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Monday, December 08, 2008

Bahia Solano, Colombia to Bahia Pina, Panama

6 December 2008

We made great time during our overnight passage from Colombia here to Panama. We did quite a bit of motoring but with a 1-2 knot current in our favor we kept the engine at a low 1500-1600 RPM. And the best part was that we only had half an hour of hard rain even though we saw lightning to the south all night.

We anchored at 10:30 this morning, had a bite to eat, and picked Sarana up to see about going for a walk across the peninsula to Playa Blanca. The lobe of Bahia Pina in which we're anchored is owned by the Tropic Star Lodge but the guide books say that the resort usually gives permission to walk their beach and cross their property to the white sand beaches. A very nice man waved us in to their fuel dock and called the office after we explained what we wanted to do. We waited a few minutes before Kristi arrived to ask us our boat names as she consulted a laminated list. We assured her we were not on her list of member boats. She was very friendly and politely explained to us that they were in the midst of bringing a large private group in that day and we would not be allowed to mingle amongst the guests, not even on the beach right in front of the resort. She offered us the use of their moorings for $25/night, but I'm not sure that included shore privileges. (TSL monitors VHF channel 84 and you can make a fuel dock reservation to purchase diesel at $4.50/gallon.)

Disappointed but determined to make the most of it, we dinghied around a point to the much larger (brown sand) beach in front of the village of Bahia Pina where many of the TSL employees live. Even though it was low tide we made it over a shallow bar into a river, avoiding a surf landing on the main beach. The indigenous village children were riding their child size wooden dugout canoes through the surf having a great time. They approached our boats this morning after anchoring, but not until some sport fishers came in later did I realize they were waiting for us to give them candy.

Groggy from our night passage we had a quick dinner and went to bed early for an 0300 departure to the Darien Province the next day. Bahia Pina was a comfortable place to stop and rest, but with no access (other than by a long rough dinghy ride) to the nicer beaches we opted to press on.

Linda and John