Islas Carenero & Bastimentos

During our first two weeks in Bocas, we stayed busy with boat and personal chores. We refilled the propane tanks, changed the engine oil, got our laundry done, made multiple provisioning, runs, built and posted webpages, and even went to the dentist and got our teeth cleaned. We did find the time amidst all of this to do a little exploring of the nearby islands.

This bay, Bahia Almirante, was "discovered" by none other than Christopher Columbus, aka Cristobal Colon, who named many of the islands here. The main town, Bocas, is on Isla Colon, one of the three islands that guard the north mouth of the bay. The small island nearest Isla Colon is called Isla Carenero, or "Careening Cays". Columbus named it that after he used the sandy bay to careen his boat (beach it, & tilt it over on the side) to clean the bottom. One day, we took the dinghy over to Carenero to check out the other marina and one small resort there. We spent an hour or so looking around and having a drink at the resort's bar, and talking with the owner who, by the way, was also looking for musicians.

The other main island that protects the mouth of the bay is called Bastimentos, and on another outing, we decided to take the dinghy there. There was reported to be a jungle trail that leads across the island to the beach on the ocean side. We parked the dinghy at a small restaurant, went in and ordered a couple of Cokes to patronize the owner and his family so they would watch our dinghy, and set out on a walk to find the trail across the island.

It didn't take us long to find the trail, and for the first 1/2 mile or so it was fine ... even paved in places as it made its way past the school and several small homes, climbing the ridge in the center of the island. After that, however, the trail turned quite muddy, even on the higher elevations, where you would expect it to be dry, apparently due to the previous rains. It was very messy going and several times we almost fell in the mud or lost sandals as we slogged our way higher and higher up the ridge.

When we finally reached the crest of the ridge, we realized that the path down to the beach was even steeper than the one we had just come up. We were looking down from 400-600 feet at a beach only a few hundred feet away, with only a small twisting path thru the jungle to guide us. Discretion being the better part of valor, we decided that the trail was not worth following, so we turned around and headed back down the ridge to Bastimentos Village, retrieved the dinghy, and returned to RHAPSODY.

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