Saturday, 13 February 2010

Oh Panama Part III

Panama, this is insane!
Have you ever seen a cruising boat without a list of things to do? Although some of the items on our to do list could not be done in Panama City, we've been able to put them aside for now and enjoy the time in Las Perlas. The islands have far exceeded our expectations.
We are currently in Isla Del Rey anchored off a black sand beach in Concholon Bay. The bay is lined with mango and coconut trees, Bristol Rose is the only boat at anchor.
Earlier this afternoon we stopped in at Esmeralda Village on the way from Rio Cacique. A man and a couple of young boys came out in a small dugout canoe to greet us. Before we had a chance to hand them a bailing bucket their little canoe filled with water and tipped. There was no great drama, Elliot came to the rescue with our dinghy and a bucket and we all shared a laugh.
We asked if it was ok to anchor and we were invited to come ashore to see some pearls (very tiny). Our purchase of some papayas and bananas and a dozen eggs went very easily with the help of a young man named Alexander, who is keen to practice his English. Alexander escorted us on an impromptu tour of his small town, introducing us to his family, pointing out the school, the cockfighting arena, the town park (a raised square with a large mango tree encircled by benches), the supermarket and the cantina. Although everyone we meet is genuinely friendly and welcoming, we can't stay long. We need to get to our anchorage before dark. A crowd of young children run to the beach to help us into the dinghy and say goodbye.
On the way around the spectacular southern end of Isla Del Rey we put out a lure to try our luck. It was lost within minutes. We re-attached another lure in time to catch a 20lb jack. Elliot quickly puts the line out again just as we turned to our anchorage for the night. This time it's a Mahi Mahi, just in time for dinner with more than enough for the five of us.
After dinner, using cut bait, we tried our luck over the side of Bristol Rose. In no time at all we have a 5lb Schoolmaster Snapper. This one we'll cook whole as our trusty guide to fishes tells us they're excellent eating. This is not insane, it's incredible!
What a day, once again Panama, the people, the beautiful islands, the abundance of aquatic life, all have surprised us.
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