1 November, 2019
24 October. We made all of our “Goodbyes”, and waited semi-patiently for our 15h30 departure time, which would put us into Laguna Bluefield in the Bocas del Toro archipelago by mid-morning. The weather proved to be benign (as forecast). Always a question after months of idleness, all systems functioned well, including the stabilizers that Scotty and I had serviced but not tested. The new charging parameters that I had set on our alternator regulator were spot on. The new batteries came up to full charge, and stayed that way throughout the passage. I went off watch at 01h00. It was calm and stuffy, so I opened the porthole in the stateroom. When I awoke at 06h00, it had been pouring for several hours with the wind on the beam. Try as I might, I couldn’t hide all of the wet cushions, drapes and rug from the Admiral. Every now and then, we all need a case of “Dumb #ss” to keep us humble. I have more of those than most.
Laguna Bluefield, an idyllic anchorage surrounded by tropical rainforest was our home for the next 24 hours. We just napped, chilled and read. Dolphins danced around the Girl for a few hours and the baitfish “boiled” the water most of the afternoon and evening. Our next stop was in the lee of the Zapatilla islands ( Numero Uno and Numero Dos). They are a popular spot for “Day Trippers” from neighboring islands due to their beautiful sandy beaches. We anchored about a half mile off shore of “Uno”, and dinghied in to a deserted beach where we spent the afternoon. The morning of the 27th, we were off to Bocas Town. We tried our luck fishing the Caribbean side of Bastiementos Island with no joy. At one point, Suzanne looked down from the pilothouse window and saw a Mahi swim by. Obviously, I was using the wrong lures. Nearing Bocas town, we realized that we weren’t ready for civilization yet, so headed deep into Hospital Bight on Bastiamentos. We tiptoed into the uncharted end of the bay, and dropped our hook amidst the Mangrove islets there. From our lonely base, we explored the bay by dinghy for the next few days. Oh yeah, don’t forget that it’s still the rainy season. Just because I haven’t mentioned the fact that there are intense lightning and thunder storms every day doesn’t mean that they aren’t happening. We had a delivery of boat parts and essential foodstuffs ( Gatorade, Reese’s cups, Pop Tarts, horseradish and etc. ) for our friends (from Santa Marta) Holly and Michael on “Pecaro”, that we received from Dan and Jackie at Shelter Bay. We dinghied the 4 miles over to where they were anchored in Bocas Town to make the much-appreciated delivery.
We hauled the anchor on the 29th, and made our way to Bocas Town. Since we already had a track on our chartplotter, the trip out of the end of the bay was much less stressful. It took 2 tries to get our anchor to set in the rubble-strewn Bocas anchorage, under the watchful eye of the USCG cutter “Confidence”, which was riding at anchor in the Bocas Strait. For the last few days, it’s been the usual “new port” routine, scoping out grocery, hardware and marine supply stores on shore, and generally sucking information out of anyone that would talk to us. Yesterday, (the 31rst), we did a 2 tank dive with Bocas Dive Center. The crew couldn’t have been nicer, but the visibility and dive sites left a lot to be desired. Not sure if we’ll dive here again.