Starting next spring, Nan and I, along with some friends, plan to sail Whispering Jesse down here from Savannah and live on the boat for an indefinite period at one of the local marinas. We have spent time this week checking out all of the island's marinas and believe we have found the best one for our needs, El Milagro (elmilagromarina.com). It is pet friendly, so Scout will be welcomed, and there are many nice amenities: a community kitchen, a movie theater, a small beach and a dipping pool. And it is easy walking distance to downtown. It is located on the bay instead of in the lagoon, so it is cooler and less buggy. But it is also more exposed, which means it would be necessary to move the boat to the safety of the lagoon in the event of a hurricane.
In addition to finding answers to our long list of questions, we have spent time exploring new places. On Sunday, we went to the newly opened Bahía Tortuga bar and restaurant, where our favorite Isla band, La Banda sin Nombre, was playing. Many of the patrons were expatriates we knew from past visits, including Doug Dorn, whom we met when we sailed to Isla from Panama with John Kretschmer in 2010 and stayed at Marina Paraiso in an adjacent slip. It was good to catch up with him as he was full of useful information about boating and bureaucracy.
We spent Tuesday afternoon with our friend Juan Gomez and his family at their home in the Miraflores colonia. We brought along dinner from the local pollo asado place and walked over to the local tienda with Juan to pick up some bottles of Sol beer. We ate and talked into the evening, and I was thankful I had my pocket English-Spanish dictionary to aid the communication. Juan's English is fairly good from his many years working with tourists, but his wife's is not so good and the kids are too shy to use the English they learn in school. By the time we left, I had agreed to tutor the kids in English and Nan had agreed to form an exercise group when we return next spring.
Last night, we invited Roger and Garnette over for dinner. They are American expatriates, whom we met about five years ago after they moved here from the Denver area. Nan made a delicious chicken salad and served it with cantaloupe, croissants and salad. We ate dinner and talked for hours out on the patio of our Color de Verano penthouse apartment, watching the sun set and listening to a band playing across the street. Roger and Garnette have already been through all the experiences that we would anticipate in getting settled here, everything from upgraded visas and health insurance to medical treatment and theft prevention. They are a valuable resource and we expect they will become close friends.