02 March 2010 | Nargana, San Blas
Tuesday, 2 March. Sunday was pretty much a duplicate of Saturday. It rained off and on, the wind blew strong and steady, and we did nothing. Well, we did not get to do what we planned to do which was more diving with the hookah. We were still in a beautiful place and had it all to ourselves and had plenty of books to read and cards to play so we didn't suffer too much. Monday was the last day to legally take conch. (Some say it ended at the end of February, but the official word on the Panama Connection Net this AM was that we had until 1:00 PM. And the day looked better. It was still pretty windy so there was quite a current, but the sun was out (at least off and on), so we donned scuba skins and weight belts, launched the hookah from the stern steps, and went hunting. We ended up with 10 conch, 1 of which I threw back as he was really too little. Deb and I have an on going debate about not only how small is illegal, but how small is too small to be worth the effort of cleaning for the amount of meat you get. This one we both agreed upon once we saw it with all the others. I quickly removed them from their shells and Deb cleaned them faster than I have ever seen. By noon they were in a bowl in the refer and we were underway for Nargana to hunt for fruit & veggies. Anchoring turned out to be a real fiasco and I still don't know why. Because of the wind direction, we sailed to the W end of the island and after rolling up gennie, motored along the lee, looking for a good place to drop the hook. The only place less than 30' looked too close to where the water pipe (4 PVC) ran from the concrete water tower on the island across the anchorage and up the Rio Diablo to bring fresh water to the town. I certainly did not want to risk hooking that! The chartplotter (which is often pretty off in these waters) showed an area of 16' which we tried to find. Find it we did, but also found that 16' quickly went to 4.2', the point at which we gently touched what sounded like hard marl bottom. NOT a place to anchor. We decided to anchor close to the shore of town although this can be dicey if the wind shifts as we had discovered at Tigre. We had just set the anchor in 20' and were preparing to add the kellet when Dances with Dragons called and reminded us that the noisy generator on shore ran all night here. (On most islands they turn them off ~10:00 PM.) So we pulled anchor and wander around some more. We finally dropped anchor in 28' just beyond the shoal and well from shore (though we could still hear the generator a bit). The anchor dragged even with 100' out. Pick it up. Set it again in about the same area, but let out 150'. It set nicely. Pick up 25', add the kellet, let the 25' back out (so kellet is on bottom) and add bridle and let out 25 more feet. We have less than 25' in the locker, but hey it doesn't do any good in the locker and we are (FINALLY) anchored securely and there are not boats close enough to have to worry about swing room, so we're set. Drop the dinghy and head for town. We could not find beer for sale except by the single bottle, but we did find an array of fresh fruit & veggies pineapples, oranges, melon, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes. We stocked up. Only the most pitiful of limes however. They will make a decoration for a gin & tonic, but it would take a half dozen to make one mojita. They say they will have better ones manana but our friends said they were told the same thing yesterday (and nothing showed up), so I doubt we will wait. Today we are off to find another island to snorkel/hookah. We can still spear fish (well, spearfishing is always illegal, but everyone does it discretely - whatever that means). But we have plenty of food. The only things we are low on is rum and beer and those we will be able to get in Portobelo, but probably not before.