First blog post

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Published by urracaprivateislandblog

Passionate, positive, and determined, Francine Roy has an unbeatable track record in life. At the age of 49 she paused, looked around, and reviewed her life. As many, she realized her life was full of stress and pressures from work, combined with the mayhem, and fast-paced rhythm that characterize most urban areas. Back then she dreamt of buying a sailboat and heading on an adventure through the Caribbean. As many she dreamt of it, but as few, she actually gave it a shot. Following her intuition, she not only wanted to find herself, but she wanted to surpass the barriers that limited herself. Going beyond personal limits and fears, she determinately decided she was able to do it, and embarked in a new and unique adventure. To test the waters at first, she began by navigating only 6 months a year, and from 2000 to 2005 she was one of the first female captains sailing a boat all on her own. During this period she explored the Caribbean and its’ islands up and down, from east to west. From one adventure to the other, at this point she dreamt of learning to speak Spanish, and just like before, she was determined to do so. Several months were spent learning in Honduras and Ecuador for her to achieve yet another dream. 2005 was a turning point for her adventure, as she encountered there were an unprecedented number of storms and hurricanes happening in the Caribbean; which led her to decide she needed avoid that and wander further in search of calmer waters. That is how she ends up arriving in Bocas del Toro with her sailboat, and just as she set foot in land, the sailor, lover of adventures and discovery within her, knew she had found her paradise. With unique contrasts and an incomparable energy, this place offered it all: exotic and remote, with a warm local community mixing Panamanians, native Panamanians and afro-Antilleans, paired with untouched virgin lands and islands, Bocas certainly seduced Francine into staying here. She had always wanted an island, and luckily she found one at the right time and place. At this point she decides to definitely and completely quit life in Quebec. Using local materials and traditional local architecture she began to build her house over water with help from the native Panamanian Ngöbe community. Determined, Francine makes hundreds of trips to bring water tanks, plumbing, materials, kitchen equipment, and mattresses among many other things with her boat. With a ruler and a marker she draws an Eco Lodge with 5 bungalows all on her own to build on top of the most beautiful island with a natural swimming pool inside of a mangrove. Francine’s drawing takes shape, as the Eco Lodge integrates seemingly with the environment and nature that surrounds it. Using the Ngöbe’s knowledge and wisdom, Urraca becomes a harbor of serenity, a midpoint between the sky and the sea. Francine becomes the living proof of making one’s dreams come true. Dreaming is not enough in life if we don’t take action towards realizing our dreams. With not much than lobsters and a glass of rum, Francine lives the happy life she dreamt of.

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