12 nm for a week at Isla Espiritu Santo

From San Telmo it was a very short motor, some 6-8 nm north, to Isla Espiritu Santo, one of the many smaller islands surrounding Isla Del Rey. We had been talking via radio with Frank from WINDSONG about getting together for a jam, and since he was leaving the islands on Tuesday, we made sure we got there by Sunday afternoon, so there would be some overlap time to play.

As we pulled into the anchorage, we could tell why this one of the favorites in the Perlas Islands. There were about 5-6 sailboats lazing in the flat waters between Espiritu Santo, another small island (Isla Mamey), and the mainland of Isla Del Rey. The way it is situated, there is plenty of protection, particularly from the prevailing south-and-west conditions, and there is plenty of room; the boats were 200 or more yards from each other. As we pulled in at low tide and set our anchor just off about 1/2 mile of very pretty white sandy beach exposed on the island, we could see some cruisers tending a fire - obviously burning their trash. The whole anchorage had a very homey feel to it.

I went over to WINDSONG to arrange the jam with Frank. So, as soon as we were "down", I got in the dinghy, and went over to WINDSONG, where, cocktails already in progress, he introduced me to Royce and Pam from R-DREAMS. We quickly agreed to get together the following night, Monday, to jam. After getting back to RHAPSODY, we decided to play a small game of "meet the neighbors" and so took the dinghy, with beers in hand, to LAUREN GRACE and AQUASTRIAN, to meet them and say hello and chat for a bit before dinner.

The next morning, I got up at dawn, and while downloading weather faxes, a slow unattended process, I decided to change the zincs, which are pieces of metal attached under the boat so that the more important parts like the propeller and shaft don't get eaten up by electrolysis. Now that I was in a clean anchorage, rather than the dirty bay at Panama City, I felt like it would be fun even, to change the zincs.

So I got the snorkel gear out, dug out the replacement zincs from under a bed, and dove under the boat and replaced them. There is one at the end of the propeller shaft, a special shape, that attaches to our Maxprop propeller with three hex head screws, and another one attached to the keel with a single regular screw. Since I can only dive the 6' or so and remove one screw before I run out of breath, it takes me 15-20 dives under the boat to get the old zincs off, clean the contact points, and put the new ones back on. I didn't mind doing this kind of work though. The water was clean and warm and the sun was bright in the early morning light.

When I got back on board, we checked the weather, had our coffee and started off a very nice day. I was up for a little snorkeling, so after breakfast we got in the dinghy and went around the north end to the east/seaward side of Espiritu Santo, where we landed on a beach just opposite the one nearest RHAPSODY. A quick hike in the woods revealed that the island is only a couple hundred feet wide at this point, and a nice little trail connects to the beach on the other side of the island.

From the beach, we snorkeled along the edge of Espiritu Santo and out perhaps 100 yards to an even smaller rocky islet. Although the snorkeling was not great, as the visibility was less than ideal, the swim was refreshing and fun and we stopped for a few minutes on a ledge on the small islet before swimming back to the beach. From there, we completed our circumnavigation of Espiritu Santo by dinghy, around the south side of the island, and returned to RHAPSODY.

First Impressions of Espiritu Santo
Snorkeling Pics