With our month-long stay at Red Frog Marina coming to an end, we enjoyed some outings with the other cruisers. One evening, a group made the fifteen minute walk to the beach, for dinner at the Palmar Beach Lodge, which sits adjacent to the Red Frog property. The fourteen of us crowded around a long table, and enjoyed dinner.
On Sundays, cruisers, expats and locals head for Rona Azul, a tiny palapa restaurant run by Joseph. He settled here from Germany decades ago, and opened what has become a weekly waterfront destination, tucked away at the back of a cove….off of a cove….off of another cove. Each Sunday, the pier is packed with pangas and small boats, and people spend the afternoon, eating, drinking and dancing.
Scott and I took the Aluminum Princess to Rona Azul one Sunday, and returned a few weeks later on a panga with other cruisers from Red Frog. It was the yearly Oktoberfest celebration, and Joseph’s last day as owner. He has decided to sell Rona Azul, and new owners Mark and Syndey will close it while they make changes.
Our panga ride was a soggy one, as rain fell during most of the 45 minute trip. We all crouched behind our open umbrellas, using them as shields against the rain coming at us. We’ve learned not to wear raincoats here if we can help it. With the heat and humidity, it’s like being encased in colored saran wrap.
We arrived at Ron Azul to a larger than normal crowd, which was no surprise. With the palapa full of people, we headed for a seat at tables set up in the grass outside. There were tarps overhead, shielding us from the rain, which soon let up, leaving thick, soupy humidity, but we persevered .
As we were enjoying beer, pretzels and other Oktoberfest offerings, I noticed a man wearing a shirt from my small hometown of Eldersburg, Md., which is outside of Baltimore. Unbelievable! I stared for a bit, to make sure that I was reading the shirt correctly, and sure enough, it definitely said Eldersburg, Md. I ventured over to say hello, and learned that his sister lives there…ridiculously small world!
After several hours of fun, we climbed back into the panga, and enjoyed a dry, scenic journey back to Red Frog.
Our friend Sam, who we met through a mutual cruising friend, lives very close to Red Frog. Several years ago, he purchased property here, and is living on his sailboat while building a house. Scott and I took the Aluminum Princess over, to check on the progress.
As you walk through the mangrove-lined pier (I was sure to load up on bug spray when we arrived), the property opens up to a large, open area, lined with all kinds of fruit trees: mango, lime, rose apple, avocado and orange lime. Sam is also preparing an area where he will grow hydroponic vegetables.
The house is at the top of the property, so we made the walk up the hill, with Ruby the dog in tow. I stopped to capture the view looking down over the lower part of the property and out across the water.
At the top of the hill, Sam’s house is still in the framing stage, but the views are going to be amazing. The elevated structure sits among the trees, with a breathtaking, panoramic water view from the front, and the feel of a treehouse behind it.
Behind the house, Sam took us on quite a hike through the brush, down the hill, to a stream at the base of the property. It ends at a shaded, fresh-water wading area, perfect for cooling off.
Back at the marina, a familiar face arrived at the dock.
Playpen was at the end of our dock last October, in Fort Lauderdale. In November, she showed up in the Bahamas with charter guests, as we were anchored near Staniel Cay, and in December, we noticed her tied to a pier at the marina next to ours in Key West. Bocas del Toro? She must be stalking us. After a complete six month refit, she looks great. I especially like the new, blue look (she was all white last year).
For those of you who’ve been inquiring about Howard, he’s still enjoying (tolerating) boat life. Surprisingly, he hasn’t bothered us too much to get outside here at the marina. He seems content to amuse himself with simple, unexpected toys found on board: a boat line (that he tangles himself in, with no help from us), any type, or size, of bag and the empty box that our new weather station came in (his latest fighting arena and nap spot).
Of course, all this play is exhausting, so a nap soon follows.
One day, I caught he and Scott having a “bro” nap in the master stateroom.
While the beautiful property at Red Frog never gets old, we have little interest in getting in the water here. For some reason, jellyfish congregate around the marina in huge numbers; it’s the stuff a Hitchcock movie is made of.
Jellies aside, we have loved our time here, and are going to miss the quiet beauty all around us.
Here are more photos of our last days at Red Frog marina.
“Shells Sink, Dreams Float. Life’s Good On Our Boat!”