Archive for February, 2007

On To Bahia Honda

Thursday we moved further NW to Bahia Honda. We had a great sail most of the way in winds that approached 30mph at times. The seas were choppy but we had a real nice ride with wind providing our power. A few big splashes of water jumped into the cockpit before we put up our plastic curtains on the windward side. The wind died about two hours out and that gave enough engine running time to top off our batteries. They were down from running the water maker much of the trip and running all our navigation equipment and the autopilot. The water is so clear off shore here that the filters to the watermaker stay quite clean. We did discover one mishap after our arrival. The left over sink in the decommissioned forward head had spray come out its drain hole and get water all over the place. We got it all cleaned up and decided that the best course will be to just remove the sink. The watermaker dumps its left over salt water out thru this drain but can easily be connected to the thru hull directly.

The bay here is well protected so the waters are quite calm. Bill is taking advantage of this calm area to replace one of our windows that has been leaking and also has developed many cracks. His plan is to take the whole frame out and cut a nice sheet of Plexiglas to cover the opening. Bedding it well with 3M 5200 should solve our leak problem.

This anchorage is very peaceful and in the evenings and mornings the howler monkeys and birds sing to us. Domingo arrived soon after our hook was down to ask if we needed any produce from his garden. This morning he arrived with two nice bunches of bananas: one soon ripe, the other “maybe” in a week and a very small pineapple.

Isla Cebaco

Thursday the water was crystal clear near Punta Naranja but the water was also full of small jellies that made snorkeling rather uncomfortable, so we decided to move on the next day. Friday we awoke to green water confirming our decision to move. In light wind we motor-sailed over to Isla Cebaco’s southern anchorage, enjoying the sea life along the way. Dolphins came to play at our bow three times, a big sea turtle swam by close off our port side, and off our starboard a big manta ray did flips for us.

The snorkeling off the reefs near our anchorage was ok on Saturday but on Sunday the north winds picked up and the water over the reef turned cloudy. Today we plan to explore the beach and two small rivers at the head of the bay.

Clean Water

Thursday, February 15, 2007

We are still anchored in the little nook near Punta Naranja and enjoying the snorkeling on the nearby reefs. We spent several mornings snorkeling the reefs near the point, which is not very far from the anchorage. Then, yesterday we went out to the islands off the point. The snorkeling out there was fabulous, with underwater rocky ridges covered in coral heads … some quite pretty. There were lots of the colorful tropical fish to watch as well. When we both got out of the water, too tired for more swimming, we dinghied around the islands. They are quite picturesque! We still have 4 more weeks to enjoy this area before we move on to Ecuador.

On to Western Panama

Sunday February 11, 2007, we dropped the hook in a rolly anchorage at the SE corner of western Panama after a wonderful sail westward around the Azuero Peninsula. We left our anchorage at Isla del Rey early Saturday morning and by 10AM the engine was off and it was not turned back on until 6:30 AM Sunday morning. Crossing the Gulf of Panama to Punta Mala, we had winds in the 10-20 knot range from the NW giving us a nice reach across the bay in fairly calm conditions. After Punta Mala, about sunset, the winds picked up and then REALLY picked up as we approached Morro Puercos a few hours later. We had a fairly rowdy, and fast, sail the rest of the night with winds up to 25 in an area that usually is without wind. The wind lightened this morning around sun up so we started up the iron jenny and motored the rest of the way into the anchorage. All night long we had to keep a good watch out for ships as we were traveling in a major shipping lane toward the Panama Canal. At one time we had 7 ships that we were tracking on the radar and there was seldom a time that at least one ship was not showing. We did get more, strong wind as we approached Punta Naranja but being “almost there,” we motor sailed (the main was up) the rest of the way to the rather rolly anchorage. As we were approaching the point we were also greeted by 3 dolphins that swam at our bow in the clear blue water. We dropped the hook about noon and after a nice lunch we both fell asleep for badly needed naps.

The wind changed direction 180 degrees while we were sleeping and the rolls died down making this a pleasant anchorage. We were only awake long enough to enjoy a dinner and a little reading time before we both were back in the sack for the night.

Cloudy Water

Last Saturday we moved over to Rio Cacique at the north end of the southern-most bay of Isla del Rey. We snorkeled on Sunday but the water was not very clear, then on Monday it was too cloudy to see anything. When it was still cloudy Wednesday, and other cruisers were complaining that the red tide had come in, we decided to move along to the islands of western Panama. The islands there are more likely to have clear water. The Humboldt current is known to move into the Perlas Islands in February bringing cooler, and therefore less clear, water and it usually does not get into the Western Islands.

We are still sitting off Rio Cacique waiting for the weather window to head west around Punta Mala. We tossed my kayak in the water on Wednesday afternoon and I have spent an hour in the late afternoons kayaking around the bay. The wind comes in gusts into here so I only have to fight the wind some of the time and the waves never build up. We have had gusts up to 25 in the bay but the winds at a bay near Punta Mala were 35 yesterday morning. Bill has spent much of his time again typing on his computer. He did take the morning off yesterday to seal up one of our leaky ports and get the lid back on the genset with tape on the corners to stop its annoying rattle.