Posted by: catamarantwooceans | February 23, 2009

Sailing with Yaron

15.2.09 – Sunday – Yaron came to Puerto Mutis just after 7pm. The man was thirsty and hungry after a long flight, a long bus ride from Panama City to Santiago and a taxi ride totaling 26 hours. We had dinner at the Montijo restaurant and retired to the boat. “Disaster” struck when Yaron, who is a smoker, could not find the cigarettes package he bought in the duty free shop anywhere. We will have to buy some here.

16.2.09 – Monday – Yaron found his cigarettes at the Chinese tienda and surprisingly they cost half the duty free price. Puerto Mutis is an inexpensive place for everything: fuel – 2.38$ a gallon; beer – 0.75 cents in the restaurant; a meal for two including three beers – 16.5$ and not to forget the transportation – 1.10$ for a 45 minutes bus ride. We left with the tide following a local boat that saved me from embarrasment when I almost passed Isla Verde on the wrong, shallow, side. As we exited the river and entered the relatively clean water of the ocean, I activated the watermaker. Sad to say it is not producing again! Big disappointment! Maybe the reason is the same old broken spring in the pump pressure regulator. We got to Isla Santa Catalina just after midday and dinghied ashore. The guide promised a pizzeria and an internet cafe but the single structure on the island was closed and deserted. Just before dark a yellow Wharram catamaran came by, a 30 foot boat I saw in Panama City anchorage in November. They said they spent two weeks in Santa Catalina (!) but maybe this was due to some technical problems. As dark fell another vessel approached shining a big  flood light all around. It turneds to be a big fishing boat, trailing two tenders behind. Had dinner and went to sleep.

17.2.09 – Tuesday – We decided to go north past Bahia Honda into Pixvae (don’t try to pronounce it…) The wind played the usual tricks and we were running quite fast trying to fish with the new reels. Some teething problems with those were overcome by the crew mutual efforts and we also took in three Bonitos. Since we don’t like the taste of this fish very much, we gave two to a fisherman on a small boat near Bahia Honda and threw the third back into the sea. Reaching the island of Medidor we saw the residence of it’s rich occupant, a certain Mr. Pigozzi. We were unprepared for what was revealed to us as we passed the entrance of the island’s main bay – a huge yacht and by it’s side a smaller one, perhaps a service vessel. Mr. P. is one hell of a rich fellow!

Pigozzi fleet

Pigozzi fleet








On to Pixvae, a village we hoped to replenish our stocks. We were greeted ashore by Ducha, her son Xavier and a daughter who shyly whispered he rname in a way I could not understand. Ducha, who is running for a seat as a representative for the area, sent the kids to escort us to an open tienda, shop; Others were closed for the afternoon nap. 

Yaron & Kids

Yaron & Kids

Again we experienced the frustrating phenomenon of being unable to purchace vegetables or fruit. Near shore tens of Pelicans were diving into the water in formations just like fighter bombers. We raised anchor and proceeded another mile up the coast to anchor behind Isla Juana in a quiet, uninhabited and beautiful spot. For dinner I gave Yaron his first taste of the house special dish: Thai Satay Mahi Mahi. Would you like to have the recipe? It is from a book called The Cruisers Handbook of fish – an excellent book – and it is originally named “Thai Satay Tuna”.Quantities for 4:
Melt 4 tablespoons of chunky peanut butter in a large skillet with 1 tbsp peanut oil, 1 cup 250cc low salt soy sauce, 1 tbsp garlic, 1 tbsp fresh ginger, add Tabasco or hot peppers to taste. Bring sauce to gentle boil stirring well. Cut fish fillets to serving size, add fish to boiling sauce turning to cover with sauce. Reduce to medium heat and simmer for 10 minutes occasionally basting with sauce. After 10 minutes – let sit for additional 5 minutes and then serve. Always a big success!

18.2.09 – Wednesday – Before going out of the bay we circled all around it. So many nice anchoring locations! Worth remembering in case I come back sometime. The wind and sea cooperated to make it a smooth sailing day. We put out two trolling lines, had something very big catch Yaron’s lure and break away with it. We had a visit by dolphins while all around us a feeding frenzy of fishes and birds was contiuously in progress. Finally both lines were hit at the same time by Spanish Mackerels and we called it a day as far as fishing was concerned. We were going north to a Rio Santa Lucia, where a few protected anchorages can be found. We flipped a coin to decide between the anchorage near Yurre village and Rio Tinta and the latter came up a winner.It is always nice to go into a river, where you find calm waters, mangroves,birds and above all – peace and quiet.

Rio tinta

Rio tinta









19.2.09 – Thursday – Craving some vegetables, we decided to go into Yurre and see what we can get there. The guide book said it was opposite Isla Conejo, a small islet in the Rio Santa Lucia but we could see nothing. Up river we spotted a dock with what seemed to be a navy or coastguard boat tied to it and also a derelict yacht lying on it’s side.











Thinking this might be the village we approached and anchored. We found out it was a base of the Panamanian Marine authority. They were nice to us and let us dispose of our garbage and fill up some water. Sailing out of the river into the ocean, Yaron was eager to fish some more. One fish took a bite but escaped right by the stern and then a Bonito was caught. We decided to let it go but when I tried to take the hook the wire leader broke and we lost the lure. This wire leaders are not strong enough and I will stop using them for trolling. We aimed to go to Uva island but as we got closer we reconsidered and made our way to Isla Medidor, Mr. Pigozzi’s place. After a bit of missing the right spot to anchor, we found our place just under the man’s manor in company with the two vessels we saw on Tuesday going north. Later in the evening we had a visitor. Louis, an American marine biologist, in charge of the local marine laboratory, came aboard for a drink and (god forbid) a smoke.

Yaron and Louis

Yaron and Louis









According to him the ship we thought to be a supply ship is actually Mr. Pigozzi’s while the huge motor yacht at anchor belonged to the owner of F.C Chlsea – Roman Abramovich. He also told us where to find the elusive Santa Catalina pizzeria!

20.2.09 – Friday – No wind today, we just motored to a place east of the entrance to Bahia Honda to try our luck drift fishing for snappers in 40 meters depth. On the way there we saw a lot of action in the water with prey and predators breaking the surface each trying his best to survive. Some dolphins came to visit and the top of the line – a whale – made an appearance in the distance. I tried to steer the boat to his assumed position but this guys dive for such a long time and we never saw him again. After becoming frustrated with the fishing we turned back to Bahia Honda. Coming head on was a fast boat sporting three 200 H.P outboard motors,that turned out to be the police in search of smugglers. Their leader with another armed man boarded “Two Oceans”, checked our papers and departed. The boat driver had a woolen ski mask covering his face and his eyes were hiding behind opake sunglasses oblivious to the oppressive heat. Very hush hush! Once in the bay we anchored near the house of Domingo, who seems to be a family chief here. Immediately he came over with his cayuca to do some trading. we exchanged a bunch of red bananas for proccessed yellow cheese. He remembered well the thieving of my rod and reel and talked in length about how bad it was for the community, urging me to go to the police, who may have some information about it. I took Yaron to the village, to see how some people live in the 21st century. Paid a visit to the police, who said the matter was investigated with no results yet. Oh well, not that I had high hopes!

21.2.09 – Saturday – Today we sailed to Isla Santa Catalina or rather to the village of the same name where we hoped to find the Pizzeria and internet. On the way the sea reminded us that it is not always easy going by blowing 28 knots and having us work hard reefing sails. At the anchorage the wind was still very strong so I let out a combination of two anchors and only then allowed myself to leave the boat and go ashore. This weekend there is some Carnival going on and on the beach a bar had loud music, few men drinking beers, a few women moving to the rythm and a lot of kids sprinklig each other with water.













The village caters to surfers and divers so there are clubs, cabanas and even a hotel. We walked a long way in search of the Pizzeria but as we got closer to it a local told us it only opens at 6pm. Pizza cancelled,we’ll have chicken on board.

22.2.09 – Sunday – Back into Rio San Pedro on the way to Puerto Mutis. Starboard engine, which worked OK in the last few days overheated again, so we will operate it in lower RPM. My next crew called to say they were on the taxi and will reach us about the same time as our ETA. Coming into port, the wind and current allowed us to tie to the fueling dock, take fuel, water and new crew. They are Avital and Mickey Zedaka, who live in Caesarea and are friends of our daughter, Ortal. Mickey did a skipper course and I believe this is his first sailing trip away from the Israeli coast. Yaron left the boat to rejoin his family and high-tech company.


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