For the last 6,000 miles, the wind, swell and current often forced us to spend more time motor-sailing than sailing-sailing. But lately, that’s all changed. We’ve felt the warm, 10-15 knot trade winds blowing steadily from the north, bringing great sailing weather and natural air conditioning. For a boat from Seattle, these winds are quite a treat!
After a false start getting out of Panama City (ahem, barnacles fouling the propeller), we set sail – literally – for Las Perlas Islands, about 40 miles to the southeast. We had a lovely trade wind sail, with seas and winds on the stern quarter all the way. Fabulous. Las Perlas, (the Pearls) were once famous for, well, pearls. So much so in fact, that Spanish conquistadors attacked the native peoples, defeated their king and enslaved the pearl divers. Apparently you can still find oysters with pearls in them here, but I have yet to even see an oyster … In any case, Las Perlas are amazing. A taste of the South Pacific in the Bay of Panama, perhaps.
Besides pearls, these islands also have another claim to fame – a season of the TV series, Survivor, was filmed here. I wonder how they kept the cruisers from wandering into shots and offering the contestants cold beers.
After an overnight on Isla Contadora, we hopped over and anchored in the channel between Isla Chapera and Isla Mogo Mogo (which is really fun to say). We spent a couple days exploring, swimming, socializing and generally soaking up the awesomeness.
Two more islands conquered! Beat that, Palarran!
The first time we brought the dinghy to shore on Mogo Mogo, I stepped on this great purple clam shell. Always searching for cool shells, I stopped pulling the dinghy out of the water (much to Aaron’s displeasure) and picked it up. Neat! Not two steps further, though, I saw that the entire beach was littered with them. Hm.Teal-colored water, interesting rock formations and Aaron off exploring
We heard rumor of a citrus tree just off the beach on Mogo Mogo with fruit free for the taking. Free anything? Yes, please! If cruisers are one thing, it’s cheap, and the word “free” always makes our ears prick up. Plus how fun is it to pick your own produce? Of course we had to check it out, so we packed a picnic lunch and zoomed over. We’d heard the tree referred to as the “Mogo Mogo lime tree,” but after seeing it and looking it up in my tropical plant field guide, my best guess is that it’s actually a sour orange tree (citrus aurantium). The fruit is tart like a lime with a floral hint and reminds me of the limon mandarinas that were so popular in Costa Rica. In any event, we stood in the shade and picked a bag full, as I fantasized about all the delicious things I could make with them.
Mogo Mogo Meltaway Cookies. Holy crap, these buttery, sweet-tart gems are
amazing. Amazing! It could be my new favorite cookie. But then again, I do have
quite a thing for citrusy desserts. And breakfast treats, like …
The beauty of Mogo Mogo is incredible, and one day on the island just wasn’t enough. With our speedy new outboard, we were able to zip around to the other side of the island and do some real exploring. (That’s right. A new outboard, that doesn’t poke along or die whenever if feels like it, was our very romantic Christmas gift to each other.)
A few of the cruising boats in the anchorage invited us to a fish grill and bonfire on the beach. Our friends on Sundancer, who we met in El Salvador (and who did the Canal transit with Aaron), were there too – fun!
It’s been so much fun buddy boating with Ben, Molly and the boys again. Until we reconnected in Panama City, we hadn’t seen each other since we left Bahia del Sol in May! One day, we all decided to cool off by heading to shore for a little beach time.
After drying off and cleaning up, Sundancer had everyone over for a make-your-own pizza night – we brought the toppings, they supplied the fantastic crust and sauce (and an oven big enough for a large pizza!) So good. The view from their boat that evening wasn’t half-bad either. Thanks for the picture, Ron!
There are over 200 islands and islets in the Las Perlas archipelago, so we’re off to see what other interesting places we can find. Soon enough, we’ll be back in Panama City finishing up projects and getting the boat loaded down with South Pacific provisions. That basically means rum. Lots of rum. :)