The (Naked) Pool

Deep in the jungle (actually not far at all) you will find a little natural pool that’s a great place to cool down on a hot day.

We discovered the pool a number of years ago when we were looking for a source of water for the property. It was full of gravel and big rocks then but once we had moved the loose sand and stone and used the rock to make the dam higher we found we had created a beautiful little bathing pool.

The area around the pool is a great place to spot our little green and black dart frogs so bring a camera.

The pool is mostly shaded by the forest canopy but the light shining through is particularly pretty in the early afternoon.

It’s there for you to use whenever you like and as the name suggests skinny dipping (though not obligatory) is perfectly fine!

In rainy season the stream that feeds that pool can carry a lot of loose gravel, fallen leaves and branches with it and it’s not uncommon for a particularly prolonged downpour to deposit enough gravel to completely fill the pool. However we usually have it cleared in a day or two!


Twenty years later…..

Happy Birthday Jim:-)

Twenty years ago today, we sailed away from Granton harbour in Edinburgh on the good ship Charmer. Since then we’ve sailed thousands of miles together, met wonderful people and seen amazing places. The friends who waved goodbye that day, are still our friends. The new ones we’ve met along the way have changed our lives. The plan ( did anyone say ‘plan’?) was to be home in Edinburgh circa 2002, so we are a little behind schedule. Instead, I wake up to the sounds of howler monkeys most days, and look out at the Caribbean. We work, sometimes it feels like torture, to make Tesoro Verde the kind of place where people feel welcome, and can share our adventure. I am looking forward to the next one (!)

Your smile makes my day, every day, love you……. H

The Island


Jim & Jason at base camp

We can always justify an expedition by calling it research, and our trip to explore ‘Los Farallones’ fell into that category. This loose collection of small islands and breaking rocks sits a few kilometres off the coast near the village of Cacique. The largest island which hosts an unmanned lighthouse was our destination. It was our second attempt, the last time the swell was too big to allow a safe landing, and even this time in the flat calm the lancha could only get us within 50m of the rocks and we had to paddle our gear in on kayaks and a small dinghy.

We ferried our camping gear and supplies ashore as fast as possible, piled it up and quickly covered it with a tarp before an approaching squall hit. Even torrential (warm) rain and wind isn’t really a problem in the tropics, and as the sun quickly reappeared, we assessed where to put up the tents. A stark and vaguely hostile environment, dead skeletal trees, a jumble of bare guano-covered rocks, no shade, curious frigate birds and boobies wheeling overhead. We decided to explore and see if there was an easier place to make a camp.

We scrambled over the rocks, climbed up the scary near vertical steps to the lighthouse. The views were breathtaking but there really wasn’t anywhere obvious to set up. In the end Jim wished he’d brought a pick axe as we worked to create a flat space for our tent near where we came ashore. Jason ended up sleeping on a canted piece of concrete slab ( left over from the sea-destroyed dock ) and Amy & Austin decided on a spot up by the lighthouse. There was very little breeze that night and when it got too hot they abandoned their tent to sleep outside on the bracken-like grass. Amy said there was nothing quite like waking up to the sensation of a hermit crab combing through your hair (!) Jason felt the birds were deliberately using him as target practise, as he woke to find streaks of bird poop ONLY on him, and not his surrounds. We were lucky, slept much better on our lumpy floor than we expected, but it was sweltering.


If these are Boobies, does that make their perch site a Boobery?



Base camp from the lighthouse


Sunset over the Caribbean….


Our underwater experiences more than made up for the discomfort of the camping… we had wanted to explore out there for years… the visibility is spectacular, 10m, 15m, 20m? The fish obviously don’t see too many fisherman. We almost got tired of the Angels, both French & Queen. We’ve never seen so many Black Durgons. A pair of majestic Eagle Rays glided (glid?) past  several metres below us. The underwater landscape is like nothing I have experienced since Gozo in the Mediterranean, or Saba in the Caribbean.

The viz is out of this world, far enough from the mainland that runoff from rivers, or aguaceras, has no effect. The current sweeps it clean also.


Holding on tight!


A pair of Porkfish


A beautiful French Angel fish


Typical sea life


A Honeycomb Cow fish


Lined rock and pounding surf


School of Doctorfish

It was a great trip with great folk, and as Arnie would say “We’ll definitely be back!

Losing ‘Charmer’

12th Feb; Yesterday morning I got the phone call that anyone who owns a yacht dreads. “Charmer is adrift and moving through the anchorage, don’t worry, there are people in dinghies with big, powerful motors pushing her away from anchored boats and I can see someone onboard, don’t worry, I’ll call you back”

So. That puts your heart in your mouth. Jim was cooking breakfast for the guests, he started turning things off and I looked for the boat keys and rang someone and asked them to pick Jim up at the dock….

It’s been blowing hard for a few days, and it’s always at the back of your mind that something might go wrong when you aren’t onboard.

We were very lucky. If she’d gone on the reef with this weather, she’d have been pounded to bits, and lost. And if it had happened at night, maybe no-one would have noticed. Like I said, heart-stopping.

Over the years we’ve helped save many boats, and maybe we’d built up enough Karma, because certainly some friends and some total strangers saved Charmer for us.

By the time Jim got there, an anchor was down and she was secure… bouncing up and down, but safe for now. We will have to wait for things to calm down a bit, and also work out how to recover the mooring and get her back on it.

In the meantime, our heartfelt thanks to everyone for going to the rescue, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!!!

Update Saturday 20th… I am posting this as a blog, because so many people have contacted me because they heard what happened by word-of-mouth. As of yesterday we have Charmer reattached to her mooring, just by line for now, but hopefully soon with new chain, etc. Still investigating what went wrong. Jim found the mooring at our second attempt with a grappling hook at dusk last night, and we then scrambled to haul up 70 m of chain and anchor then motored the couple of hundred yards in failing light. Back in the lee of the island, she feels like home again, and not like being on a roller coaster in the wide open anchorage. The winds haven’t dropped. We’ve had to relocate several boat trips and kayaking tours because our usual put-in points are too rough. Luckily with the mangroves giving shelter for the kayaks, and the option of several beaches nearby, we’ve managed to keep everyone happy….


Glamping for Carnival!

After the successful visit of our lovely veterinary surgeons from Italy, Laura & Emilio, and their overwhelming enthusiasm for the bothies…..we decided to bite the bullet and take bookings for Carnival. Quite frankly, it’s scary. Despite the good reviews we’ve had so far, we are still nervous about how to describe the accommodation. This is probably the busiest week of the year in Panama, everyone quits the city for the ‘interior’, and it’s high summer here, so the preferred destination is the coast. Our first guests are a family of six from Venezuela, tomorrow the Spanish arrive, and later in the week guests from Bolivia and the United States…… I hope the weather stays good!!12583946_10208007310877995_872171429_n12570947_10208007290597488_2135558223_n