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.

Ensenada del Varadero