Posted by: catamarantwooceans | May 31, 2015

Panama–May 2015–part 3

14.5.15 – Thursday – I met Gili at the terminal and took her to the boat. While she was arranging her stuff onboard a big catamaran came into the bay from the west and anchored abeam “Two Oceans”; she was clearly a charter boat. We saw their dinghy leaving for a point on shore which looked like a garbage dump to dispose of theirs and when they turned back I signaled them to come over. I hoped the charter guys would give us information about a water source in the vicinity. One of them, who seemed to be the yacht’s skipper, spoke good English and said that we could get water at a small dock in Aquadup, an island very close to the west. That could be much better than trying to find the fresh water tap which appears on the chart with no accurate position.

We motored over and with the help of a local man on his cayuco (I learned this is the way the locals call their dugout canoes, not cayuca) we found the dock. It was a really small concrete dock with very short round stubs to one of which we tied our starboard bow, letting the wind keep us clear of the dock and the beach, which was no more than 5 meters away.

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Once secured I went ashore to look for whoever was the persona in charge of the tap. I was led to an old man, who authorized us to take the 70 gallons required. “How much is it?” “Twenty five dollars” was the answer. In Nargana we got the same amount for eight! I understood there was no point in bargaining; we really needed the water! The man came later with a receipt. We connected our pipe to the low pressure tap and waited patiently for about half an hour until our tanks were full. The dock’s coordinates are 09 27’.301 N 78 59’.947 W.

Mission accomplished, we turned towards Los Grulos islands and anchored by the western un-named and uninhabited island.

15.5.15 – Friday – Remembering the good fishing we had in the Eastern Holandes “swimming pool” area, we decided to spend the night there. It was a grey, cloudy day and when we arrived we noticed that there was a current of almost a full knot in the anchorage; swimming not recommended! As night approached the cloud cover thickened; thunder rumbled and lightning was seen from the direction of the mainland. I put my water catchment rig in place and then Yaron and I started fishing. Yaron positioned himself on the starboard stern while I was on the port side. Yaron, who initially declared the fish were being deterred by the current, started by taking out a jack, not our favorite eating fish. I countered by a snapper. Yaron – another jack; Miki another snapper. after three rounds I jokingly suggested changing rods and positions. Can you believe that once again the snapper was mine and another jack came to Yaron?

16.5.15 – Saturday – It was the last day on board for Asher and Yaron. Tomorrow at 0650 they would be taking off from Porvenir. On the way there we made a stop in the Western Holandes, the place with the reef Gili likes best, had a pizza lunch and continued to Porvenir.

17.5.15 – Sunday – The Air Panama aircraft that Yaron and Asher boarded brought Efrat and Moti Sokolov to  us. Efrat worked in Educational T.V programs and Moti, a professor specializing in technological systems, just retired from the post of president of an Engineering college in Tel Aviv. Moti had owned a 40 foot yacht in partnership with three friends which was recently sold; they are waiting for a 45 foot Hanse they ordered.

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We thought it would be best to start with a short and easy leg and sailed to East Lemon.

18.5.15 – Monday – Another easy one, this time to the Holandes cays. Midday stop at the western islands and then, for the night, we anchored near the island of Ogoppiriadup, west of the “swimming pool” area. In the latter we had good fishing and hoped for a return performance; that, regretfully did not happen.

19.5.15 – Tuesday – Early in the morning a cayuco came by. The man on it introduced himself as Victor; He told us that the island to our north was unique by having fruit trees growing on it. We, of course, were interested and an hour and a half later the man returned with mangoes, exquisite limes, a few avocados and bananas.   

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When I asked Victor for the price, he said we first had to pay for an anchoring permit for a month ( a proper receipt was given); for the fruit he wanted to barter. He needed rice and coffee and I gladly gave him nice portions. In addition we asked for some more mangoes, for which we paid in greenback dollars.

Once those transactions were over, we sailed to Coco Bandero. As night fell, I was sitting at the stern fishing, when strange shapes appeared in the dim light; eagle rays! When I shone a light in their direction they came right up to our boat, gliding gracefully all around us.

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There were at least four of them and their parade went on for a very long time.

20.5.15 – Wednesday – Needing to fill our water tanks, we sailed to Rio Azucar, where one could, according to the guide, fill up at the dock. We found it at 9 25.846 N 78 37.72 W. They charged 5$ for tying to the dock and 15$ for the water. I sat in the shade with two helpers, waiting for the operation to finish.

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On to Nargana for shopping and experiencing the Kuna village scene for Efrat and Moti, then the Rio Diablo dinghy excursion and finally Green island for the night. 

21.5.15 – Thursday – I had liked Cambobia very much on my last visit, so we went back there, enjoying the walk around the island and the calm, clear water. In the afternoon a Kuna man appeared on the white sandy beach in front of our anchorage and practiced his football skills, showing incredible control of the ball.

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22.5.15 – Friday – Gili and I, the snorkeling duo, took the dinghy to explore the reef on the eastern side of the island. We left the dinghy at anchor in a shallow spot and snorkeled for about half an hour; not a lot of fish, but as always some interesting specimen, like one of the giant crabs they have here, a big spiny puffer and a couple of squid. By the time we started going back the sky darkened, rain came and it blew 25 knots.

Back on “Two Oceans” Gili noticed that her gold bracelet, a present from her father which she never takes off, was missing. She could not recall whether she had it going into the water or perhaps lost it somewhere else. I had a feeling it fell off when she boarded the dinghy after our swim and once the wind and rain abated I went back, tried to anchor at the same spot and snorkeled looking for the lost item. I located the general area by its shallowness and swam doing a search pattern. After about ten minutes a golden link winked at me from behind a rock; found it!

We sailed on to Grulos, where we went snorkeling again (this time the bracelet stayed on board); we encountered a great ball of tiny fish. Floating calmly inside that swarm was a very special feeling. Regretfully I didn’t take my GoPro along.

23.5.15 – Saturday – Before going out a cayuco came and sold us four lobsters caught just a few minutes before. We had a nice sail to Carti for provisioning and then motored against a 15-17 knots wind to Chichime, catching a nice mackerel on the way. The inevitable chop made Efrat very queasy, but once at anchor she recovered and we had a great dinner, first course – fish ceviche and then lobster with pasta, washed down by Chilean wines. 

24.5.15 – Sunday – Last day on board for the Sokolovs; we passed it leisurely in Chichime and later in the afternoon relocated to Porvenir for their Monday’s flight to Panama City and back home.

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