Click this link if you want to start at the beginning:
FIRST BLOG ENTRY
If you want to start at the beginning of our trip:
START OF TRIP
If you want to see the story of our trip from South Carolina
(where we bought the boat)
to Lake Ontario Click this link:
After a little more than three wonderful weeks in the La Perlas Islands we returned to Panama City yesterday (Monday). We find ourselves back in the La Playita anchorage. Lots of rude local work boats, big wakes and dirty water. All necessary so we can get our last few provisions, fuel and our crew, Christina so we can set sail for The French Marquesas Islands on or about April 12th.
During our time in the islands we visited 5 different anchorages. Each offered something unique and special. From the "bustle" (I use the term loosely) of Isla Contadora, to the absolute solitude of Isla Canas, we have relaxed and enjoyed this jewel of the Panamanian Pacific.
Mike and Margaret (our good friends from Cozumel) arrived late last Friday and we met them at the Contadora Airport. I suppose "airport" is a bit of a stretch, given that there is only a runway, a guy who checks it for rocks and garbage, his dog, and a lady with a clipboard. They arrived from Panama City and we were allowed to meet them at the plane. (We are DEFINITELY NOT in Toronto anymore!)
|Checking for stones....|
|You get thirsty looking for stones!|
|The ground crew in action....|
|The baggage claim area....|
Our understanding is that much of the infrastructure of the island was laid down by the US military when they were responsible for the Panama Canal. In 2000 when they left Panama, it seems that much of Contadora went into a state of dis-repair. That was until a few years later when the folks who make the hit US TV show, Survivor made 3 series here over the last 10 years. It seems they infused enough cash and created enough interest in making this into one of the desirable places in Panama. The roads are all new, and they are in the process of raising the funds to install a new state of the art water desalination plant.
Mike and Margaret took Shelley and I out to celebrate my birthday on Saturday night. We had a lovely meal and a great time.
On Sunday morning we picked up our cruising friends, Lanny and Ginger from s/v SwiftSure and went fishing for the day aboard Blowin' Bubbles. As you may know from earlier blogs, we love to fish! With 5 lines off the back (2 on outriggers, 1 on a downrigger, and 2 straight out the back) we trolled for much of the day.
|Lanny & Ginger (s/v SwiftSure)|
As it so often is with fishing, we caught nothing. Around the time we were thinking of heading back to the anchorage, we saw a female Magnificent Frigatebird in some kind of distress on the water.
Magnificent Frigatbirds grow to have a wingspan of some 91 inches. They fly thousands of miles out into the ocean to hunt for fish near the surface of the water. They often steal food from other ocean birds as they themselves can't swim. Further, their own plumage is NOT waterproof.
This poor thing was really in distress, so we launched the dinghy and I cautiously lifter her into the dinghy. She (we know she was a she because of her markings) was so exhausted she let me help her into the boat. After getting back to Blowin Bubbles I got back on, and we towed her very slowly 3 miles back to land. She traveled well and when we arrived in the anchorage, we dropped Lanny off on his boat so he could launch their dinghy.
We anchored and Lanny and I slowly pulled our dinghy with Connie (by this time we had named her) in it, to a deserted area of beach. When we were about 100 yards from shore she saw the land and took off from our dinghy. Connie flew well considering all the crud that was still all over her wings. Shelley watched her land in a large tree on shore where, for the remainder of the day, she continued to dry and clean her feathers.
In case you are wondering how Connie got her name, we found her off the shore at Contadora Island, and Connie was also my mom's name...
We celebrated her life with a great meal and a few drinks (Okay, we celebrate everything with a great meal and a few drinks). By morning she was gone and we hope never finds herself in such a mess again...
On Monday morning just before day break we raised anchor and began the 40 nautical mile trip back to Panama City to drop Mike and Margaret off to catch their plane home. After Shelley helped me get underway, she returned to bed where she and Margaret stayed until we were almost at Panama City.
Mike & I put out the fishing lines and within an hour had 4 tunas! We kept 3 of them and let the last one go as the freezer was full.
After we anchored in La Playita we spent the afternoon at the Albrook Mall. Last night we enjoyed Marinated Tuna Steaks on the BBQ. What a great day!
Mike and Margaret left today. We so appreciate when people visit us. As much as Shelley and I love each other and enjoy our own company, having friends and family with us makes our life full...
We will spend the rest of the week here in Panama City getting ready for the biggest journey we will likely ever take... Crossing the Pacific Ocean.
We leave you this week with a few more STUNNING sunsets...