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
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
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.
a line added at the end just before the source footer