Panama: Isla Pargo Castaway

In Desert Solitaire, Edward Abbey calls hunger the best spice, which is why I'm smiling here on day two, anticipating a slime nugget meal. The novelty and excitement quickly wore off and by day five I was puking these worm-infested appetizers up. I never figured to get so passionate about a mollusk, but I developed a love-hate relationship with these things. (Thayer Walker)
In <i>Desert Solitaire</i>, Edward Abbey calls hunger the best spice, which is why I'm smiling here on day two, anticipating a slime nugget meal. The novelty and excitement quickly wore off and by day five I was puking these worm-infested appetizers up. I

In Desert Solitaire, Edward Abbey calls hunger the best spice, which is why I'm smiling here on day two, anticipating a slime nugget meal. The novelty and excitement quickly wore off and by day five I was puking these worm-infested appetizers up. I never figured to get so passionate about a mollusk, but I developed a love-hate relationship with these things.

For the first two days I thought shelter might be superfluous. This was the Islas Secas—the Dry Islands—in the heart of the dry season. Up until that point the bamboo log bed with palm fronds had sufficed. Then, on the third night, it rained. I was soaked by the time I realized what was happening. I jogged on the beach to stay warm and began building Monticello at dawn. The shelter took the day to build. It didn't rain again.

For the first two days I thought shelter might be superfluous. This was the Islas Secas—the Dry Islands—in the heart of the dry season. Up until that point the bamboo log bed with palm fronds had sufficed. Then, on the third night, it rained. I
(Thayer Walker)


Two-Liter Beach: A nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.

Two-Liter Beach: A nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.
(Thayer Walker)


It's important to establish a routine in a situation like this, so every day I'd spend 20 minutes sharpening my knife on this rock. It sat below the high tide line so I had to wait for low water. This wasn't even particularly effective, as the knife ended up sharp as a marble, but it helped give the day structure and organization. It probably sharpened my wits more than my knife.

It's important to establish a routine in a situation like this, so every day I'd spend 20 minutes sharpening my knife on this rock. It sat below the high tide line so I had to wait for low water. This wasn't even particularly effective, as the knife ended
(Thayer Walker)


Nothing will ever taste as good as that sugar cane did on Isla Pargo.

Nothing will ever taste as good as that sugar cane did on Isla Pargo.
(Thayer Walker)


I had a visitor on day 16 that helped pass the time and kept me entertained: a mild case of delirium. This was my first basket and lid (aka a fish trap); it took a day and a half to make. I'm excited because it actually worked (as a basket, not a fish trap), and at that point I didn't know that the tide would sweep it away when I set it as a trap. Now is the perfect time to submit my resignation to Outside to pursue the lost craft of basket weaving. Or perhaps I'll combine the arts and write a feature about the dangerous underbelly of black-market basket weaving.

I had a visitor on day 16 that helped pass the time and kept things entertaining: a mild case of delirium. This was my first basket and lid (aka a fish trap); it took a day and a half to make. I'm pretty excited about it because it actually worked (as a b
(Thayer Walker)


Slime nuggets. Fried up in a garlic and white wine sauce with a little lemon butter on the side, these things might not be too bad as an occasional appetizer. As a raw daily staple they made termites taste delicious.

Slime nuggets. Fried up in a garlic and white wine sauce with a little lemon butter on the side, these things might not be too bad as an occasional appetizer. As a raw daily staple they made termites taste delicious.
(Thayer Walker)


My favorite (last) meal on the island. Notice how my smile at the prospect of a meal on day two has become a grimace on day 19.

My favorite (last) meal on the island. Notice how my smile at the prospect of a meal on day two has become a grimace on day 19.
(Thayer Walker)


Slime nuggets. On the left, the viscera. On the right, dinner.

Slime nuggets. On the left, the viscera. On the right, dinner.
(Thayer Walker)


When I left the island I called a friend and told him that I had been out for 20 days. "Has it been that long?" he said. "Wow that went by quickly." A pregnant paused filled the phone line and he added hastily, "Well, probably not for you."

When I left the island I called a friend and told him that I had been out for 20 days.
(Thayer Walker)


This is the saddle between the two spires I climbed on my way around the island. It's hard to tell from this picture but the climb was extremely precarious; a steep wall covered in loose rocks, where the only hand holds were spiny plants rooted into unstable earth. A fall could have been fatal. Fortunately we'll never know.

This is the saddle between the two spires I climbed on my way around the island. It's hard to tell from this picture but the climb was extremely precarious; a steep wall covered in loose rocks, where the only hand holds were spiny plants rooted into unsta
(Thayer Walker)

Filed To: Water Activities / Panama
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