Our sail to Bocas del Toro is our slowest passage yet. What should have taken 23 hours took us a little over 30 averaging 4.7 knots (we hope for 5.5). We fought a current along with head winds so we had to listen to the drone of the motor the entire time. Sure we could have put the sails up and tacked back and forth but with storms in the area and choppy conditions we wanted to get the heck off the sea as soon as possible. Finally our home for the summer came in to view. Bocas del Toro is an archipelago of islands with many shoals and mangroves scattered around.
We entered the channel between the islands using the waypoints and instructions our marina provided us. As the masts from the marina came in to view we started looking for the red barrel that would signal a turn to port. Hmm should be easy to spot on this totally calm water. As we started to pass the waypoint and still not seeing that darn red barrel we decided to turn anyway. We were happily going along thinking we were in the clear when we came to a grinding halt. Yep, we ran aground just outside the marina. The dock master was out in a jiffy to pull us off. ‘Looks like you guys went a bit wide.’ ‘Yes, we kept looking for the red barrel’. ‘Oh, the red barrel was stolen last week.’ LOL, would have been good to know when we hailed you 30 minutes ago I mumbled to Gary. But we also should have trusted the waypoints because we alone are responsible for our vessel. Luckily it is all soft ground and no harm done. Great for snorkeling a bit stressful for sailboats.
Rain has been the name of the game since we arrived. What we refer to as Jersey weather. In between storms we walk the trails, head to the beach, or go out in the dinghy. Our 4th of July BBQ with the other boats actually happened on July 5th due to rain, but a party is a party no matter what day it is when you are retired and in the tropics. We have a few beach bars and restaurants within walking distance.
The real action along with groceries is in Bocas Town a 15 minute panga ride away. Not ideal for getting out for happy hour and dinner but we did manage to have lunch at the Hungry Monkey, which is a surfing school with a four table restaurant serving great tacos and cold beers. Always amazed at how these little places turn out The Best Food. We also have a craft brewery a little out of town, which makes a very good stout and amber ale. Hoping to get back there when their IPA is ready to tap. They don’t bottle and their growlers will not fit in our tiny refrigerator. Oh wait, I just had a thought. What if we remove all the food!?
We have been caught in town in a downpour and frequently get drenched in the panga when we have a cowboy at the helm when the seas are up. How many gringo’s can we get wet today! Yesterday on our walk, Gary almost stepped on a green vine snake. This thing was a lime green color and I thought it was a piece of a tree branch. So much for snakes scurrying out of your way. Who told us that!? This type of snake is not venomous for humans but could cause a severe allergic reaction. Good to know! Wanted to share in case you are dreaming of sailing off to the tropics. Not for everyone and you pretty much have to keep your sense of humor. But one plus to the frequent downpours is we don’t have to wash the boat. A real plus for me because that is one of my least favorite jobs.