Tuesday 25th March 2014
Bocas Del Toro is a charming little place, firmly on the backpacker route around Central America, yet not yet marred by the influx of mass tourism. There’s only really one main street, every waterside property has a rickity old jetty sticking out the back and the beer is impossibly cheap (26p a bottle from the beer crate man). It has a bunch of great little restaurants and kick-ass bars, it’s got its own airport and it’s a short boatride away from deserted beaches, exclusive resorts, gnarley surf, Dolphin Bay… and JINJA ISLAND!!!
So then, let’s meet the people whose lives we will be INVADING and REPLACING like some sort of ginger Bodysnatchers/Cybermen/Borg.
Ian Usher sold his entire life on eBay a few years back. He then set out to achieve 100 goals in 100 weeks, a bit like Everton football club. After selling the film-rights to his story to Disney for a princely sum (I need to get on that grrrravy train), he purchased a Caribbean Island, upon which he built a lovely little holiday home.
You can read Ian’s story in his books: A Life Sold, 100 Goals 100 Weeks and Paradise Delayed.
Ian’s island has been featured on Island Hunters in the States and New Lives in the Wild with Ben Fogle in the UK, whose signature adorns the living room wall.
As you can probably guess, Ian and I have a lot in common – we’re both Northerners with an Aussie connection and our respective ladyfriends both hail from Daan Saaf (Down South). And we’ve both done a fair bit of travelling in our lifetime. Ian’s partner is Vanessa, who he met last year while on Island Sabbatical in the UK.
We met Ian and Vanessa outside the hardware store on Bocas’s main street. We grabbed some lunch (chicken and rice), helped them with the groceries and then climbed aboard Ian’s speedboat and headed towards our new home…
After a quick tour of the island, Ian and I sat down and thrashed out an agreement between the two of us. I’m to use my SOS Island winnings to buy a one-third share of the company that owns the island: Lunes Azules SA (that’s Blue Monday in English, pop pickers!) and in return I get to live on the island as Gingir Bomba of All I Survey for an entire year.
When the island goes back on the market in twelve month’s time, I get 33.3% of whatever it sells for – whether it’s more or less than the amount I invested.
So it’s in my interest to make Jinja Island worth as much gold as humanly possible.