We anchored just behind Gorgidup Island in the Coco Bandero group. It's just surreal here with the water silky smooth and clear as can be. We are in about 30ft of water and the bottom is clear as can be. Went for a swim and had a few rums to celebrate our arrival. Soon after we were visited by Serapio a local Kuna Indian that offered his services basically he would bring whatever we asked for the next day. We ordered some diesel, lobster, fruits and he was on his way. He was very small as they're known to be and super friendly and outgoing. After a big dinner we all went to sleep outside on the nets until we had a huge rain storm pass over us. It was such a downpour I quickly got the buckets under the awning as best I could to catch the rain water. Much better to drink than the desalinated water we make onboard with less minerals in it.
Woke this morning to glassed out seas all around, behind us two small perfectly placed palm lined islets and dark rainforest peaks on the mainland behind. High dark clouds and such quiet that you never seem to hear. It's so peaceful and calm here the feeling is hard to describe in words. Just imagine sitting on the aft nets after just waking to see an eagle ray glide past on the bottom while Ez swam above it.
Ate an amazing breakfast of muesli and fresh fruit and then Serapio came by to deliver our fruit and diesel and take another order for some Kuna bread. We decided to move Spirit over behind the other island near by but still within the same group.
Later on Ez and I decided to go for a snorkel while Johnny had a sleep. The coral health and fish life here is incredible. We spotted a large ray under a ledge then two lobster trying to hide further down the reef. There was large hard corals and many types of smaller soft corals. Moray eels and crabs. The bottom was mainly sea grass with coral beds surrounding each patch before the water dropped off deeper.
On the way back to Spirit two dolphins surfaced. Ez and I grabbed our gear and jumped straight back into the water and found ourselves surrounded by these two inquisitive mammals. We swam around for about 20mins just floating on the surface with the dolphins sweeping around us in the water. They seemed to be playing with each other, swimming close and pressing into each other. We would loose site of them and but be able to hear there whistles, clicks and screams underwater then they would appear again flash by and disappear into the deep. What an amazing morning and incredible place.
In the afternoon we had a nice visit from the local Kuna ladies that wanted to sell us some Molas which are stitched pattern work that they wear around the stomachs to increase their beauty. Here is one that we bought below.
The ladies were great and we offered them a coffee onboard and then Johnny got into the dugout with them and headed for the shore. We chilled out in the afternoon and relaxed to the settling sun and some quiet tunes.
Yesterday was another crazy day with weather. We decided to head to Rio Azucar near the mainland so we could head up the river and have a look. We first went to the town on the island to make sure it was ok to take outboard motors up the river as we had read that some rivers are too important to allow for the pollution of motors.
As we pulled in we could see Serapio loading provisions onto his boat. He had two teenage Kuna boys helping him out and they offered to come up the river. At first we thought it was to have a ride to a village but later turned out they were being tour guides. Showing us different birds and navigating the river shallows and fallen trees with precision.
There were many different kinds of birds with Johnny spotting a Kingfisher and also locals gathering fruits from there plots of land that were carefully cleared on the river banks and in the rain forests.
After venturing a few miles the river shallowed and we pulled into the bank. Everyone walked up to the river a little while the guides in broke English and Spanish tried to explain something about a large mountain and mud slide? And a very big water fall with all types of animals. It was funny and frustrating not being able to converse with them. A must to learn some basic Spanish!
The mountains were slowly being devoured by a huge dark cloud so we headed back to the dinghy and the small village to try and get back to the boat before the rain.
It turned out we just made it back in time as the weather started to deteriorate quickly once back onboard so we headed off to what we thought would be an easy 7nm trip across the passage to the most eastern of the group called the Cayos Holandes.
Not long after departure the rain came in hard and the wind increased inn the end we had wind from the south west to the north from 10-35kts and rain falling in blankets with no visibility. We were doing 6kts bare poled at one stage having to slow down and see if it would clear before we got close.
Crazy place, crazy weather, underwater life is awesome and today we have had gorgeous weather with thunderstorms in the distance but nothing close just 10kts from the north. Wonderful!
Ez swam into the reef that was behind the boat today with myself joining her about 20mins later and Johnny coming in in the dinghy just after me. It was about a 300ft swim into the shore and the water was deep. This is always when the thought of big things down there enters your head. I always try and think of other things and not get to worried but the thoughts always there.
The reef was nice, kind of up and down in depth with no normal coral wall and deep water. We swam towards the island were Johnny had the dinghy and Ez was further on swimming out to the boat. I spotted some large Trevally and just after that two sharks! They swam straight in and buzzed me. Wasn't much fun so headed straight to some shallower water where I hailed Johnny to give us a lift back to the boat. On the way back he explained his reason for taking the dinghy was the thought of sharks! I'll stick Johnny in the future I think.
Headed to Dog Island after this to snorkel the wreck there. This end of the group is really catering for the tourist. We've noticed beach restaurants on most of the small islands up here with tents and locals selling small items to the tourist.
Tomorrow we'll head over to Provenir to try and clear in and will also get some fresh lobster and provisions.
Well as it turned out they didn't want to know us in Provenir so we've headed out and will now make a fast paced trip down to Colon and the Shelter Bay Marina.
After some major rain squalls and RAIN we made it down to Colon. It was about 1:30am when we pulled into Shelter Bay. So glad to be here after the trip down the wind was so all over the place. Really crazy here with one minute from the SE and then the next from the NW at 20kts just all over the place.
Below you can see the AIS info on iPad. It shows all the shipping around us and their information, things like their destination, speed, name, length and what they are carrying are just some of the amazing things that can be obtained. Luckily most of them were at anchor!
Stay tuned next the panama canal!