23 nm to Snug Harbor - Big Crab and Lobster Dinner

Our destination for this leg is Snug Harbor, about 25 nm from Nargana. It promises, at least from its name, to be a nice secure anchorage. The morning dawns partly cloudy, but promising, so we up anchor and get under way at about 7:00 am. As we leave Nargana, initially using our previously made GPS track as a guide, we finally cut a new course as we make our way through some shoals and the nearby islands before finally turn east towards our goal.

About this time, an hour or so into our day's journey, we are confronted with numerous dead-heads, logs, and other debris in the water, presumably the run-off a result of the heavy rains of the last few days. Wouldn't want to hit a floating tree at full speed, so we slow down a bit while keeping a tight watch for obstructions in our way. Meanwhile, BLUE SKY comes on the radio and tells us they are going to join us later in the day at Snug Harbor. They had been debating going out to the Coco Banderas Cays to do some laundry (they have rigged clothes lines on the palm trees on the beach, near a well), but decided that, since they need to go east to check out and back into Panama, they might as well make hay while the sun is shining, and "get it on".

As the morning progresses, we finally clear the minefield of debris as the weather begins to turn grey. All around us, except where we are, there are signs of imminent rain. Behind us, we can see the sky closing in; in front, the clouds from the ocean are moving to join those over the land in one continuous grey curtain. But it never rains on us. Anxious to get to Snug Harbor before the weather turns nasty, we have 1/2 of our mainsail up and are motor sailing at about 6 knots.

We are using a set of GPS waypoints from the Bahaus book, which we've programmed into the chartplotter, in order to make our way into Snug Harbor. There are a number of reefs to avoid and a couple of smallish, 125 yard wide, channels we must make our way through. As we are rounding the corner of the islands that make up Snug Harbor, BLUE SKY comes on the radio and says that they did indeed leave Nargana, but when they got to the debris field it started raining really hard. They decided not to continue due to the limited visibility and risk of collision, and so were turning into Isla Tigre, only about 5 miles east of Nargana.

Meanwhile, about 20 miles further along, about 2:30 pm, we finally made our way around the island of Mamaraga into Snug Harbor just as the weather started to change and it started to rain. We could make out one other boat as we looked for our spot, but couldn't see their name to call them on the VHF for info. Not knowing the anchorage, we headed for a waypoint, again from the Bahaus Book in the crux between the two main islands, Apaidup and Ogumnaga. The water was fairly flat, and yet the wind was blowing 15-20 knots and the rain was falling, so we were ready to stop. We inched our way towards the coziest looking place, using our FLS (Forward Looking Sonar) to help guide us through a final 25 yard wide channel into a nicely protected anchorage, nestled in the crook of Ogumnaga.

We hadn't been there 20 minutes when the other boat, which turned out to be BRUIDAIRE, called us on the radio, to introduce themselves. We talked about a possible get together, but the weather was still iffy, so we said we'd just hook up the next day.

The Kuna fishermen were out, in spite of the rain, and several paddled their ulus past us on their way back home after their day of fishing and diving. We met DeLeon, the "owner" of the island we were anchored at who told us he would bring us bread the next day if we wanted, which we did. We refused the first few offers of fish and lobster from the hardworking, wet, and somewhat chilled fishermen who came by, but then finally relented and from one we purchased 4 nice little lobsters for 75 cents each and a BIG CRAB for $5.

We've never killed and cooked a crab before, and this one was too big to fit in the largest pot we had, so we debated for a while how to dispatch him. I was not eager to get my hands anywhere near his vise-like pinchers. Finally we decided on an early cocktail hour, with a shot of Tequila for me and a shot of Rum for the Crab. This seemed to settle him down quite a bit, and after about an hour of watching him suspiciously and prodding him occasionally, I finally just threw a towel over him and dismembered him. The clawless lobsters are much easier to clean!

We heated up our big pot of water, put in the lobster tails and yummy looking crab legs, along with a few potatoes for good measure, and about 15 minutes later had a true feast. The lobster was, of course, delicious, but the crab was stupendous, with each claw giving up a large 4" fillet- like piece of meat. MMMmmmm. MMmmmmm. mmmmmm!