

Another Mister Blue Sky Office View on a Misty Wet Day

If Utila is a drinking island with a diving problem I will have to wax philosophic for proper monicker for the Bocas del Toro area …. it will involve boats, drinking, surfing, zip lining, snorkeling, fishing, island hopping, water taxi’s (no tuktuks) and ………

Panama-its currency is the US dollar, not sure how they get it or print it but that is the official currency. Panama means “abundant fish” … lots and lots and lots of fish on both the Caribbean and Pacific coast. I will finally break out the 12lb spinning rod/reel and my 20lb open face rod/reel that I have been lugging around. The Bocas del Toro area is on the Caribbean side very close to Costa Rica. We are talking about islands and cays and rocks with trees. It is an archipelago which includes more than 30 islands and cays plus another 200 islets. Excellent surfing on the outer ones with many real tropical sand beaches. Bocas Town is the only real town area. It is located on the island Colon. You can ferry in per a very large car carrying ferry or take the numerous go fast people panga ferries that seem to blow by every few minutes plus fly in commercial from either Panama City or San Jose Costa Rica which is how I arrived. This is an all water tropical sport area with lots of tropical jungle critters plus chocolate farms. Food prices are higher than Utila but plenty of $7.50 bottles of Ron Flor de Cano rum. There are several surf camps and surfing schools here. Hotel Olas de la Madrugada has an over head rack in the bar-restaurant area with several surf boards to rent plus there are kayaks, bicycles as well as snorkel gear to rent. As I have mentioned in prior blogs I am traveling heavy, no backpacker here, more like a flashpackersorous. I brought 2 sets of fins, 2 snorkels, 5 masks, 5 rash guards, 6 pairs of board shorts, 3 pairs of polarized sun glasses and a soft tackle box that looks like a giant fanny pack. Hotel Las Olas also have 3 panga style tour boats to run guests out to other areas for ‘excursional’ pleasures.

I briefly checked out the scuba diving industry in Bocas Town yesterday. It is very small and under developed. In my opinion its because they do not want to go out to the deeper water. Which may be directly related to the small boats. They primarily dive 5-10 minutes away inside the barrier islands with 13 meters being the deepest. They do not really go out into the ocean beyond the inshore reefs and only when it is flat calm if they do so. They charge $70 for two tank dives which is almost three times the going rate on Utila which has over 60 official dive sites compared to the 6-8 sites shown on the dive shop walls in Bocas Town. One of Alton’s type boats would mop up the diving business here because there are a lot of touristos. Deeper water is not that far away. By the way Bocas del Toro also have Whale Sharks that pass through seasonally but hardly any one goes out to them, so little chance to experience the cosmic smile of one.

Mister Blue Sky’s eyes are getting tired trying to type and watch all the aquatic transportation units cruise by at the same time so I am dropping the anchor down on the first blog posting from Bocas del Toro. A few last comments … on Utila primarily with my association with Alton’s Dive Center I was never socially alone … it was a social club in many ways, lots of friendly people. That probably may not be the case here, at least for a while, unless I hook up with some aquatic operation in one of the islands outside of Bocas Town (and when my niece Laurel and her friends show up in a few days). So keep those comments, postings and hellos coming from where ever you are on our planet, they are much appreicated. I hope you are enjoying the Hammock Philosopher Blog …… My agenda here is to find that next occupation opportunity (tropical) for Carrie and I before the sun truly sets … so wish me luck and then come visit!

By the way Bocas Town … my early impression is that of a (somewhat seedy) wild wild west, 1800’s, type of frontier cowboy town … a tropical Dodge City. Instead of horses its boats hitched up all along side one another, beating against each other in the wakes of the boats blowing by …. then there are the actual traveling cruising boats now moored up or docked at the few marinas … much like the covered wagons crossing the plains and camping out for a provisional stay in Dodge City … they are here in ‘troppo’ Bocas Town. Oh ya .. definitely need to bone up on el espanol!

Till Next Tide my Blog Flockers,

Mister Blue Sky, wishin’ he was fish in’ … or may be line zippin’ through the jungle on Bastiemente across the misty way … just $7 water taxi round trippin’

Carrie you are the best!

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Mister Blue Sky Guarding The Magic Sea Slug Garden

Mister Blue Sky Guarding The Magic Sea Slug Garden

Dock Dekkers Row

Dock Dekkers Row

Sunny, low 80″s and calm the last couple days on Utila….for the first time since I reached here 13 days ago….or was that 13 years ago (where did this foot-long sun-bleached beard come from…..Carrie are you still out there…there….there….thaaaar..?..I guess its actually 11 inches according to the Subway Sandwich measuring system……..

It’s cool though to finally see all the diver/hostel crowd ‘decking” out on the dive centers’ docks…….instead of just at the nighttime bars and clubs……they have undergone a western caribbean, liquid-nation, transformation from “a backpacker to dockdekker”….(Mister Blue Skyism)…..the locals and tourists gather at sunset to see the roosting flocks of dockdekkers….sure hope a picture of me does not wind up on some tourist’s facebook page….”extinct species of dockdekker discovered on Alton’s Dive Center’s dock, Utila Honduras”…..”local authorities state he is not the missing island bigfoot”….or is that goathoof…….

Along the harbor road are constant waves of people talking, walking, peddling bikes, riding scooters…..motorcycles, golf carts, 4 wheelers, small trucks and always the small fleet of $20 Lemps (Lempiras) tuktuk taxis. The road is narrow……lined with building after building….so narrow that 2 normal size vehicles trade paint sliding by one another. Its alive, its vibrant……full of flockers and gawkers, divers and drivers…lots of hoppers (people jumping out of the way of bikes-scooters-4 wheelers-tuktukers et al)……no casual stroll here….if you want to be a “stroller” its best between 4:17 and 5:16 AM………in case you were wondering….to be a harbor stroker you need to be splashed right after the dive boats leave and out before they return from their half day trips……otherwise you might wind up as “harbor-kill”……..Mister Blue Sky is a very experienced dockdekker/harbor-stroker tropical flocker….having spent a millineum of such waxing his previous life away in the Bahamas….ie…”bu”…Before Utila.

Utila has a serious number of dive centers clustered together on the harbor front …..located at my current end of the harbor…pun intended….with Alton’s Dive Center being at the beginning or end depending on one’s altered perceptions……”on Utila’s diver’s row you have to get to the end before you can start at the beginning” (Mister Blue Skyism)….and the beginning and end starts with Alton’s Dive Center……There is definitely a competitive vibe for the dive travelers’ business…. Utila is ‘THE STOP’ on the Mexican-Central American backpacking tour for scuba certification. These dive centers offer free hostel beds with their dive courses at very cheap rates compared to anywhere in the world…..lots of hostels, inexpensive rooms and apartments to rent. Since Utila floats along the Tropicville Road the backpacker-Indie Traveler-free spirited nomadic trail intersects here with Mister Blue Sky….

…..So to any of you on this tropical highway intersection who are tuning into this blog, let me blow a conch horn into your stoned earhole and shout… WE ARE ALL HERE FOR THE SAME F’ing REASON….GET IT!!!!!…..we are buddy diving–dockdekking–drinking the same rum…passing the same______around and watching d’ same sunset together…….so if you see me as a tourist you are seeing the same f’ing reflection off the dock in the same water that I am…..ps…. I like you more than you like me…I get it… I respect and to some extent envy your journey….but hey understand people are people….there are ass holes and ignoramous-holes everywhere on the planet….(the blue holes are in d’ Bahamas)….but there are far less holes in d’ ilaaans mon……so from mi hammock I tell’n you “ai’no tingmon”…..I have 4 partially filled bottles of rum that I will share with you…lets meet on the docks to a watch the afternoon gawkers (locals and tourists) flocking to the harbor front….not sure what their looking at…..I strayed…..

…..The least expensive and most time consuming route to reach Utila is through the port of La Ceiba, Honduras……just hop aboard the daily ferry to Utila aka the “Vomit comet” ……it takes about an hour and 15 minutes…….which is the equivalent of 3 half and 5 full upchucks per upchuckkacker away from Utila…..words of wisdom get to fresh air while on board-avoid a traveler experiencing “upchuckkacker domino syndrome”….its very contagious like a row of dominoes splattering everywhere!…..but not the same as having “The Beach Syndrome”…..(caused by watching the movie The Beach starring Leonardo DeCaprio)…..occasionally some one can be seen on the horizon eventually swimming in to the harbor……sputtering the words…”is this d’ ilaan where dry eat d’ magic sea slugs?”……..you hate to bust their urban myth so you tell them yes…..but that the Japanese came and took them all away….but now that your here….come dive……

Utila, as I have stated, is the backpackers’ diving course “I-laan” (island) of choice on the tropical highway….these travelers are the heart beat of the diving tourism on Utila……the local Utilians view them as young tourists….(if you are visiting… to them you are deemed a tourist regardless of what you call yourself)….you/me we are the prey…..its a 24-7 pulsing island beat…Utilian Sirens….luring all into the whirling pool of dive centers….. a tropical symbiotacy…. the free rooms-cheap rates are the bait…..but the travelers are trail-smart….selecting their dive center after an enlightened cruise down divers’ row…….

Mister Blue Sky has taken it upon himself while in a Utila State of Mind…..or was that a green flash moment of enlightenment….to draft the official island monicker of Utila…..”L.D.P. Utila”….”live, dive, party Utila”…..I like it so I deem it so…..

I stay at Lazy Daze (see link) which is in fact 18 fin kicks by water away from Alton’s…… I know the distance because I have swam over more than once, being necessary when you lock yourself out of the gate at the street….I am more than slightly prejudiced when it comes to Alton’s (I am sure that the other dive centers are great too)….but Alton’s has the best dock for dekkers on d’ ilaan mon…2 tiered/2 levels with a thatched umbrella like area in the middle of the top level, several hammocks……plus 2 very good dive boats that are meticulously maintained by Capt. Joe….the engine rooms are spotless…that’s all you need to know about a boat’s state of mind….check the engine room!

Ok…I know some of you want to know what’s Mister Blue Sky been up to since he posted last week about completing his Advanced Open Water certification…DIVING…..DIVING…..DIVING…FOLLOWED BY HARBOR STROKING AND DOCK DEKKING……I just completed the Advanced Diver Rescue course….taaadaaaaah …thank you….that is 3 courses in 11 days….Mister Blue Sky saved several people from drowning, searched and rescued non responsive comatose divers from the deep with first aid resuscitations, assisted distressed-distraught-distracted divers, and subdued wacked out-freaked out divers in the depths…in other words Mister Blue Sky harrassed his instructor and particpating DMT’s (dive masters in training) or was it the other way around….as I say its a tropical symbioatic relationship round here……did more wreck dives in deep waters…saw all kinds of tropical underwater wild life…lions(fish) and tigers(grouper) oh my…plus turtles, giant-huge king crabs with bighters that will snap your limbs off—-baros (barracudas)…..plus on yesterday’s solo harbor snorkel tour….I had 3 man o’ war birds stalking me from the air plus saw 2 large sea horses (no saddles) and had a 50 lb Tarpon swim along with me for awhile…..I suspect he thought I was trying to pilch magic sea slugs…not…..urban myth right?

Mister Blue Sky bought a Hammock yesterday for about $900…..lemps….so about $43 US……true story-I just put it on the hooks on the dock house porch at Lazy Daze yesterday at about 1:05 PM……was literally getting into it for the 1st time when Kevin my dive instructor yelled over from Alton’s dock…..telling me that we had a required fun dive in 10 minutes…(how can it be fun if its required?)….ya you guessed it…..I went
diving…had a great time too…..

Let me give a shout out to Alton’s Advance Rescue Dive Course instructor……Kevin…GREAT F’ing JOB KEVIN!….Mister Blue Sky definitely was taught his ‘ass hole from elbow’ in diver rescue these past few days (or hoof to snout)…….thank you for the underwater abuse…just kidding..not…..maybe..ok…I would definitely….____..again…..Also thank you Eva and Taylor, Alton’s DMT’s aka Dive Master wannabeees, for allowing me to drown you a few times while trying to save you……..but not so much for the payback time during the open water rescue exam dives…..just pulling your inflator hose…..which means i am kidding……maybe….also a shout out to Margaret my course buddy…great job Margaret…may the winds always fill the Drummer’s sail along the tropical highway…..Mister Blue Sky

Finally…to Carrie…you are the best!….and I am still in one piece….no beard and the year is…?

Mister Blue Sky

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