Monday, March 4, 2013

Mar Caribe

Yesterday I had my second ever encounter with the Caribbean Ocean! The first time was watching fiddler crabs two years ago at Punta Galeta. This time we went to a coworker's house (Becky, who has worked in the Collin lab for years but just left last week) who lives right on the water in Portobelo. We barbecued a ton of food! The water practically touches her back patio at all times since there is basically no tidal difference on the Caribbean side (and it's pretty calm, I guess). On the Pacific side the difference between daily high and low tides is about five meters (That's huge! More than 15 feet!), though it varies depending on the phase of the moon. This five meter difference means that at low tide there are at least two hundred meters (probably  more?) of land between the coastline and the ocean and at high tide there is none.

Map of Panama showing Portobelo.

View of the Caribbean Sea from the backyard.

Allan by the grill. 

I did not eat the chorizo (I'm vegan), but they looked cool!

We heated ripe plantains on the grill and they were riquisimo!

Brownies, and then and yucca with lemon and mint. 
The yucca was my favorite dish.

Us at the end of our visit. Becky on the left lives there.
I'm in the Captain Planet shirt.

We played lots of volleyball and Frisbee before it started raining. It was weird to be in the rain because I haven't been in so long! I was only in rain a few times last quarter in Friday Harbor, barely at all during Portland's summer, and it hardly ever rains in Spokane where I was up until May of last year. It was weird to be surprised by rain considering I grew up in it. (I don't miss it yet.)

One of the coolest things we saw in the water near Becky's house was a Portuguese Man-of-War. This marine organism is a siphonopohore, which is a group of organisms that live and work together. It uses venom in its tentacles to sting its prey. Touch them and you will suffer!!! The Man-of-War is a known risk to humans and is actively avoided. When I first got to the house, I wanted to swim, but after seeing two of these I decided I value my skin enough not to. Just enter "Portuguese Man-of-War" in Google and you will see pictures of the aftermath of people's unfortunate encounters with them.

The first PMOW was so vibrant! What weird creatures.

The second was smaller and less pink.

Chau for now!

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