Tag Archives: live aboard

Panamarina Anchorage

Isla Linton and Panamarina

There is not much to do in Linton Bay.  No trails to hike, no beaches to explore, and only a few islands close enough to visit by dinghy.  We walked around the very small village of Puerto Lindo, in about 10 minutes and didn’t see much beyond the small huts where people lived.  So, it was time to visit the remaining two areas:  Isla Linton and Panamarina.

Panamarina is small marina just around the corner from Linton Bay Marina where we were anchored.  It lies in a protected mangrove creek and offers moorings and haul out services. So, we hopped in Sweetie and headed toward the area where there is an inlet that takes you directly through the mangroves.  Before you get to the inlet you have to navigate around a reef, which lucky for us was easy to spot with the early morning sun.

The inlet opening was pretty wide with huge mangroves on either side.  It is amazing to see how the roots of the mangroves intertwined with one another to form a strong barrier able to withstand strong storms.

As you continue down the river, the inlet becomes narrower and the mangroves stretch overhead meeting in the center to create a magnificent canopy.  It was so pretty hearing the birds sing and come to life as we moved through their neighborhood.

Beautiful canopy of trees on the way to Panamarina

Beautiful canopy of trees on the way to Panamarina

We weren’t going very fast because we weren’t in a hurry and we did not know how deep the inlet was, so we just enjoyed the ride.

The inlet deposited us into a bay where more than a dozen boats were moored.  We checked out the boats and made our way to the dinghy dock.

Panamarina mooring field.  Photo courtesy of Panamarina website.

Panamarina mooring field. Photo courtesy of Panamarina website.

Ashore, there are two yards.  A short term working yard and long-term storage yard.  Unfortunately, everything was closed as it was Sunday and Christmas Eve.  But it did afford us the opportunity to walk around the property.  Next to the office is a restaurant / bar with a pretty decent looking menu.  It also appears that they have several services available to cruisers such as mechanical, electrical, canvas, and carpentry.

After we returned from Panamarina, we went to visit Isla Linton.  This island is uninhabited except for several monkey families that live in the hills.  The monkeys usually come down to the dock in the afternoon and have invaded the abandoned house near the beach.  We were told that they appear to be friendly at first, but they quickly get agitated when they realize you intend to move on.

When we visited the island it was late morning, early afternoon so we were not expecting a monkey encounter.  We pulled our dinghy onto the tiny beach just in front of the abandoned house.

Abandoned house on Isla Linton

Abandoned house on Isla Linton

There is a lot of brush, weeds, and overgrowth here so it makes it challenging to navigate the shore. But, I found a small worn path and headed to the house where I wanted to find a monkey.  Just one, to take a photo.  The house had a retched smell and was littered with waste, no monkeys – just an old alligator hide tacked onto the wall.

Alligator skin tacked on to wall.

Alligator skin tacked on to wall.

Not much to see on this spec of land, so we took a few shots, howled for the monkeys, and left when our call was not returned.

Matt hiding from me

Matt hiding from me

Exploring Wins and Losses:

  • No monkey
  • Alligator Skin
  • Cool services at Panamarina
Dinghy Dock at Linton Bay

Sailing to Linton Bay

We had been “off the grid” for 12 days. It doesn’t sound that long, but try not watching TV, listening to the radio, or being online (no chats, texts, emails, news updates, Instagram, Facebook, nothing). As romantic as it might sound, it was really hard. There are a few options to get some wifi, but they all included leaving the San Blas islands. We could do a downwind run to Carti, broad reach to El Provenir, or beam reach to Linton Bay.  Linton Bay won out. But first we had to say farewell to Wayne who was being picked up from Carti.

We were all up early awaiting Wayne’s panga ride which was scheduled to arrive at 730am. They arrived promptly and carried our Wayne away.

Wayne leaving in a panga...heading home.

Wayne leaving in a panga…heading home.

We took this opportunity to do laundry, clean up the port side of the boat, and catch up on some laziness. We wasted the day away, but we did make a plan to head to Linton Bay to get fuel, provision, and find a sim card. Always good to have a plan.

The next morning we got up early, checked out the weather report, and discovered that 2 other sailboats that we knew were heading to Linton Bay as well. We deflated and stowed the SUPs, put the bean bags below, and readied the boat for her 45 mile day.

The winds were blowing pretty strong at 25-30 knots and a squall was predicted so we double reefed the main and the jib. The first few hours were great as we sailed along at 8-9 knots, beam reach, and 2-3 meter waves. As the winds slowed we shook the jib out completely and surfed the odd rogue waves that periodically gave us a bit of a push. The waves stayed big with some cresting at 4 meters, rocking the boat in an odd pattern, but the wind stayed strong enough for us to sail.

It was not the best ride with the funky winds, but it was good to have the sails up and the boat moving with canvas. We were escorted by a rather large pod of exceptionally big dolphins. They were a frisky bunch, showing off their best lords of leaping skills. Kept us entertained for well over a half an hour.

We arrived into Linton Bay around 1600 with the sun low in the sky and reefs all around us. We carefully motored into the bay and found a spot to drop the hook in 10 meters of water. Pretty deep water for us as we like to have 7 to 1 scope on our chain. We have 100 meters of chain, so it is doable, just a little out of our comfort zone. As we were anchoring, our friends Dave and Mary from “Wandering Rose” welcomed us with a frenzied wave.

Linton Bay Marina with haul out equipment in background with orange straps.

Linton Bay Marina with haul out equipment in background with orange straps.

We were finally able to get a signal off the GoogleFi phone so I checked emails, attended to some business and answered a few urgent requests. We decided it would be best to go ashore to get some intel so we dropped Sweetie in the water and headed ashore.

A quick stop at “Wandering Rose” provided some good information on the local pub, internet access, trash, and bus schedule. We headed up to the “bar” which is not much more than a floating barge with some chairs, tables, grill, and cooler. None the less, it had wifi.

Linton Bay Bar in front and marina office that ran out of money mid-construction.

Linton Bay Bar in front and marina office that ran out of money mid-construction.

Dinghy dock or panga dock.

Dinghy dock or panga dock.

We saddled up to the bar, ordered Matt a $1 beer and clicked away. Some other friends from “La Vie” arrived and gave us more information on local towns, provisioning, and safety. Not long after, Barry from “White Shadow and “Adventures of an Old Sea Dog” joined us.  Evidently, the bar was low on beer, had no food, and little ice.  So the bartender shut up shop, told us to lock up and left.  A party in Panama for sure.

This funny painting was in a lovely gallery.

This funny painting was in a lovely gallery.

This cracked me up - branding at its best

This cracked me up – branding at its best

MARKETING AT ITS BEST:

Love that the local stores carry some American brands.  And of course cheaper brands of the same cereal…wonder about the taste and quality?

Two-Palm Island Picnic

Ustupu to Mono Island

We got up fairly early as we wanted to make a stop at Ustupu on the way to Mono Island AND we had to pull up the second anchor. It took us an hour to pull up the second anchor. It is useful to have two anchors and gives you peace of mind when you use, it, but it can be a pain in the A$$ setting it and pulling it up. We had a muddy bottom, so we turned on the wash down pump to wash off the secondary anchor and our main anchor chain before it went into the locker. It was a slow process purging the mud from the chain, but worth the effort. Almost 2 hours later we were on our way.

Ustupu is the most populated community in Guna Yala. As we neared the village we encountered a tremendous amount of trash in the water, shoes, bottles, bags, etc… Perplexed, we anchored in the little bay across from the police station where locals were loading two large boats were loading trash. Maybe pieces were coming from there?

Image of Ustupu as we come into the bay.

Image of Ustupu as we come into the bay.

Ustupu from the bay.

Ustupu from the bay.

Just across the bay is a sacred islet where they have buried the great Nele Kantule, a very important spiritualist.  He lived from 1868-1944 and was a famous chief and medicine man of the Kuna indigenous tribe of Panama and Columbia.

Nele Kantule, medicine man

Nele Kantule, medicine man

Nele Kantule Burial Site on a private island

Nele Kantule Burial Site on a private island

We were certainly a curiosity for the locals as many dug outs came close to Sugar Shack to say “hola.” Matt made an excellent migas style breakfast and we scampered ashore. We had high hopes of finding somewhere to dump our trash, but until we were certain they had a way to dispose of it we left it on the boat. Ashore, everyone was equally welcoming, very friendly, and a few shook our hands.

The two-story building found as you approach the island is the official administrative building of Ustupu which houseschief’s secretary, Panamanian police, and administrative offices. Evidently, there is a fairly busy airport and a few shops/huts selling local wares.

Official administrative building of Ustupu.

Official administrative building of Ustupu.

A monument was constructed honoring Nele Kantule on Ustup.

Nele Kantule monument on Ustupu

Nele Kantule monument on Ustupu

We passed by several restaurants, a few stores, a church, school, and many communities of huts.

Nice road on Ustupu, Bridge connecting villates, Xmas tree made out of plastic bottles, dugout, church

Nice road on Ustupu, Bridge connecting villates, Xmas tree made out of plastic bottles, dugout, church

After a quick exploration, we headed back to the boat. It was clear they don’t get many visitors and we stuck out like a sore thumb. Some children anticipated our next turn and met us on the road which was fun.

Unfortunately, we witnessed several Gunas dumping their trash directly into the ocean. They boys had to shuffle me along as I gasped in horror. I know I don’t understand their culture or traditions and I need to learn that it is not my place to judge. Thank goodness, we did not bring our trash to shore.

MONO ISLAND:
Mono island is a mangrove line bay, quiet and protected. As we approached this little island, we saw for the first time on this trip, another cruising boat through the inlet. That’s ok, this bay is big enough for the two of us. Matt at the helm, was watching our chart and depth gauge, while Wayne and I were at the bow watching for shallow spots and coral heads. We maneuvered around a few tricky spots and found a place to anchor away from our neighbors.

Mono Island, I did not have an image from this island so this is from the Bauhaus book.

Mono Island, I did not have an image from this island so this is from the Bauhaus book.

After we got situated, we packed a picnic, hopped into the dinghy and headed over to what we affectionately called “Two Palm Island.” Its real name is Sutedup and it is about a mile away from Mono Island.

Sutedup island which we renamed, 2-Pam island.

Sutedup island which we renamed, 2-Pam island.

The island looked picturesque and we were soon giddy with excitement to have a picnic on our new private island. We pulled Sweetie up on shore and were faced with a lot of trash. It was heartbreaking to see this small piece of paradise covered in plastic bottles, shoes, and debris.

Noooooo...trash filled Sutedup island.

Noooooo…trash filled Sutedup island.

Matt proclaimed this “the island of the wayward flip-flops.”  Yet, we only collected shoes from half of the island – so sad.

Shoes collected from half of the island.

Shoes collected from half of the island.

Determined to make the best of it, we cleared a spot, put out our towel, turned on the music and opened a bottle of rose!

My boys!

My boys!

Yep, Wayne is having a good time.

Yep, Wayne is having a good time.

Rose on our own private island - does it get any better?

Rose on our own private island – does it get any better?

Beer holder - local style

Beer holder – local style

You can choose to look past the trash and see the beauty in anything:

View without the trash.

View without the trash.

As the sun was setting, we hopped back in Sweetie and headed to the boat for some dinner. We didn’t go ashore on Mono Island, but we read it has footpaths that can be explored between the mangroves.

Picture of Sugar Shack, a bit over exposed and far away, but cool none the less.

Picture of Sugar Shack, a bit over exposed and far away, but cool none the less.