Puerto Escoses Huts

Puerto Escoses, Panama

We woke up in Puerto Escoses to an incredibly beautiful sunrise over the tree top covered hills, in calm waters with birds chirping and some other mysterious animal noises. (We later discovered they were howler monkeys) It is so serene here, this could easily become our new favorite bay.

In 1698, England sent 1300 Scots to Puerto Escoses to build Fort Andrew, but they had a terrible time faced with starvation and disease. Within 2 years, those that were alive returned to Scotland. However, just after they left a fleet of reinforcements arrived who made a second attempt to survive here. They suffered the same problems and Fort Andrew was given up for good in 1702. Today only ruins remain and they are hardly recognizable. Of the nearly 3,000 people involved, over 2,000 died. Gunas from the villages of Mulatupu and Caledonia own plots of land along Punta Escoses and often come over to tend crops.

From our view point, the huts look abandoned except the very vocal animals hidden in the depths of the forest. We took “Sweetie” out to explore the bay and get a closer look at the huts and were surprised to see the depth change rather rapidly. Just a few meters away from where we anchored it was 2 meters deep and you could clearly see that this bay was flush with amazing coral heads.

Huts over the water, uninhabited.

Huts over the water, uninhabited.

Coral heads under our dinghy.

Coral heads under our dinghy.

We took the time to fix our port dagger board which had been wedged in place. We use small pieces of PVC to wedge the dagger board so they don’t rattle. Unfortunately, one got stuck and prevented our dagger board from moving up or down. Matt and Wayne tied a halyard to the top of the board and raised it slowly to get the small piece out and bingo it’s free!

We lifted the anchor just before 10 to leave Puerto Escoses and head toward our next destination, Bahia de Masargandi. This deep inlet is a maze of mangroves and shoals. People from neighboring island, Ustupu work the mountains. They sail over in their dugout “ulu” canoes. We were told that you can ask them to take you for a trip into the remote farming plots and that they make great guides. However, they do not accept monetary payments. Rather they ask you to carry 60 lbs of bananas on your back, through steaming jungle, along winding, slippery paths. No thanx we pass!

The entire trip to Bahia de Masargandi was about 28.6 miles, with the wind on our nose and an average speed of 4.7 (max 7.6). We tried to fly the jib again, but she mostly suffered in a floppy state. So, just past Isla Iguana which is a deserted island, we turned the boat into the wind to stop her and then hopped in the water to cool off. So, we shut the engines off, put a line out in the water, and jumped in. Matt scrubbed the keel coolers and I cleaned up the water line. Quick shower and back on the path to Bahia de Masargandi.

When entering the bay, we had to be vigilant watching for shallow reefs and coral heads. The charts we have, Eric Bauhaus are the best in existence and so far. However we have found that they are not completely accurate. Of course, this is based on only 3 anchorages. Matt has the electronic Bauhaus charts on his iPad and MacBook Pro and we use our GPS and Navionics and they all have shown us on land when we weren’t. Nerve racking none the less.

With this bay, we had to reverse several times to avoid shallow spots. The depth dropped from 13 to 3 meters within a boat length. We anchored behind what we thought was a deserted hut on a small island but later discovered it was inhabited by locals who work the farms.

Summer home? I love it. Fisherman's hut.

Summer home? I love it. Fisherman’s hut.

Matt and Wayne took the dinghy out to test the depth around the boat in case the winds shift and move us into shallower water. We decided it would be best to drop a second anchor to ensure we don’t move over the 1-2-meter area to port.

Matt and Wayne checking depth.

Matt and Wayne checking depth.

We captured a few other pretty shots of this beautiful bay.

Sugar Shack enjoying the solitude.

Sugar Shack enjoying the solitude.

Boys out exploring.

Boys out exploring.

Wayne happy to be out with us.

Wayne happy to be out with us.

Beautiful shoreline with trees and mangroves.

Beautiful shoreline with trees and mangroves.

Different angle of the huts over water.

Different angle of the huts over water.

Deserted Island benefits:

  • Abandoned huts, place to stay?
  • Wildlife abound
  • Private bay and watering hole

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