To Ensenada del Varadero
On Wednesday morning we made to depart Isla Gamez. The rangers had told
us that there was a good anchorage and snorkeling on nearby Isla Bolanos,
so we set our course to go there.
After about an hour of motoring the 3-5 miles to Isla Bolanos, we pulled into the
anchorage on the north side as shown in the Eric Bahaus Panama Cruising Guide.
As appealing as the potential snorkeling might have been, it did not make up for the
rolly anchorage created when the south swells reflected off of the smaller island
just off of Isla Bolanos. After circling the anchorage for about 20 minutes trying
to find a calm spot, we decided to blow it off and proceed back
to Ensenada del Varadero, on the south side of Isla Parida. Even though
the anchorage was on the south side of the island, it appeared in the charts
to be well protected by the islet of Paradita.
As we made our way from Bolanos to Varadero we were taken in by the majestic
beauty of the many rocky islets we passed, ever cautious to stay as far
from the charted, submerged reefs as possible. It's quite something to be
out on the ocean and see waves breaking over a submerged reef only a few
hundred yards from the boat. And when the waves would break on some of the
islets, it was quite a sight to see.
Once we rounded Isla Paridita into Ensenda Varadero, as we hoped, the swell
flattened out and we found ourselves in another well protected anchorage.
Although the best anchorage, in a north cove on Paridita itself, was already
taken by a tri-maran, we decided to anchor off the main island of Parida
in a slightly less protected spot tucked in west, still a very nice anchorage, where
we had no problem sleeping at night.
There were three (indigenas?) families that live on the beaches in thatched
huts, and each evening one could see the smoke rising from the
coconut husk fires they make to keep the mosquitos away. When the
families would go out on the beach, they seemed very friendly,
returning our greetings when we waved to them. I even took the
guitar out and played a few tunes while one of the mothers and a
child apparently listened from the nearby beach.
We took the
dinghy over to the rock in the middle of the bay and did some
snorkeling the second day, pleased to find large living corals
dozens of yards wide, with lots of sea life around the rock.
Once again, the visibility was not great, but the snorkeling was ok.
After two nights at Ensenada del Varadero, six nights total
at Isla Parida, we decided to head over to the mainland to see
what we might find. We were a little bit sad to say goodbye
as we rounded the north end of Isla Parida, completing our circumnavigation of it.
But we were also excited to find out what lies next in store for us
as we head over to Boca Chica, and its many islands, on the mainland.