A Tender Night Ride

Fall Waning Autumn Moon

Tender last night to Fuerte Amador, a series of small islands considered a cosmopolitan nightspot by Panamanians according to ship’s literature. There were two open restaurants, a couple of gift shops and a gelateria.

After a day with a bad back and an upset stomach I had gotten to feeling better over dinner and wanted to get out, off the ship, so I got in the 90 person tender with three crew on shore leave and we motored through the darkness to a marina filled with sea-going yachts. This was Flamenco Island.

I wandered around for a bit, looking at mostly closed shops, stopping at the gelateria for some dulce eh luche ice cream ($2.50. I gave the clerk $3.00 American and got .50 change. Panama has no paper money, but has permission from the US treasury to use American. The balboas, the Panamanian currency, are strictly coins, including one dollar coin that looks the loon of Canada.)

Eager to spend some money I strolled into a small souvenir shop and began to look at colorful mugs, postcards, t-shirts, a few non-descript molas and Panama hats. I associate Panama hats with the international man of mystery so I bought one. Hey, we all have our fantasies.

Turns out the mystery is why I paid $10.00 more for it that Kate paid for a comparable one from a street vendor. Still, I got mine first.

This small junket began to pale so I went down a slick aluminum gangway, got back in the tender and returned to the Veendam, resplendent in lights with a long lit string from bow to stern outlining the ships silhouette. The tender rides low in the water and I sat near an open door watching the water pulse and curl and flow as we passed through it. Such a pliable and flexible medium, water. Lots of resistance, but not too much, different than trying to drive through rock or mud, it shapes the experience we can have of it. Alan Watt refers to Taoism as the Watercourse Way and it makes sense the more I experience the ocean.




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