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Friday, July 10, 2009
Isla Secas and beyond
Our first anchorage in the Isla Secas was on the east side of Isla Cavada. We were very surprised to find Panchita anchored there waiting for us. We had not seen Panchita for about 3 weeks so it was a good reunion. Isla Cavada is a private island as are a lot of the islands in Panama. There is a very exclusive resort on the island where the minimum accommodations are $300 a night. The funny part is all the rooms are separate and they are Yurts. Yurts are canvas covered structures on wooden platforms. All are very nice and come with every amenity you can think of (yes, even internet), plus the locations of each yurt was incredible,... but they are still tents! We were told we were not allowed on shore so we didn't push it and try. The next day we decided to go to a friendlier island that was still in the Secas. The island is in the southwest section, and called Isla Pargo. Only Rains book shows you can anchor there, but it was probably the best anchorage we had since leaving Mexico. We were protected on three sides from the weather and the visibility was 25 to 30 ft. The best so far. We were able to hike the island and snorkel in clear water right off the boat. Most of the fish we have seen before but it was still amazing. We stayed 3 days and probably should have stayed a week. When we left the Secas we decided to skip the Isla Coiba park islands because of cost. The cost varies depending on what they think they can gouge you for. Some friends of ours were told it would cost the $150 a night to anchor and $20 per person per day. They settled on $150 flat rate for 2 days and no receipt. When they moved to a new anchorage they were hit up for the same fee. As you can imagine this is out of my budget. Instead we went to Isla Medidor. We were told it was beautiful. With all the coming and going of construction workers the beauty was overpowered by the noise and commotion. We stayed one night and moved on to Bahia Honda. We checked out where every cruising guide said was the best place to anchor and ended up finding our own place near the entrance. We had much more protection and clear water so we were happy. That evening two families came by and offered us fruits and vegetables for trade or money. We scored bananas, spinach,culantro, mangoes, and avocados. The next day we tried to help one of the men fix his outboard, but he need to go to Panchita to finish the project. Later another local needed help with his spark plugs and I happened to have the right tool for the job. The next day I dove, looking for lobsters and found a 12 place setting of steel dinner plates. Later that day a load of local kids came over to see us and get whatever we were handing out--pencils, pencil sharpeners, erasers and steel plates. We stayed three very enjoyable days at this anchorage, but moved on to Isla Santa Catalina to find a place called Jamming Pizza. At the time we thought it was Jammin' Pizza, so the quest was on.