Thursday, February 11, 2016

Bahia Honda, Panama

The nice thing about the Pacific Coast of Panama is that you don't have to go too far for a change of scenery.  For the most part the next anchorage is just a day sail away - no overnights.  We had a beautiful sail from the Isla Cavada to Bahia Honda, that is until the wind picked up.  We began to notice a trend at this point.  Anytime we were ready to head north into an anchorage, the wind would fill in from the north at 20-25 knots making it very challenging to sail into an anchorage.  With the help of the engine, we made it in just fine and anchored near the "town" of Bahia Honda.  At this point, it had been a good 2 weeks since having a meal off the boat and our provisions and water were running low.  We quickly launched the dinghy in search of a cheeseburger.  I felt bad for the local kids who surrounded the boat in their dugout canoes, we were not in the mood for chit-chat.  We filled the dinghy with our water jerry jugs and headed to the dock.  

Once on land, we were greeted by Moses who spoke pretty decent English.  We explained to him that we needed water for our boat.  He quickly led us past several water spickets and to a teacher's home for a key.  We didn't quite understand the process, but went along for the walk.  The teacher then led us up a hill and unlocked the gate to the school property where he began filling our water jugs from a spicket near the basketball court.  After filling all five containers we began our journey down the hill to the dock.  Along the way, the teacher and Moses stopped male passerby's to carry jugs for Katelyn and I.  We would later find out that the island is divided into two sections, each section had running water every other day, the section we were in did not have running water that day (except for the emergency school spicket).  Did they tell us to come back tomorrow for water?  No, they just wanted to help.  

Our quest to find a cheeseburger was unsuccessful.  We settled for an ice cold Balboa at one of the three local bars.  By bar, I mean a concrete structure with six stools and possibly a small table that serves Balboa or rum only - no food.  We found that the locals didn't have much to do and spent a lot of time in the "bar."

We did find a tienda on the island.  It was more like a concession stand counter where you place an order from a window.   Options for groceries included eggs, pork & beans, spam, ramen, chips, and Gatorade.  I may have had a discussion with the captain about not stopping in Boca Chica for provisions...

Kennedy and his family paid a visit to the boat.  Kennedy is the son of Domingo who is referenced in the cruising guide books.  We traded a few items for bananas, pipas, papaya, and pineapple.  He wanted to make sure that we share with other boaters to stop and anchor near his home (shown in the guidebooks) for trading.  He needs batteries, gas, flashlights, fishing hooks, and backpacks.  He is not interested in money, just wants to trade.  Super nice family!

The island school is at the top left corner of the picture.  They have a magnificent view of the bay. 

I dug out extra school supplies that we were not using to donate to the school.  They have 130 students on a tiny island!  And that is just primary grades, secondary school is on the mainland.


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