We stayed in Isla Contradora in Las Perlas Islands for a few days. We hiked the island the first day here and it was a lovely island. There is a small (very small) airport on it and lots of beautiful beaches. We stopped in both of the small stores on the island and even dined out on a great chicken and rice lunch. Because of the big tides here we had to leave our dinghy way up on the beach and we were grateful that we had four people to carry it back to the water, which was much further than when we left!
The next day we put on our wet suits and went snorkeling. The water is much chillier than in the Caribbean. We went to a few places but between the surge and visibility, they weren't great. But we got in the water and did some exploring. There were lots of fish and things seem less colorful in the Pacific but everything is larger. That afternoon, we swam off Astarte and saw literally thousands of fish of all types. Huge schools of various jacks, snappers and bait fish. We spotted giant trumpet fish – the largest we've ever seen and Michael even caught on camera a "smiling" large moray eel. It was an incredible sight – all those fish in one area.
On Tuesday morning we left to head to a different island. We settled on San Jose, a private island that some friends were anchored at and said was quite lovely. We had a wonderful downwind sail - and of course, the fish lines out. Unfortunately, we had a fish line tango...the two lines twisted and rolled together – costing us a lot of line that had to be cut. We'll have to re-figure out where to put the pole holder. But we still did manage to catch a nice size tuna-type fish (identification pending the expert marine scientists in the family). Dave managed to bring it in, land it and clean it. We ate it that night "Mediterranean" style – and it was very tasty. We had so much fish with some leftover tuna and this large fish, we invited our friends Sunny and Blake to dinner with us.
On the sail over we saw a pod of whales in the distance. They looked like they were humpbacks – but a bit too far to be sure. But we saw them spouting and some humps. Always fun. And we've also seen many, many rays. There are these small rays that jump put of the water like jumping beans and flap away as they jump about ten feet out of the water. There are whole schools of these jumping rays and they are pretty funny to watch. We also see schools of rays swimming near the boat. In fact, as we came in to anchor, Barbara saw a school of them and thought we were about to hit rocks -until all the rocks moved when we got really close.
Dave, Lorna and Michael did do some dinghy exploring of the island in the afternoon. Barbara stayed behind to do some tidying and baking. Getting on the beach was too challenging with the huge surge – so they explored some caves and area rocks and enjoyed the sights. It is a very pretty island though a deep anchorage (more than 40 feet).
It was a fun evening with friends and stories...and a late night for the crew of Astarte. Our guests have less than a week left and we still have so much to do and see.
For the banana – fish catching study...we had no bananas on board and caught one fish.
Can't believe its already February.
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