Panama Pacific Coast 2010

N 07° 59' W 82° 01'

Cruiser company again

May 21, 2010

After our fascinating and energetic morning snorkel at the northwest corner of Isla Brincanco on Friday (May 21st), we motored about 15 nm northwest into a light breeze to Las Islas Secas.  As we approached the main island, Isla Cavada, we joined a 45ft sailboat, Vahana that had come from the direction of Isla Coiba.  We talked to Judith and Harry on the VHF and discussed the various anchorages shown on the east side of the island.  They aimed straight for the northern bay while we decided to explore a bay further south that looked as though it would be more protected from the southerly swells.  It probably would have been but any good positions for anchoring there has been effectively blocked by some strategically placed mooring balls from the adjacent eco-resort.

The whole island is privately owned by the resort which consists of several luxury tents (handsome round yurts with many shaded windows) scattered in attractive locations on the south end of the island.  We suspect that the mooring balls (clearly marked as belonging to the resort) were intended to keep boats from anchoring too close to the accommodation and the private dock.   Since the guests were paying $300-$600 a night to enjoy a remote island get-away, perhaps keeping potentially rowdy cruisers further away was not a bad strategy.  Not that we could detect the presence of any guests in the resort while we were there.

Once we gave up on the southern anchorage we tried some of the other sites that the cruising guides indicated but found that they were either too steep (with shallow-enough water too close to too-shallow water) or seemed to have very poor holding with just a thin layer of sand over rock.  Both Mike and Dede and Jan and Rich had warned us that anchors often drag at these islands so we wanted to find a place where the anchor seemed firmly set.  Finally, we ended up at a spot a few hundred yards from Vahana and while it was not quite as protected from the swell as we had hoped, the anchor seemed to dig into the sand very well.

We were invited over to Vahana for the evening and Judith and Harry were the first cruisers we had shared an anchorage with since Las Perlas.  This delightful Canadian couple was on their way to Golfito where their boat was to be picked up on a ship for transportation back to Vancouver after 18 half-years of sailing around the world (returning to Canada for six months each year).  They had been struck by lightning during their overnight passage around the Azuero Peninsula a couple of nights before, knocking out some but not all of their electronic equipment so we were happy to share weather forecasts with them and they were happy to be near their destination.  It was fascinating to hear about their adventures around the world and it got us excited again about our long term plans.  While they were looking forward to finishing this particular part of the voyage, there was no doubt that they had some mixed feelings about the idea of finishing their cruising life.  After that much time and seeing so much of the world, unless something forces you to stop, it cannot be very easy to let it all go.

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