16.5 nm for 2 nights at Ensenada Grande, Isla San Jose

We left Pedro Gonzalez at about 10:00 for the short, 3 hour, 16.5 nm trip to the east side of Isla San Jose. Now that we've had some time to decompress, we've begun to develop a plan for surveying the many many islands in the chain. We've decided that we'll visit the three largest islands first, working our way to the southernmost end of the chain, then come around the east side of Isla Del Rey, then visit the smaller islands on our way north back in towards Panama City. By going to San Jose next, we were visiting the 2nd of the three largest islands in the chain.

We chose the Ensenada Playa Grande anchorage because, once again, it seemed to be about the best protected from the south and west, and it worked in well with our emerging plan. When we got there we had the whole, large, perhaps 3 mile wide, bay all to ourselves. Isla San Jose is privately owned by "Aeroperlas" owner G. Novey. Though there is a resort here (on the west side of the island from us) and a few scattered residents, the island is largely uninhabited, so here we finally got some of the primitive experience we were hungry for.

We dropped anchor in about 25' of water, perhaps 250 yards from shore. The anchorage was a little rolly though, particularly in the middle of the night when the slight current and breeze turned RHAPSODY sideways into the small swell. But the rolly night was worth it when we got up the next morning, did the dinghy drill, and went to shore for some exploring.

We found ourselves on a long stretch of beach that we had all to ourselves. After walking perhaps 1/2 mile along the beach we came to a cut in the jungle where it appeared a path led inland. Donning our rain gear, which we wisely had brought along, we hiked along the path, which turned quickly into a well maintained gravel road, as a heavy tropical rain began to fall. I know it doesn't sound like much, but we were both very happy to find the trail/road and be able to walk thru the jungle, occasionally protected by the canopy of palms overhead, while the fresh rain fell all around us. It was quite beautiful!

We walked perhaps a mile and a half, up to a ridge line, then along its ridge, until we came to a river that we realized was flowing to the other side of the island. We must have crested the island, crossing the watershed for the river. We spent several hours just walking along enjoying the sights, smells, and sounds of the jungle.

We got back to the boat and had another rolly night at anchor, so, the next morning, we decided to leave Isla San Jose.