26th - 28th, 2007
The next morning we weighed anchor for Colón,
approximately 75 miles to our West.
As we were offshore, the wind and waves continued to build. We were battered by the oncoming swells, some reaching as
high as 15 feet and the wind gusted up to 40 knots at times. The seas were somewhat confused and it was a rough ride to
say the least. We were only
making 4.5 knots, and decided we’d had enough as we neared Isla
Grande. There were many
squalls in the distance and the swells were not getting any better!
We pulled in to the sheltered anchorage between the mainland and
Isla Grande in the early evening hours.
The wind was still howling, but the anchorage was rather calm.
Isla Grande is a beautiful and charming little
place – the anchorage is between the island and the mainland, so from
the boat we had both shorelines as our scenery.
There were many brightly painted hotels, restaurants, bars and
private houses on both sides of the shore, all looking like tropical
colored gems against the lush green background of the steep mountains
that rose out of the ocean. This area is renowned as a vacation spot for
well to do Panamanians. We
saw water taxi’s cruising by at all hours of the day and night
bringing people over from the mainland to Isla Grande and then back
again. We read in the
guidebooks about a couple of great places on Isla Grande so we lowered
the dink and headed in for some dinner.
We beached the dinghy and took a walk through town.
We came across one of the local bars that was in the guide book
and the author had raved about it.
The place was called “Pupi’s” and was a local Rastafarian
bar, a veritable shrine to Bob Marley and one heck of a bar.
They had drinks made from fresh squeezed juices and any kind of
liquor you could imagine. Pupi
poured us some drinks, and we picked up a new term -
“Pupi style” or STIFF!
We had met a couple of cruisers at Pupi’s and spent some time
getting to know them. Don had traveled around the world on his Cal 34 and Brian was
a friend helping him out for a few weeks and getting a free working
There were several open air restaurants right on
the water - we looked around, chose one and ordered some, shrimp,
langostino & Red Snapper. We
relaxed in the cool night air, ate and chatted with our newfound
friends. We got a lot of information about Bocas Del Toro and
Portobelo from Don.
The next day, Saturday, was very rainy and squally.
Mike & Capt Mark took the dinghy and headed west about 2
miles in the raging wind and swells to get a jerry can of diesel.
Sure enough there was a place to get fuel in the adjacent
village, and Mike and Mark returned victorious from what proved to be a
rather exciting dinghy trip. They decided to wait until the next day to go back for
another 6 gallons as the conditions were becoming even worse than
earlier in the day.
Sunday things had died down a bit and by 8am we saw Don
& Brian had already headed out to sea on Merinda the Cal 34.
Just a short while later they were back inside the anchorage and
as they passed us they yelled over that their alternator belt had
broken. They also said the
waves had calmed down a bit offshore.
After fixing the alternator belt, Don and Brian again headed East
to San Blas and it wasn’t long after, we pulled up Stray Cat’s
anchor and continued our journey West.
At the entrance of Isla Grande it looked like Mountain peaks
rising up from the sea
Capt Mark & Stu chillin' at Pupi's
Mike & Don from Merinda talkin' shop at Pupi's
Pupi had "Legend" a Bob Marley documentary
playing on the tv and it was fantastic
Pupi's was a really cool open air bar right on Isla Grande
Some definite Bob Marley influence - they had a helluvan
artist do this mural!
Kate with the latest Kuna purchase on her head, a Mola
headband, she needs to start saying No Mas Molas!
One of the tables at Pupi's made from a huge tree and
Pupi himself with Kate behind the bar
Pupi said it was getting cold, so he put his dreadlocks on, you
can see a very stocked bar behind him
Isla Grande is on the left and the mainland is on the right
this is the view as we were leaving facing East
There was a nice break here at surfer's beach
Isla Cabra - just across the inlet from Isla Grande
Another bungalow in paradise on Isla Grande
Yellow Bananas - Start Eating!! The island to the right was
Isla Linton and is uninhabited except for a few families of monkeys that were
introduced by a local a long time ago
The road from the mainland
Mike navigating the old fashioned way, the Chart plotter has a
mind of it's own