Panama to Costa Rica

With repairs completed, spares and provisions stowed, we finally departed the La Playita anchorage outside of Panama City February 2nd to head north. We first made another tour of the Las Perlas Islands because they were on the way. We anchored at Isla Contadora again because of internet availability, thoroughly cleaned the outside of Voyager from soot and ash accumulated in Panama City, and snorkeled Isla Chapera for the first time. The water was clear, fish plentifull, but colder than we were used to. We island hopped stopping at Isla Pedro Gonzales, and Isla San Jose but didn't swim because of the jellyfish. We met up again with Sunny and Blake on SV Slow Mocean and had a nice visit. On Feb 8th, we made the 10 hr passage from the Perlas around Punta Mala which can have nasty currents and wind but our trip was good. We caught a Bonito for dinner. We didn't like Bonito when we caught some in California but that was many years ago- our opinion did not change. Ok for dogs and cats only. We anchored in Ensenada Benao for the night and the next day left at dawn for Isla Cebaco. I caught a 25# dorado on Pink luer. And then hooked something really large that it stripped the line off the reel before I could tighten the drag snapping the line and stealing my only large pink luer! The anchorage at Ensenada Naranja was not conducive for swimming or snorkeling- too much surge from the swells so we left the next morning for Isla Ranchera-part of Coiba National Marine Park where we had heard that the snorkeling was excellent in clear water. About 40min outside of Is. Ranchera we went by about 5 yellow sea snakes(poisonous) in the middle of nowhere. I'd hoped they were not in the coves where we anchored and they were not. The downside of this marine park is that fees charged by the park service are really excessive and could run $100/day so our plan was to avoid the main island of Coiba and hope we would not be bothered in the other smaller islands. No one bothered us on Is. Ranchera but we were only there for less that 1 day. The water was clear and warm but there were loads of what we thought were jellyfish strands- like pearls- in the water. Byron was the sacrificial lamb and went in to check the anchor and was not stung. I decided to wait until the next morning to see if he had any delayed reactions! On the 12th after leaving Is.Ranchera early in the morning we anchored in the Islas Contraras further north. There were less of what we are now calling egg packets and the snorkeling was fantastic. We wore wetsuits just to be sure and saw friendly Hawksbill turtles, lots of new fish, jumping rays all over(wish we knew why they do that) and really warm water at 87 degrees.The anchorages at Islas Contraras were beautiful and isolated. We had the islands to our selves.

Golden Pufferfish

Hawksbill turtle

King Angelfish- juvenile

Coral Hawkfish

Barred Porkupinefish

Our next island group was Islas Secas, also beautiful. There was a resort nearby so we saw local boats but only 1 other cruiser. Water clarity was not good and the jellyfish were back.

juvenile Cortez Angelfish

adult Cortez Angelfish

Giant Hawkfish

King Angelfish

Barberfish- a butterflyfish

Continuing north, we stopped in Isla Parada overnight and then headed to Golfito, Costa Rica, our check-in port. Tim at Land Sea Services was very helpful answering our questions, the officials were some of the friendliest and easiest to deal with but the check-in process took two days as the quarantine/agriculture official was not in the office when we returned from Customs. I found my instant yeast (not available in Panama) didn't find any ground decaf coffee yet, but found a tackle shop to replace my luer.My bread is finally rising properly!! Yeah. The bay in Golfito was very hot with not much wind and the water was dirty so we left after checking in.


Trish & Robert 3/18/2012
Hi Lynn and Byron, Enjoying seeing your underwater pictures. For the past couple of weeks we have seen large numbers of jellyfish in Moreton Bay. Hope you make it across the Pacific some time.
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