1 This is a side view of Amazon Express, which is a very large trawler that Johnny transformed into a luxury yacht. It's more than 218-feet long.
2 Aboard Johnny's boat, as on most master yachts, there is a no shoes rule. These shoes belong to the guests.
3 All the 'toys' were tied up to the floating docks, along side the big boat. There were jet skis, paddle boards, kayaks, and tenders for all sorts of excursions.
4 This was the huge ship Michael Douglas and his family chartered for Christmas. The boat was then handed over to Jann Wenner and his family for Johnny's party. We got to visit with Michael and Catherine for a short while.
5 Catherine and her daughter, Carys, waving to us from the deck of her boat, Latitude.
6 This is Catherine Zeta Jones, who was about to disembark her boat and return to the States. She was dressed rather formally for the wilds of Panama.
7 Jann Wenner looking very relaxed - Jann, of course, is the co-founder and publisher of the music and politics biweekly Rolling Stone, and owns Men's Journal and Us Weekly magazines.
8 Matt Nye, fashion designer, is Jann's partner. He is with one of their three children.
9 Janie, Jimmy Buffett's wife, was so much fun!
10 There are wonderful topographical oddities in this part of Panama. The soft sandstone islands erode, leaving baby islands and tiny rocks jutting up out of the sea.
11 Alexia and Gabriel arriving by tender - They came all the way from Rio.
12 This is the outdoor bathroom at the base of the big hill leading to Johnnie's estancia.
13 Jann took hundreds of photos!
14 The double concrete tracks were made on the island by the local workmen. There are six miles of such roads crisscrossing the vast property and they go up and down the steepest slopes.
15 This doesn't look steep, but it's probably about 60-degrees.
16 Here you can see a bit more of the steep incline. Luckily for us, it was not the rainy season!
17 These are the underpinnings of the huge house that Johnnie built in the past ten years, since I first visited Panama in 2001.
18 A little glimpse of the house as we approached
19 This garden is planted atop the roof of the lower portion of the house. The views are magnificent!
20 This is the main reception/living room of the big house. One wonders how those huge beams, pieces of steel, polycarbonate, art, and furniture got from Europe and the US, got off the boat, and got up the hill.
21 One of two very large heated pools for guests to use
22 Johnny has renamed the island, Simca Island, in honor of the family business. His family owned Simca cars. He had these woven towels made in the US for the house.
23 One of the many models of Simca cars throughout the years.
24 Many artifacts were found during the excavation of the property. These are just a few of the stone kitchen tools unearthed.
25 A majestic view from the roof terrace of the big room
26 The views are expansive and wonderful.
27 There are hundreds of islands surrounding Panama and most are uninhabited.
28 Is that Jann, again?
29 The original architecture of the house was created by Marco Zanini, who worked with Sottsass & Associati in Italy for many years. Marco spent 8 years working on this property. The gilded table is one of his fanciful designs.
30 The art is primarily from Johnny's African collection – really unusual and extraordinary.
31 A Sottsass mirror – Ettore Sottsass is universally considered the Father of Post-Modern furniture. His designs offer a rich visual bombardment of shapes, textures, and colors.
32 Nicolas Prtizker, the Hyatt Hotel/real estate magnate, sitting in the crown chair - Every one wanted a portrait there.
33 There are many pelicans in the bays around the islands. This one inhabits the small bay where the boats were anchored. The fishing must be very good here.
34 One of many Kawasakis, which are the chief mode of transportation on the islands - Ghislaine Maxwell, is on the right, photographing some of us hikers, who were hiking from the house to the The Liquid Jungle Lab.
35 These riders did not fall out.
36 The Liquid Jungle Lab was founded by Johnny and is used for ocean, forestry, and climate research by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, and Real Jardin Botanico de Madrid.
37 There were some sea life specimens saved by the scientists, like this Pelagic sea snake, or yellow-bellied sea snake.
38 The structures were designed by Simón Vélez, the foremost expert on bamboo architecture.
39 Stuart Parr, a collector of mid-century modern, standing on the balcony of the lab
40 These are the rungs of a wall ladder, but to me, they looked a lot like a Donald Judd sculpture.
41 A group photo of some of the guests at the lab
42 One of the local workers and one of the Kawasaki vehicles - These get a huge workout on the steep roads of the island.
43 Somehow a red mule got into the green mix.
44 A French guest speaking Spanish to the driver
45 There were many photos taken during the five day party.
46 The roads are treacherous, but well-built. Only experienced drivers were manning the vehicles.
47 Part of the sightseeing tour
48 Here's an example of the concrete slabs made on island for the roads. Can you imagine how many were needed to line the six miles of roadway?
49 Erosion takes place often and many times the roads are covered with mud and fallen trees.
50 We went to see this promontory where Johnny is going to construct a cantilevered platform for viewing the islands beyond.
51 Our group on the edge
52 The native bromeliads are epiphytes and they love clinging to the trunks of palms and other trees. Many establish themselves high up in the trees.
53 Delicate ferns are gradually affixing themselves to the cut side walls of the roads.
54 We spotted a very strange palm tree, whose fruits look like dates, but are not.
55 The fruits grow in great clusters, like dates, but they are astringent and inedible. The palm trunk is also extremely spiky.
56 We took lots of boat excursions and saw tall jungles like this one.
57 And valleys like this
58 And coves like this
59 And rocky coastlines
60 That's Johnny's house high atop the hill. There is even a helipad on the very top of the roof.
61 This is the signature rock of Simca Island.
62 Our friend the pelican
63 On our way to lunch at the Rosario Farm of the estancia
64 With drop-down fronts, the boats are like those that the army used at Normandy, but here we are landing on a very friendly beach.
65 Lunch was prepared by a great chef from Panama City. He is formerly the chef/owner of Island Restaurant in New York City and we knew many of the same people.
66 There were colorful plastic plates - Johnny's style.
67 A salad of romaine, carrot, tomato, and cucumber
68 There were freshly made tortillas for tacos.
69 Chicken for the tacos
70 And a great tasting local fish called cobia
71 Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google, sheltered himself from the hot sun.
72 Orange tree branches and trunks are frequently armed with thorns, but this Panamanian variety looks lethal!
73 Meet Sophie, a local howler monkey - She's eating a piece of coconut, her favorite fruit.
74 Howler monkeys are native to South America. This type is known as the golden-mantled howler monkey, named for its lighter colored hairs on its back.
75 Most howler monkeys in Panama are, for the most part, impassive to humans. Sophie happily munched on her coconut while we watched.
76 If you see one howler, you're likely to see more, as these animals live in groups from ten to up to forty members.
77 Their tails are long and quite strong and can support their body weight hanging from a branch.
78 Matt and one of his boys, who loved the natural dress code
79 There were local horses to ride.
80 Many guests took part.
81 I was very impressed with how well the chickens are cared for. The coops are clean and the birds are large and healthy.
82 This tree is perhaps a totumo or calabash. It's said that pulp from the fruit has healing properties. Notice how many bromeliads there are living upon it.
83 A pineapple grove
84 An unusual bright pink flowering tree had suddenly dropped all its petals.
85 Johnny and a friend on an ATV - We had an exciting overland excursion.
86 It was all about the 'toys!'
87 Jonathan and Kira on their ATV
88 Captain Mark and a guest
89 After the rides we had fresh green coconut water - very, very refreshing!!!