23 nm from Bahia Honda to 3 nights at Isla Santa Catalina
Having gotten fuel in Bahia Honda, we felt more assured about spending time
in the remote cruising grounds of Pacific Panama. We had been feeling a little
anxious about the conflict between wanting to stay and explore these islands
and bays, and the need to have enough fuel to safely round Punta Mala and
make the final legs to Panama City. But now that our tanks were topped off,
and we had additional fuel on deck to boot, we felt like we could take our
time at any places we decided to go. The distances between the anchorages in
this cruising ground are typically quite small, 20 miles or less, so for the
time being we could even be said to have a surplus of fuel.
At 10:00 am or so, on July 15, RHAPSODY was the last of the four buddy
boats to leave Bahia Honda for the 23 mile passage down to Isla Santa Catalina.
WAHOO, KETCHING UP, and DELFIN SOLO were all an or two hour ahead of us
as we kept up contact on the VHF radio along the way. We were able to sail
for an hour or so in a light offshore breeze before we had to start motoring.
We heard the
other boats when pulling into the anchorage at Catalina, remarking
about the heavy rain they were experiencing, and, sure enough, a few
minutes later we, on RHAPSODY, encountered the moderately heavy rain squall.
Visibility was cut to less than a hundred yards as the rain gushed
out of the sky and the winds and seas picked up a bit. We were concerned
about having to pull into the anchorage under those conditions, but the
squall passed by and, an hour later, the rain had stopped as we motored
into the anchorage at about 2:30 pm and dropped the hook.
We anchored about 1/4 mile off the island, between the island and the
mainland. On the mainland at Catalina, maybe a mile away, there is a small town
which caters to surfers and tourists. On the island itself there was virtually
nothing manmade, except for a single, apparently unoccupied, house, a half
mile or so up the beach from the anchorage.
We spent three nights at Isla Catalina. I finally had a chance to get
caught up on the web pages thru Bahia Honda, and was even able to post them
to the web with my intermittent free wi-fi, so we spent most of the second
day there just putzing around on the boat.
The third day DELFIN SOLO, KETCHING UP, and WAHOO moved over to Isla
Gobernadora while RHAPSODY stayed another night and day at Catalina.
That morning, we took the dinghy across to
the mainland, landed there, and did a quick reconnaissance of the
surfer-tourist town, where we found a couple of tiendas, restaurants,
and pizza parlour. I thought maybe I'd be able to jam at the pizza
parlour, since it's mentioned in the Lonely Planet as having live
music, but it was the off-season and the place was not open while
we were there, and in general the town was very sleepy, looking to
close down at sundown. We stopped at the tienda and got a few
much needed provisions and then returned to RHAPSODY for the last
night at Catalina.
The next morning, a day behind the other boats, we left Isla
Santa Catalina and went over past Isla Gobernadora to Isla Cebaco.
As we were getting the boat ready to go, we found this little tree
frog hopping around inside the salon! We captured him and then
put him safely in the water. We watched him swim away towards
the shore before we fired up the motor, pulled up the anchor,
and made way.