First Explorations of Starfish Beach

Bocas Marina
Bocas del Toro, Panama

With just a few hours notice, we decided to pull out of the slip for awhile and explore the area on the north end of Isla Colon that we missed last time. We were joined by Neil and Kathy on Attitude and Tommy and Cynthia on Moondancer at a lovely anchorage at a perfect swimming beach known by the local expats as “Starfish.” The water is deep up to 15 feet from the beach, sloping up just like a swimming pool, with a clean sand bottom and a good protected anchorage a short dinghy ride from the restaurant at Bocas del Drago. On the way north, we passed Steve on Serenity cruising south. We stopped for a chat and anchoring instructions, and Steve asked if we planned to do any fishing. When we said “no,” he tossed over a light pole with a little lure on it, saying it might be fun to do a little jigging – he caught and released a lot of fish just for fun. We thanked him, found the anchorage, and Ole started jigging. No fish. More about THAT little experiment later. [Read more…]

Where the Chocolate Trees Grow

Green Acres Chocolate Farm & Factory

We chose to anchor near Camryka because we had heard of a little farm called “Green Acres” that happens to be their neighbor. Cruising friends had strongly suggested stopping in for a walk around the property, as Dave and Linda Cerutti, the owners, are manufacturing chocolate from the cacao trees they found when clearing and improving their property. We were a bit shy about just going over by ourselves, but when we saw a lancha speeding up to their dock with some tourists inside, we jumped on the phone and asked if we could join them for a walk. [Read more…]

A Few Days Cruising the Bocas Archipelago

After a quick blast through town for provisioning, we left Marina Carenero to explore the area for a few days before moving over to the Bocas Yacht Club and Marina.  Who knew that just an hour’s cruise from here there were absolutely deserted bays where the only sound was the howler monkeys hooting back and forth.  Superb!  We dropped anchor at  Big Bight, the first of the three bays north of here, and were stunned by the quiet – and the noise!  We figured we’d stick around here until tomorrow, do a quick run into town for the new impellors, then head for the next bay up tomorrow night.

Bartering for Fresh Seafood in Vivorillos

Vivorillos Cays, Honduras

Still here, still rolling at anchor, waiting for an opening, which Chris Parker, the weather guru, says we will have tomorrow as the wind slows and shifts more northerly and the seas calm down to 3-5 feet toward Providencia.

We have a feeling that the “incessant begging” that Capt. Raines speaks of in his guidebook may actually be the local fishermen, who boldly paddled up to us yesterday in little fiberglass cayucos and offered to trade us fresh shrimp for gasoline. Three or four pounds of shrimp for about 2-1/2 gallons of gasoline. Not a bad trade. We took the tank out of the dinghy, passed the guys a funnel and a hose, and asked that they leave us about half the tank. You could tell who the captain was by who was sucking on the siphon and who wasn’t. [Read more…]

Afternoon of the Iguana!

Barefoot Cay Marina
Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras

What a great day!

Yesterday we took a taxi down to West End, a spot that isn’t mentioned in any of the cruising guides for Roatan. It’s essentially a marine sanctuary, and the town consists of alternating dive shops and bars along a road, of sorts, that’s nothing more than graded beach sand with gigantic potholes every six feet to keep traffic under control. [Read more…]