Posted by: catamarantwooceans | May 31, 2015

Panama–May 2015–part 4

We did not have internet connection during our stay in San Blas. Circumstances brought us to Turtle Cay marina, where Wi Fi is available, so I am publishing all the posts at once. Scroll down for whatever you did not see yet.

25.5.15 – Monday – Early in the morning I took Efrat and Moti ashore. We waited for their twin engine Islander aircraft to come from Corazon de Jesus and right when they boarded it the skies opened and rain started falling. Hoisting the dinghy from the water became a wet affair. The crew of neighboring yacht came out and showered in the heavy rain.

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The wind, usually from the northeast, did a 180 degrees and pushed us closer to shore. The moment the big bad black cloud passed, we upped the anchor and motored out; destination East Holandes, where I was hoping to catch some fish and move closer to the water source in Rio Azucar. The wind stabilized at 10-12 knots from the southwest so we rigged the pole and sailed wing and wing arriving in time for our pizza lunch. My fishing hopes were realized in the evening with three snappers and one that was perhaps a sort of kingfish.

26.5.15 – Tuesday – As planned, we filled up water in Rio Azucar, did some shopping in Nargana and then decided to go to an island called Coco Alto cay, or Ubigandup in the Kuna language. The guide says:”Advanced reef pilots can have the whole island and its associated reefs for themselves”. The author forgot to mention the mosquitoes, or whatever creatures the ones which attacked and stung us the moment we stepped ashore are called.

27.5.15 – Wednesday – Esnasdup, just over a mile to the northwest, seemed promising on the chart. A lot of reefs and a  lagoon in which one could anchor, protected from the sea by the reef. With the wind blowing 15 knots, we decided to anchor behind the island, where it was completely calm. No other yacht came, we could see their masts peeking behind the popular Green island. We went swimming into the lagoon, seeing a school of juvenile barracudas as well as other fish.

28.5.15 – Thursday – Morning brought rain. Thinking it wouldn’t last long, I was too lazy to put the water catcher in place. The rain, naturally, became heavier and lasted until noon; judging by the amount of water in the dinghy I could have gained quite a nice quantity into the tank. At noon a lull in the deluge allowed us to leave for West Holandes. Gili prepared lunch on the way and we had our salad and pizza a minute after the anchor was dropped.

Maintenance: a few days ago the windlass refused to operate just as I needed to lower the anchor. I let it down manually and then went too check. The relay clicked when I pressed the switch; some faint past memory had me tap the electrical motor with a plastic hammer – that did it, the windlass worked. Still, a proper solution is required, probably the replacing of the brushes in the electric motor.

29.5.15 – Friday – Early to rise, I put a baited hook in the water and continued with my morning rituals. About an hour later, when Gili woke up, I looked at the rod and the line was tight. Reeled it in and took out a small grouper. A while later and another fish joined the first.

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Gili wanted me to fillet the one on top. When it was done, I threw the remains into the water, saying:”look out, the shark will be here shortly”. Sure enough, five minutes later Gili called out:”A shark!”. A big nurse shark grabbed our offering and slowly turned back to the deep.

I stopped fishing after another fish was caught and then we went snorkeling. The reef near Waisaladup in the west Holandes is really nice. On the way back we saw a spotted eagle ray and then Gili saw our shark; I was too far to hear her excited calls.

In the afternoon we went for another snorkeling sortie; I told Gili she could expect to see something special because I left the GoPro on the boat for charging. After 15 meters of finning we saw below us a big turtle with three remora fish riding piggyback. We stayed above the formation for a while and then the turtle sensed our presence and hurried away. The underwater community performed another dramatic act as a five foot golden brown nurse shark, the one we saw in the morning or a close relative, took our hook after (our) dinner. I fought to bring it up to the surface, all the while trying to explain the operation of my camera to Gili but before a picture was taken the line broke. What a show!

30.5.15 – Saturday – We decided to go on Sunday to Turtle Cay marina, from where Gili would leave to fly home. We started by getting closer, spending the night in East Lemon.

31.5.15 – Sunday – Normally the winds are from the east; today was an abnormal one, with westerly wind; at least it was light and we motored the whole way. Five miles before reaching the marina we caught a 3.5 kg mackerel. That would be enough food for the near future, so no more fishing for a while. At 1400 we entered the marina. A lot of things to accomplish, one of them is finally publishing the posts to the blog.

On Tuesday Gili would leave and I’d go back to San Blas. My friend Itzik, who sailed with me twice before would come aboard. We’ll spend a few days in San Blas and then go to Bocas del Toro, where “Two Oceans” would stay for the wet season in Marina Carenero.



  1. Thank god for Wi-Fi. Great posts.

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