Monday, March 08, 2010

Escudo de Veraguas

A simple island off the coast of Panama has been reported to us a a beautiful stop over or even a destination in and of itself.

We had planned to stop briefly if weather was not settled or stay for a day or 2 if it was.  When we got there, our 'weather window' was short.  It appeared to me that something was coming in behind us that I could not read well other than it would bring some kind of unsettled weather.  My thoughts were to move on as soon as possible.  Passagemaking, as small as it is at times, is dependent on safe crossings that leave you at your destination in Good Light.  That is light characteristincs that let you 'read' the waters depths by sunlight.  When the sun is high/around noon time, the waters are much easier to read. Same is true if the sun is slightly behind you durning the mid day hours.  I wanted to have good light coming up to the shore and reefs at the Chagras River after Escudo.  There are no markers, no directors.. just a chart and some cruiser info.  Each entrance into this river and departure are on your own..  your the guy and you better make good decisions.

We approached Escudo in great weather and all went well.  The island looked pretty and we agreed we would come back and spend a couple of days here snorkleing and exploring.

My choice was to rest for a few hours, while anchored off the shore of Escudo and move on around dinner time.

While I was napping, a couple of fishing boats,

(dug out canoes, with fishermen) came towards our boat... slowly as they had free divers in the water .  When one got close, the boss man, in yellow hard hat gruffly told Dorothy in Spanish that he wanted $10 for us to anchor there. We had read and heard that there were a friendly family named Anderson's that were living on the island and this was their livelyhood.  OK, we had planned for them and had more than that in a carefully prepped care package of food items for them as well.  This fisherman and his 'tone and mannerisms' did not sit well with Dorothy, nor I, now awakended below. I layed there and listened.  She told him, the captain was sleeping and we were leaving that evening for San Blas.  He continued his demand for $10 but left when Dorothy said 'later, alligator!'

Around 5, I awoke again rested and we pulled anchor and headed for the Chagras River further East, near Colon/Panama Canal.  During our passage from BlueFields, I noted a number of big logs, trees and eddy masses of floating jungle debris, so thought it wise to run slow during the night.  We spotted 5-10 of these trees and large logs floating during the next 18 hours.

I don't mind following tradition.  I don't mind helping a family or a village.  I do not like the concept of paying to anchor anywhere,  AnyWhere.......  El mar is my poor Spanish..  The sea is Free!

 Fisherman' woman walks dog along beach as she carry's a big machete.

I will not pay a fisherman or another, who wishes to take from me what they have no right to.  I will be careful and respectful, but a thief is a thief, if only one or a government small or large.

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