Five days waiting out the weather at Islas Casaya and Ampon
On the way over to Ampon, we put a line in the water to try and
catch some supper. As we passed the small Isletas Caracoles,
looking back we saw a Dorado chasing a Needlefish across the
surface of the water. Really something to see when these fish,
20-30 lbs or more, swim at 10-15 knots and literally fly across
the surface. Since Dorado is about our favorite "supper" I
turned RHAPSODY around to go back over that
spot to see if we could get a hit there (you can see the loops on the
Well, as we were heading back towards San Miguel, all of a sudden
we saw a big splash about 200 yards ahead and slightly off to
the port side. It was a pair of Humpback Whales breaching the
surface! We veered off a little bit to starboard so that we wouldn't
run over them, and watched in amazement, grabbing cameras and taking
pictures and making movies, as the whales repeatedly jumped up
out of the water in display behaviour. At one point we were probably
only 50-60 yards away when one of the humpbacks brought half his/her body out of the
water, rising majestically and falling with a huge splash. Another time,
one of them managed to get his/her tail out of the water and slap the water
several times with it. What a display!
After 15 minutes or so, they were still breaching, but we had gotten
far enough away from them to turn back to our original course.
We continued to watch them in the distance. Their display seemed
to slow down a bit and then finally disappeared as we got too
far away to see them.
We needed to pay attention to the boat anyway, since we now had to
make our way between a couple of partially submerged reefs
to get into the bay at Ampon. By following the charts and radar,
and using our depth sounder, we had no problem finding our way to
good holding with a nice sandy bottom in the bay. We anchored as far
into the southwest as we could, in about 12' of water at mid-tide.
We cut it a little close, as the water got down to 7.5' at full
low tide (we draw 6'), but it was good holding, especially with
200' of chain out!
There wasn't a lot to do in the little bay. Most of the beaches
were only present at low tide. At high tide, the whole bay
seemed to be surrounded by jungle that ran right up to the
water. I tried taking the dinghy out fishing one time, but
the shallow waters did not seem to be a refuge for tons of fish.
I guess there wasn't much structure or cool undercurrents
On another day, we took the dinghy out to one of the reefs
and did a little snorkeling, but, although the reefs are
potentially dangerous to boats, they are not particularly
rugged or interesting. The visibility wasn't great either.
Consisting mostly of large smooth rocks on a sandy bottom,
there wasn't a lot of life to see, so after an hour or so of
trying, we finally just went back to RHAPSODY to continue
We ended up spending 6 nights in the anchorage waiting for,
and then waiting out, the tropical wave that had been forecast.
The first few days there were nice, and then as expected,
the heat and humidity grew until we wilted, and then finally
the wind started blowing and the wave, with associated rains
and lightning, moved through.
We were glad we were in a good place. On the morning SSB
net, they were saying that, since the forecast was for 20-25
knot winds, we could expect gusts of 30-40 knots. As the wind
built up thru the day, in fact we did see steady 20-25's and
an occasional gust to 30, but never anything over that. It rained
very hard at several points, especially as it was being driven
by the wind. We had decided not to put up the rain tarp
because of the high winds, so we couldn't open any windows during
We stayed inside reading, working on web pages, mending screens,
and watching a movie or two to bide our time until the weather passed.
After nearly 2 days of the strong winds, on Thursday it
started relenting and the weather forecast for Friday showed
a nice day coming, so we decided, after 6 nights at Ampon,
to move on.