Posted by: catamarantwooceans | May 31, 2015

Panama–May 2015–part 2

5.5.15 – Tuesday – At 0628, two minutes before schedule, the Air Panama single engine airplane passed “Two Oceans” on its way to land on the Porvenir strip. Yaron and Asher deplaned and came on board.

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The first item on Yaron’s agenda was cellular connectivity; Yaron has to be connected at all times to his business. We quickly found out that the local micro SIM card I bought was not compatible with his IPhone. He spoke to his secretary, who promptly arrange an expensive deal for him. Not that I didn’t tell him in advance that San Blas is not fully covered by cellular nets, the man could detach himself, even for a few days, from his work.

We sailed very slowly, with the wind around 5 knots, to East Lemon cays. The guys started soaking up the local views and atmosphere.

6.5.15 – Wednesday – A hazy, humid and windless morning greeted us. First action of the day was beaming me up to the top of the mast to try and arrange the wind instrument wind-vane, which was stuck. Spraying it with copious amounts of WD 40 did not do the job, so I had to dismantle it and take it down for investigation. On deck we took it apart, cleaned the corrosion around the vane’s shaft and that did the trick. Of course I had to go up again and put it in place.

Next we motored to the Eastern Holandes, to the area called “Swimming Pool”. Entering the area, a cayuca with four Kuna fishermen passed on our port, hoisting a big fish they wanted to sell. “Do you have lobsters?” “Yes!’’. They came alongside, a quick bargain ensued and we got three nice sized lobsters for dinner.

Yaron, who is an enthusiastic fisherman, started casting early in the evening. At 1845 I joined him declaring:”Now is the time”. In TWO minutes the first fish was out; after another 20 minutes I had two more and one big jack that escaped just as I was trying to lift it out of the water. Yaron took more time to take out his three fish while I got busy preparing dinner. Lobster on pasta penne in tomato sauce.

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                                         Waiting to be cooked

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                                         Catch of the Day

7.5.15 – Thursday – We sailed to Coco Bandero. Having cut the jack we took out to bait size pieces, we put one in the water to catch snapper number six to have two full meals. Coco Bandero, as always, was a delightful place. 

8.5.15 – Friday – Waking up very early in the morning, at 0630 I had some fruit and jumped in to swim around the island and its reef. Saw quite a few fish types including a barracuda and some rays. After everybody was up and fed we sailed to Nargana for water and shopping. As always, I anchored between Nargana and Corazon de Jesus; people from a trading boat tied to the town pier stated shouting at us to leave. No use arguing with the locals; we relocated to a position outside.                               Watered and provisioned we sailed to Green island where we spent a quiet night.

9.5.15 – Saturday – The day before we saw a few yachties’ dinghies going out of the Rio Diablo. We decided to go back to Nargana and make that tour too. The entrance, which is full of tree trunks and very shallow is difficult to locate; luckily a local cayuca was going out just as we where searching for it. Once inside, the water deepens and we could motor along easily. The jungle is right on the banks; mango and banana trees are all around. The Kuna people come here for their fruit and water. Adhering to our policy of not taking anything without permission, we stopped a man and bought three Pipas from him, Pipa being the green, drinking coconut.


Back at Nargana, we made another shopping sortie. One of the items needed was wine. The regular shops are probably not allowed to sell it. I was directed to the “Bodega” where a person of authority, who was pointed to me as “the chief” unlocked the door and sold me Chilean white and red in one liter cartons at 4$ a piece.

Looking for a quiet place to spend the night, we chose Cambombia, on the east side of the Naguargandup Cays group. With 15-18 knots from our starboard quarter we sailed fast, arriving there just for lunch. A charter Switch 51 was anchored stern to, tied to a tree ashore. On the west side of the island we saw some sheds and cayucas; I was not aware that the place was inhabited.

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10.5.15 – Sunday – In the morning we went for a visit; a man named Okenzio met us on the beach. When I requested to take a few pictures, he asked the women in the nearby shed and then turned to us and said we could only take pictures outside their compound. Walking around the island two things stood out: one was the amount of garbage washed ashore and the other the progressing erosion of the island by the sea. We could see coconut trees with roots losing their grip in the ground.


We motored a few miles to the west to anchor in the lee of Myriandup, where we stayed for the night.

11.5.15 – Monday – Fish stock in the freezer depleted somewhat, we went out trolling, sailing east with a nice 12 knots breeze, Yaron eager to catch a fish. His wish was granted and he took out another of those mackerels (not complaining).


We turned back to the west and followed the track in the cruising guide, motoring cautiously between mangrove islands to reach the Pandora island anchorage.


Pandora is right by the mainland, the jungle visible behind mangroves; we tried to get there with the dinghy but there was no approach to terra firma.

12.5.15 – Tuesday – Pandora to the western Naguargandup; another beautiful day in paradise.

13.5.15 – Wednesday – Gili is flying in today. She is going to come to the San Blas terminal near Carti, travelling by car and we are going to wait for her in the nearby anchorage of Nonomulyu island. But first I wanted to put a bundle of things for laundry at the Porvenir hotel. We sailed there with 20-22 knots of wind, averaging 7.5 knots nice! Laundry deposited, we took the dinghy to Nalunega, where we got almost all of the fruit and veg we required at the bar – restaurant – shop on the dock on the southwest of that island.

Next we sailed to Carti, hoping to fill our water tanks on the dock of Carti Tupile, where Gili and I did it a few months ago. Coming alongside that small dock was not very easy; I banged the starboard bow lightly but finally we made it and off I went to check the tap and arrange the fill-up with the local grocery shop. The shop was closed and the water tap disconnected from the supply pipes. Javier, a guy on the dock explained that the supply was cut more than two months ago. He said he was willing to take his Cayuco to the river a bring us 40 gallons of fresh water. We actually agreed on a price and I emptied my jerry-cans into the empty port tank in order to assist him in bringing a larger quantity.


Suddenly he started talking about the possibility of taking water on the neighboring Sugdup island. We quickly understood that he was retreating from his previous offer. We went ashore in Sugdup and found out that there was no one who could supply the 60-70 gallons we wanted. People directed us to all sorts of possible water sources. One was an interesting structure on the southern tip of the island.

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A man who seemed to be a supplier of fuel and engine oil took me by the hand and showed me a tap his family used to fill their containers. After consulting with two women who were doing their laundry there he said:“I can give you 10 gallons, you are my friend”. We brought our jerry-cans and the ladies filled them up. I insisted on paying and the leading lady of the family asked for two dollars.

Back at the boat, we started up and motored a little over a mile to the anchorage of Nonomulu. Yaron searched the sailing guide for a water source in our proximity and found a notice on one of the charts :”fresh water tap”. Tomorrow, after Gili comes to the boat, we’ll go there.



  1. welcome back to the air !!

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