Summer in Bocas del Toro, Panama

We arrived in Bocas del Toro around the first of June. The Bocas area is an archipelago with multiple islands large and small and a few towns. The largest is Bocas Town on Isla Colon. The waters in the area are flat with many shallow areas but our Bauhaus cruising guide has very detailed soundings that are fairly accurate. The water is a greenish color,88-90 degrees F, and not very inviting for swimming and the on and off arrival of jellyfish makes that especially so. We have spent most of our time in the anchorage off Red Frog Marina where we could get wifi, 3 weeks in the marina where we left Voyager to visit home, and presently we are anchored off Bocas Town while we finish reprovisioning to head south to Kuna Yala (the San Blas Islands). On a beautifully clear day (necessary for visualizing the shallow areas) we visited a few of the other islands for snorkeling. There were few fish and no fish over 6 inches long. The local native fishermen definitely overfish taking anything they catch! While there were few fish, the profusion of different types of colorful sponges was incredible. Some coral but mostly sponges. The mosquito population on the water is small but the noseeums are plentiful especially close to the Mangroves. I don't have many pictures of the area as the memory card in the camera died and could not find a replacement locally.

dolphins play on our bow wake

Orange Pitted Sponge, Rope Sponge, Sponge Brittle Star , Featherduster worm

more Sponge Brittle Stars

Our trip back to the US was an adventure. We took an inter-island shuttle from Bocas Town to the commuter terminal in Panama City, a taxi across town to the Panama's international airport and an afternoon flight to LAX with a stop in Houston. After shopping for 2 days and collecting our mail and other packages that had been shipped to our son David, we drove to Mammoth Lakes, CA for the wedding of the daughter of Close friends, Bret and Bev Bihler. While there we took a few hiking trips to Devils Postpile, the lakes district of Mammoth, and Yosemite National Park. The difference in humidity (90% in Panama, (9% in Mammoth) wrecked havoc with our sinuses but we had a great time. After putting David on a plane back to LA, we then drove from Mammoth to Grass Valley to visit other close friends, Joann and Jerry Faught where we stayed a week. They showed us around the Grass Valley, Nevada City area, did some hiking on the Yuba River, ate wonderful meals and had a wonderful visit catching up on lost time. Then it was back to LA for 3 days for visits with our accountant, the dentist and optometrist and more shopping-all the things we could not find in Panama! We took a redeye from LA through Houston to Panama City arriving around 1Pm. Again a taxi from the International airport across town to the Allbrook Bus Terminal which is a busy hub for all buses in Panama. It was a little confusing with my limited spanish but we found the right bus to go to David, Panama,not sure there would be taxis available at that time of night to get to our hotel. We arrived after an 8 hr bus ride around 11pm. David is the second largest city in Panama that has a Price Smart (like Costco) and larger grocery stores than Bocas Town. We just hung out the next day recovering from the travel. Monday we met with Tobi Braxton, whose business is shopping and delivering groceries and other purchases from David to Bocas Town, who drove us around for shopping. I had a cardiology exam with a specialist-I am fine- and finished our shopping though not all the frozen meat I wanted because her freezer was not very large. We left David, taking a local bus across the mountains to Almirante on the coast of Panama, a local water taxi from Almirante to Bocas Town and another water taxi back to the marina.

view from park where wedding was held

Bev, Kayla, and Bret

Twin Lakes in Mammoth

bottom of Rainbow Falls in Devils Postpile National Park

Convict Lake

bundled up against the morning cold overlooking Yosemite Valley


Bret Bihler 8/21/2011
Sounds like quite a travel experience with planes, taxis and trucks with getting back to Boca. When do you plan on heading to Kuna Yala? I am looking forward now to my trip to Paraguay and Peru. Departing Oct 6, returning on Nov 1. The newlyweds came to visit last weekend, and all else is well. Bret
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