Pedro de Gonzalez island, Las Perlas
14 July 2012 | Pedro de Gonzalez, Las Perlas
Voyage: Balboa yacht club, Panama to Pedro Gonzalez, Las Perlas
Distance: 48 nm Time: 12 hours Average: 4 knots
In Johannesburg, you go to work early in the morning. You need to deal with a lot of traffic berfore you arrive at the workplace. Leaving Panama this morning, we had to deal with a different kind of traffic. The vessels varied between a few feet and hundreds of feet. some of them has a beam 3 times the length of Ntombi (34 ft). Traffic also flows in both directions and you cannot leave the channel due to depth constraints. It is amazing how soon you adapt to dealing with these enormous ships all around you.
Some of the most renowned pearls in the world came from the oysters on the seabed around the hundred or so islands which make up the Pearl Islands (Las Perlas) archipelago in the Gulf of Panama. The islands are mostly uninhabited except for some fishing communities and only a few of the islands have tourist development. But slowly, the potential of the Perlas islands as a beach resort and leisure destination is being realised.
We saw a very big school of dolphins practicing their diving skills on our way. We had a few close encounters with tree trunks drifting in the water. We actually hit the one trunk when Johan looked away for a split second (10m x 30 cm).
The highlight is the Dorado that Johan caught. He attempted again to fillet the fish. At least we know what we have for dinner tonight. The wind was very low and we had to motor a quite a lot in order to arrive at the island in daylight.
We arrived at Pedro Conzalez island and anchored close to Blueshift who was already waiting for us. We baked the fish Johan bought instead of the Dorado he caught and went to bed at 20h00. The Blueshift crew invited us to a feast that they specially prepared, but we turned them down, totally exhausted. Sorry guys.
On Friday Johan scraped the barnicles off the bottom of Ntombi. He saw that the one bush on the driving shaft came loose. Luckily there are 2 bushes and one is still in place. I was on my hands and knees scrubbing the deck - nothing cleans a boat like elbow grease. Ntombi is white as new and we can start our Sabbath satisfied and exhausted.
We went over to enjoy Fresh tuna, caught by Martin who arrived during the afternoon. I made sushi and Martin fried some Tuna steaks. The Blueshift crew contributed pumpkin and rice (with chicken). We had a feast and only got back to Ntombi at 23h30.
On Sabbath afternoon we went ashore. Johan said he heard strange voices calling him - when we went ashore we found lots of Mangoes and Coconuts. This island is still undeveloped, but there is unfortunately some development taking place at the moment. We could hear jack hammers the whole day. It is a pity because it is such a beautiful island with the natural habitat and only a small fishing village on the opposite side where we anchored. We picked mangoes from the trees and we also picked up some dried coconuts under the trees.
The crew from the other 2 yachts planned a fire on the beach for the evening. It started getting late and we decided to give it a miss when they called at 20h30 to go ashore.
We filled our water tanks (it helps if you have fellow yachties with a watermaker) and left the lovely island of Pedro de Gonzalez in the Las Perlas group to continue our long passage to Marquesas.