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!