June 25, 2002. Islas Secas, Panama.
|N 7 deg. 59′ 24″|
|W 82 deg. 1′ 48″|
Last Thursday, we arrived at Isla Gamez and spent one day in a very pretty anchorage off a beach with swaying coconut trees. There was also a mango tree full of fruit and we collected a few. One other tree was full of sweetly perfumed flowers. We learned later that it was the tree frangipane. Its flowers are often used in perfume.
We also collected a bit of dirt from the island and planted lettuce seeds in various spare containers on the boat. It would be nice to get some fresh lettuce onboard. But the lettuce seeds are 2 years old and were cooked in the summer heat of Mexico, so we are no sure they will germinate.
Saturday, we left Isla Gamez and headed for the Secas islands were our friends on sv Espresso and sv Spray Venture were anchored. We could have spent a lot longer in the Isla Parida/Gamez area but the Secas islands were supposed to be just as nice and we were looking forward to see our friends. Besides, we had hot dogs (a gift from another boat) in our refrigerator (no room in the freezer) to share with everyone before they turned bad.
It was an easy 4-hour motoring trip to the Secas, which did turn out to be as pretty as advertised. The islands are very green, with several beaches, and many protected little coves. The trees growing wild include coconut, mango and lime trees. The water is very clear, with a visibility of about 50 feet, and rich with fish around the rocky edges of the many tiny islands. We went snorkeling for the first time this year and I (Birgitta) enjoyed admiring the colorful tropical fishes, while Clark tried his hand with the spear gun. Espresso and Spray Venture catch fish for diner almost every day. Since they do not have a freezer, it is the only source of fresh meat they have.
Birgitta showing off her diving suit
The day we arrived, all three boats (the crew of, of course) had diner on the beach, cooked on a beach fire. There was plenty of drift wood to burn and a nearly full moon to provide romantic light. We had fun exchanging stories and planned the next day party for Paul (of Espresso) who was turning 42
Since Espresso and Spray Venture were somewhat tired of fish, the birthday menu was hot dogs on Bimbo bread (the equivalent of Wonder bread) with homemade baked beans and a cabbage salad. Believe it or not, it was considered a real treat by everyone (except Birgitta who still enjoyed it). Allison had made a nice chocolate cake but it was too windy to keep the candles lit. After this early afternoon meal in the cockpit of Temptress, it started raining and we moved below to play Roborally, a fun board game with many twist and turns (literally). We shoot each other with laser, pushed each other into bottomless pits, got lost many times trying to get to the flag and had a really good time.
It has been raining off and on the last two days and we have been using the water to wash a couple more pillows and all our bedding again. Washing, cleaning, aerating are very important in this humid climate to stay ahead of mold and mildew which grow amazingly quickly on everything: clothing, greasy teak, baskets, leather, pillows, etc. It is nice to have lots of fresh water, and I enjoy the lush tropical forest, but I preferred the dry climate of Mexico. The water is also taking its toll on the boat with teak boards popping out of the deck and swelling around deck fittings causing the bedding compound to be squeezed out in curls.
We plan to stay here for quite a while, likely until Espresso and Spray Venture run out of food (mostly fresh vegetables, since the fish is plentiful). These are idyllic cruising grounds.