Boca Chica Panama
Sitting at the open air resturant/bar in the small resort hotel
of "Gone Fishin" overlooking the anchorage at Boca Chica, Panama
, Life is not just good, its extrordinary. Over the railing and through the trees and shrubs that make up the landscaping, I can see a large motor
yacht, a very small sailboat, and about 12 other various size cruising sailboats and trawlers. In the view are 2 small docks surrounded by local launchas, a large bay, a plethora of islands through which wanders a channel to the Pacific Ocean
at the Gulf of Chiriqui.
Across is a large island of about 25 miles in length, on the end of which is the Hotel
Boca Brava, another small place with an active resturant and bar, aimed mostly at back packers as far as accommodations. Its small dock
being frequently mobbed by water
taxis and yacht dinghies. My boat "Someday" is anchored between our viewpoint and this dock
At daybreak, the sky was nearly clear with splashes of wispy clouds picking up the early morning hues. Our day started with a double size cup of coffee, "tug" and "fetch" with Anna. Then we started doing some last minute put-away and cleaning
to prepare for some people we had invited for a short day sail. One couple, Joe and Pam from upstate New York
cancelled as she still hadn't quite recovered from a 2 day infirmitie. The other invitees were Leo and his son Charlie who live in Boca Chica. Leo was the Panamenian boatman who towed us in when we had engine
problems; he speaks excellent English
. They showed up early, which allowed me to draft
them into helping with the embarcation.
started promptly. After anchoring
Leo's Panga, with my dinghy
"Somewhere" attached, we picked up anchor
and motored out past Isla Boca Brava, Ventana, and many others, too many for me to remember. Leo has spent his life here, so even though I think I've figured out the unmarked channel. I had him guide us out with his 9 year old son at the wheel
. Charlie became "Capitanito" for the rest of the trip.
We cleared the rocks at the end of Ventana, raised sail and cut the engine
. Winds were light so we were proceeding at a placido 2-3 knots, but it was fun and relaxing. Essentially we made a large circle just outside the channel for a couple hours, then sailed back to the entrance. Clouds were beginning to cover an increasing area of the sky, and turning from white fluff to streaks and bundles of shades of grey. Actually, we could have sailed in, as the West wind
was the perfect direction, but nevertheless, I started the engine, and furled the headsail. While it looks visually as though you could sail direct into the anchorage, the reality is that it is quite a curvacious channel with dangerous rocks at keel
along the way. I prefer to have the engine available to "throw into reverse" if the foreward looking sonar shows a dangerous obstruction.
Back in the anchorage after a very beautiful entry, we tried setting the hook in a different place than we had left. I have rarely required even a second try, and never a fourth, but we did today. It turns out there is a hardpan patch where we wanted to anchor
, which did not permit
it to bite, but as soon as we would slide back to where we were anchored before, it would promptly dig in solidly. So, we are where we were before; close enough to "Cruising TIme" to violate their privacy, but not so close as to make contact.
Leo volunteered to take our basura, including the results of our oil change
. Unfortunately, in transfering it from a bucket to a jug, we managed to change the color of my port side from White to black and spatter his as well. After wiping up what we could, we donated a spray bottle of Fantastick to future restoration
of his white hull
Well, that was several hours ago, and we decided to come to "Gone Fishin" to have fish
fingers (I've never seen them on a live fish) and green salads. And watch the daylight complete its swing.
A perfect day.