Roaring thunder and lightning all night and woke up to pouring rain. I do love how it cools down the air, but it may mean a day in the hammocks on the upper deck (our rooms are on the lower deck.) The boys don’t waste it laying around. They decide to make the most of it and play “house” in the garden and picking organic bananas. We also got to see a hen jump into a plant pot and lay an egg!
While we were waiting for breakfast to be served, I was looking out onto the bay and there I saw a couple of dorsal fins emerge from the water! DOLPHINS! I shrieked and Erica said we should run down to the dock because her captain, Natalie, had just arrived and we could catch her on our way up! We did just that and soon after we were in the boat, Marcus and Laura came running down the dock. We set out to look for them, but after about 30 minutes of searching, we realized we had missed them. Huge bummer. Maybe tonight, since they’re usually around morning and early evening.
Mmm… the food here is such a huge change from what we’ve been eating! Erica, the owner here at the Dolphin Bay Hideaway, is a health nut. YAY! Breakfast is served in three courses: coffee, the homemade granola and fresh fruit, then eggs cooked the way you like with sourdough toast and tomatoes and cucumber. Now THAT’S what I call breakfast! After the granola, it was actually hard to swallow the 3rd course of eggs and toast, but I managed to pack it in. All these tiny portions the last 3 weeks have shrunk my stomach, me thinks. 🙂
Green Acres Organic Cacao Farm
After a few hours, the rain decided to let up and we planned to take a trip to the Green Acres Organic Cacao Farm across the bay.
It was about a 20 minute boat ride and we arrived to the mainland (an entirely different area,) and was greeted at the dock by the owner, who only bought the farm from the previous owner of 15 years, 2 weeks ago!
He started us on the tour of his beautiful farm – not only cacao trees, but many other tropical plants such as ornamental ginger, plumeria, 30-something species of palm, balsa, and many more that I can’t remember at the moment!
I spotted a green and black poison dart frog and caught it since the boys were a bit fearful. The green and black variety is only poisonous if eaten. The boys have been waiting to see a poison dart frog since we arrived. I know it’s now the highlight of the trip.
It was a lovely tour, but sadly interrupted by… fire ants!!! We had not come with the appropriate footwear and as a result, I ended up running, carrying a screaming Karter, with a shrieking Kole running close behind, out of the forest. I missed the second half of the tour of the actual farm, but Kristian stayed with them and took some pictures.
The boys and I ran to the house where we had started the tour and were greeted by the owner’s wife (I wish I could remember their names!) She saw that we were disheveled and kindly offered us some tissue (as they were now covered in snot,) and some “After Bite” ointment. After they calmed down, she disappeared and reappeared with chocolate! Chocolate pudding and chocolate cake. Needless to say, they forgot about their ant bites. I forgot about mine, too.
Learning about Cacao
We rejoined the group just as they were learning about how the cacao beans are processed, which takes fermenting, drying, roasting, shelling and then grinding. We got to taste the cacao bean straight from the fruit and roasted cacao nibs. The cacao process is very similar to the coffee process!
We all headed back to the house so those who hadn’t tried the pudding and cake yet could take a short trip to heaven. 🙂 We purchased a few of their products and then sat and chatted for awhile. We learned that the owners just retired and moved from Florida, but are originally from Oklahoma. They’re loving Panama, but are now realizing how much work having a farm is! They’re relieved that their son moved there to be with them and help out.
On the trip back, Natalie slowed the boat down once we got about 3/4 of the way back across Dolphin Bay. This meant that she saw a dolphin and now we’re on the hunt again. Goody! It didn’t take long before we saw them in the distance, so we slowly motored toward them. We were out there for at least an hour, following them around, trying to get good pictures and video. A couple of times, they surfaced so close we could neary touch them and other times, we could see them swimming next to the boat just below the surface. What amazing and beautiful creatures! It was thrilling to see them in real life and not on a real tour of any sort. They appear here daily and those that live here get to experience this daily. Amazing.
Back at the Dolphin Bay Hideaway, dinner is served! Tonight, Marcus, Laura and Kristian are trying conch. I’m not brave enough to try it, so I’m having chicken with the boys. The cooks at DBH are talented with seasonings. Everything tastes amazing. Along the side we’re eating green salad and bread fruit, which tastes like potato when cooked.
When we get to bed, there are june bugs everywhere in our rooms. I don’t know how they got in, but they did, so tonight we’re sleeping with the mosquito netting around our bed.