Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pirate Hangout

Whoohoo. We moved out of Bocas del Toro yesterday (Tuesday) and are anchored in Laguna de Bluefield or Bahia Azul. It is not named for the beautiful blue water but rather because it was a favorite hangout of the 17th century Dutch pirate, Blauvelt. We can see why, it looks like a great place to hide out and then attack!

Yesterday was a sunny day and we were grateful for the good light. We took an adventurous trip to leave Bocas via the Sumwood Channel. Channel is a bit of a misnomer – as getting into and out of the channel almost ran us aground several times. But we didn't hit and this was the first time that the guide book we were using wasn't quite as accurate as it has been in the past. We then ran a route through the Laguna de Chiriqui which has scattered reefs throughout. There is also a large aquaculture farm with many structures and markers. After that we headed into the Bluefields area. This is actually a large peninsula from the mainland. At the western end, it splits in the middle into two sides giving a bay with good protection.

We anchored on the southwestern corner in a place called Playa Raya. We chose this side, though it was probably more open to the swell, because it was away from the town. We don't think there are pirates here, unless you count the officials whom we understand like to charge boats a fee to anchor, to walk the island and to get to the Caribbean side. This side is beautiful with a palm studded beach, a few Ngobe Indian houses and lots of great bird, frog and bug sounds from the thick trees that surround the water. Several cayucas (open hand carved canoes) were out fishing, setting nets or just coming back to their homes yesterday. It is very peaceful and we are happy to be anchored here.

Our plan is to stay a few days, though if it gets too rolly we may wander to the other side. Today is swimming day though. This is the clearest water we've seen for awhile and it seems to be jelly fish free. Bocas was loaded with jellies of several varieties and even taking our salt water showers was challenging. We know we are near a reef because last night we had another spectacular display of the glow worms (Bermuda Fire Worms) doing their mating ritual. These bright neon green worms come to the surface after dark, swirl around and other critters dart into them and then there is an explosion of neon green. It was so dark here and they were so close to the boat it was amazing to watch. One of the best displays we've ever seen. The worm dance lasted several seconds and you could really see their mating partners dash into the dance. They are supposed to do this a few days after a full moon – so these guys seemed late – but there were hundreds of them.

Today is a sunny day – perfect for a little laundry then a good snorkel.

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