Instead of sailing 44 miles straight to Vista Mar Marina, we decided to stop at Isla Otoque. This island is about 20 miles from La Playita and has two villages Otoque Occidente and Otoque Oriente. Just a mile away from Isla Otoque is a very, very small island called Isla Bona which used to have an industrial operation in the past, but only remenants of heavy equipment are left behind.
It was a fairly quick motor over to Isla Otoque as there was no wind. We swung into Isla Bona first as it looked really pretty in our guide book. However, the wind and current direction made for a bad swell so we decided to head back to Isla Otoque. There was one fishing boat, close to shore at the entrance. It was a huge bay, so we selected a spot closer to shore and on the opposite side of the bay. There is not much on the island other than old, broken down equipment that we could see from shore. We hung out on the boat, had a great rice bowl dinner with chicken, rice, corn, diced toms, chipotle peppers, black beans and cilantro – YUM!
In the morning, we headed to Vista Mar Marina where we are to drop off our old batteries and meet up with “Itchy Foot.” It is 22 miles from Isla Otoque to Vista Mar Marina, and to our great surprise, it was a perfect beam reach. We were thrilled to unfurl our jib and hoist our main. Just enough wind to keep us going at a steady 7 knots with an occasional 8 or 9 knots. There is nothing like the feeling of sailing in perfect conditions. The sun on our back, the wind on our face, and the beautiful sound of the ocean lapping around us.
We arrived too quickly for our liking as we were having fun – 3.5 hours. We were tempted to turn around and do it again, but alas we had things to do. The water drops to about 9 meters about 3 miles from the breakwater. As you get closer it drops to 4 meters. Very strange. We decided to fuel up first, so the marina met us at the fuel dock. Pretty painless and fairly reasonable at $3 per gallon. (about $.20 cheaper than La Playita).
After we pulled into a slip, secured the boat, and said hello to Jon and Mia, I headed to the office. We only decided to pay for a slip because it is really inexpensive. We thought about anchoring outside, but having access to free water, wifi, and electricity was too good to pass up. It turned out to be $25 per night ($.50/foot). Keep in mind that we normally pay $2-$2.50 per foot plus an additional 50% because we are a double wide. So, this is really cheap. They are trying to attract more boats to their marina, since they are new. With rates likes this it is hard to say “no.” We know of 4 other boats here: Itchy Foot, Freya (from San Blas Islands), Iris, and Kefe.
We headed to the pool to cool off and have a beer with Jon, Mia and Teo (Itchy Foot) and enjoyed a nice sunset. The top pool is about 2′-4′ and has a nice negative edge overlooking the marina. The bottom pool / jacuzzi is RED which looks like a pool full of blood in the photo, but in real life it is actually interestingly pretty.
The next morning, Mia and I went for a walk and then enjoyed a little noodling in the pool. I used the water aerobic / noodle routine we did in Bonaire. The book was written by a fellow cruiser, Awilda (“Willie”) Haskins called “Noodling at Sea.”
Matt took this opportunity to wash down the boat with the pressure washer and fresh water. He also swapped out our old batteries with the new which was no easy task. Trying to manuever 90lb blocks within the settee proved to be a challenge, but he got the job done and they are working like a charm!
IMAGE: Top photo is of the old battery bank. Middle photo is the old batteries (gray), with the honda generator and the new batteries (black). Bottom is the new battery bank installed and working.
We dropped off two of our older batteries to “White Shadow” (Barry is visiting friends in London), and the marina took care of disposing the other 5 batteries. We kept one for emergencies. The marina also took away our old window coverings that had yellowed and ceased being “presentable” and old defunct honda generator.
We finished cleaning and putting oil on our teak sugar scoops and they look lovely, finished our fruit, helped “Itchy Foot” with their rigging, cleaned up the boat, more noodling and pool time.
A group of us went to dinner at the local restaurant called “Boga Bar” with Jon, Mia (Itchy Foot), Johana, Timlo (Iiris), and John, Becca. Not my favorite place, the food was average to poor and it was pricey, but the company was first class. Top image is the bar and bottom image is Mia and I having a tasty cocktail.
COMING UP NEXT:
- 150 mile passage around Panama Point
- Exploring dozens of small islands between Panama and Costa Rica
- Costa Rica