Listening to the constant but light rain fall on deck; we're safely in our cocoon. We've had to re anchor a few times, as ours was dragging in the soft mud bottom. We had our closest encounter ever--skimming past our neighbors bow sprit. I don't ever want to repeat that! Perhaps we need even more scope for the 40 ft. depths?! And to top it off our windlass wires fused and shorted the windlass to the UP function (the foot switch never worked so hard!)...thank goodness that waited till we were on our last attempt to anchor. M changed the wires out pronto; foot switch is back in service....Thank You very much!
Michael & Kirk went out trolling on Salsa, and caught a nice jack that became sushi; and in the fridge for a few meals. Yum!
We hand fed two of the tall thin spider monkeys on the island; they're so comical walking upright with their tail curled high over their heads.
We thought we might get farther east before heading back to pick Tyson up on Aug. 7, but the seas have been up, and easterlies don't make it fun. We're on vacation, with plans in jello, so hang out in this neck of the woods it is! Great for 'bonding' and going over those Spanish lessons! Sure wish it would sink in!
at 3:13 PM
What a beautiful place to be. We dinghied to Panamarina, (N09º36.86 W79º36.67) through a mangrove tunnel; very cool. Boats are stored in rows on moorings. The French couple tending for the owners who are away for a few months are very helpful. They have a washer/dryer; internet (we didn't do too well--the ethernet connection didn't let us get to many sites, and it's VERY slow), and a restaurant that serves a variety of dishes.
We've enjoyed the company of Kirk, a solo sailor going around the world on his 30' Alberg, 'Salsa'. (www.sailingsalsa.com) We've also dinghied over to Isla Grande, (N09º37.6 W079º33.9) a beautiful island that only comes to life when the rich Panamanian's come for holiday or the weekends. We've not had much luck fishing...but we know this is a popular area to catch some big ones. The water is clear...we've yet to go snorkeling, but we swim by the boat every day. The rain is unpredictable--thunder & clouds roll in, then it can be clear the next minute. Always small projects to work on---and of course reading; the book exchanges are wonderful.
at 3:01 PM
We found the cruisers--anchored behind Isla Linton--a much prettier anchorage than dismal Portobello. I think the rain, mold,age and dirtiness of the city took away a lot of attraction for us. The 10 mi. motor sail here was awesome...the coastline and offshore islets are amazing. The blue skies and calm seas sure helped too! A group of rocks, the Los Farallones lies a few miles from here. A great birdwatching place, and also great for fishing. Isla Linton is uninhabited, except for a few monkey families that are not afraid of humans.
at 1:58 PM
We got an early start to our next anchorage (the norm)--raising the anchor around 0700. We motor sailed the 15 miles to Portobello (the 'beautiful port'-named in 1502 by Columbus). The skies are still gray-- seas not too bad--2-4 ft. Wind 5-8 knts. from the SW. We're the only other sailboat here, besides a catamaran. We're traveling solo--the off season it seems for cruisers, so we get many anchorages all to ourselves! This harbor has a lot of history--there are the ruins of four forts we can explore.
We motor sailed past the panama canal entrance, where 2 dozen ships are anchored, who are waiting for their green light to go through the locks to get to the Pacific side. We anchored for the night behind Naranjo Abajo, a pretty island close to the coast. The skies are gray; squalls intermittent. More relaxing, reading, and cribbage scrimmages. We seem to take turns on winning--it's never one sided!
We arrived at the mouth of the Chagres River at 0700, after motoring the night through rain squalls and light wind directly astern. The seas were 6-8 ft; it's the roll that keeps you from getting any rest. We anchored just past the entrance with Fort San Lorenzo in view--had breakfast and took a nap. At noon we continued motoring to our current position. We've seen no other boats, building, or signs of humanity yet...only thick dense virgin rain forest with many riverlets/streams to explore. This is all a part of Panama's National Park system, and I hear part of the US military's jungle training area. The howler monkeys have been vocal...they really sound like lions roaring. The river is about 6 miles up to the dam that they built in 1910 to create Gatun Lake as part of the canal. We plan on spending time here exploring the area---and enjoy the silence and solitude,(except for the calls of the wild birds and animals).
at 12:20 PM
We motorsailed 45mi. to Escudo de Veraguas, with variable winds and light rain when we approached the island. This is a 2.5 mi. long densely wooded island, about 10 miles from the mainland. We hear it's a great place to bird watch and explore by dinghy, with Booby Cay one of the tiny islands that dot the coral shelf. With the skies so gray, we may just rest up to make the 100 mi. leg to the Rio Chagres.
Of amazement to me is how far from shore the local fishermen go in ulu's (a sailing wooden like canoe, but sails are down when they fish); they get lost in the swells--they do the disappearing act real well. We motored past a group of them.....it was hard to keep track of where they were!
at 7:11 AM
Am I going back in time? Swivel was a guest aboard for a few days while his owner was away. He's an 11yr. old sea dog who brings back many memories for us. And no--we definitely do not want to cruise with the canine or feline species! Babysitting now and then is perfectly fine--we get a nice dose of spoiling! We've got our zarpe stamped for Porvenir and plan on leaving the Bocas area tomorrow. We'll be exploring the Chagras River before going there. We've met many wonderful people here in Bocas. I'm taking a good case of poison ivy??? or something like that with me (my ankle area only)--I hope the Caladryl and cortisone creams kick in soon! Just goes to show ya it's always something!
The anchorage here at Punta Rancho is called Starfish Beach because of all the starfish found in about 1-2 ft. of water before the dropoff. We took a walk along the beach and found 3 bamboo cages--strongly built....eventually got the truth....they're filming a segment of the MTV 'Island' series of 'reality games'. We saw the camera crew get dropped of by boat, but left before the 'players' arrived because we had a boat bottom to scrub, bread to bake in the oven, and food to prepare before we had some new friends (mv Limerick, a Nordhaven 40)come over for sundowners. What an experience to scrape the algae and barnacles off the hull with all the fish swarming around to feed on the scrapings...and the toxic red bottom paint! Tomorrow Michael will put on scuba gear to get the propeller and rudder joints. Clear water... beautiful shoreline...a nice view of the layered mountain range. We can hear the howler monkeys around sunrise and sunset...the parrots high pitch squawking as they fly in pairs. It makes us want to stay more than one night!
at 2:37 PM