The suitcases arrived! Just had to get that bit of information out of the way first. So today started with housecleaning in Gamboa, prepping the plates for transport, and getting to the local airport (not the Panama City one). While at the airport we got a call from Marcos Ramos who was the STRI contact working with the mysterious “broker”… who had obtained our luggage! I have no idea if “taxes” were paid or what but Marcos was going to rush the luggage to our location. Then a super helpful woman at Air Panama basically held our plane until the luggage came so we could check it to Bocas. We were irrationally happy to see our stuff again. And as a bonus, there were no problems getting it, or the stacks of cultured bacteria (buried under my dirty laundry) to Bocas.
Landing in Bocas feels like “The Caribbean”. It’s a funky town with a chill vibe. The buildings appear to be falling down and the roads are pretty bad but it just feels awesome. We got settled in at the station and got our lab space and dorm rooms. We got to work making up media and while it was in the autoclave we took a taxi down the road for a fabulous dinner at a beachside restaurant with Jarrod and his wife, Jamie. Then back to the lab to pour plates and label tubes… tomorrow morning we’re off early on a boat trip for urchins and crabs.