February marks the one year anniversary of our departure from San Diego for our adventures aboard Embajador, the official yacht of Black River Caviar. The boat is on a 3-year mission to bring caviar to a hungry world while exploring exotic places in the Pacific and Caribbean.
In this issue of EmbajadorAdventure.com we discuss the crossing into Panama from Costa Rica, where the boat had spent the prior 3 months (click here to learn more) after traveling down the coast of Mexico, Guatemala, San Salvador and Nicaragua.
Naturally we will be fishing, diving and exploring new places as well as enjoying some of the local foods, cuisine and people. There is just too much to say about this magical place in one post, so stand by for more… (including an incredible discovery!!)
We hope that you will join us by clicking on the “Follow Us” button below and perhaps by commenting or providing us with information on some of your own adventures.
What many do not know is that the country actually runs East and West and is located East of Florida. It was once a part of Columbia.
The Canal was completed in 1914 by the US and was transferred to Panamanian control in 1999. The US actually favored building the canal in Nicaragua vs. Panama when it was conceived.
The Adventure Continues
Hold On, Not So Fast
Alex and his trusted crew had been preparing Embajador in Quepos for the last several weeks. Just as they were about to pull away, pop! – hydraulic fluid was coming out everywhere. There was lots of shouting and pointing as it poured from the bilge at about 16 gallons per minute. While the marina was busy sending a cleanup crew and an oil boom, Alex quickly shut down the bilge pump and hurried back to the slip to find about 40 gallons in there and a slick slime everywhere in the engine room.
The culprit was a broken high-pressure hydraulic line under one of the gen sets. As Embajador is a f#&king boat, the leak was in an almost impossible spot to reach. So – a four-day delay while Alex scrambled to find the correct fittings, hoses and 40 gallons of the right replacement fluid – no easy task in Quepos.
So – fast forward several days. After a lot of scraped knuckles and 4-letter words in multiple languages the crew was ready to start anew.
The fishing was good on the 130 NM trip down the coast, with the crew picking up a blue marlin, a couple of sailfish and several dorado for the freezer.
Early the next morning Embajador crossed into Panama checking in with the port captain in Puerto Armuelles.
Planes Trains and Boats
While all this was going on Elizabeth and I were on what seemed like a never ending 2 day trip down from San Diego to meet up with the boat. The trip included 2 airplanes, 4 car rides (including a 7 hr drive from Panama City to David), 2 hotels, and a long dinghy ride from Boca Chica to Isla Parida.
Boca Chica and Isla Parida
Most people access the area of our adventures here in Chiriqui by traveling first to David, Panama’s second largest city and then driving out to the small town of Boca Chica (pop 500 persons or so) thereby bypassing a long boat ride down the river through a huge mangrove complex.
The drive out to Boca Chica is pleasant, meandering through farm lands and verdant hillsides.
Elizabeth and I met up with Embajador anchored off of Isla Parida about 10 miles offshore of the mainland.
If you follow us you know that we had been looking forward to visiting the Isla Secas Archipelago (see our last post, and the next one to come) located about 20 miles off the coast. It was well worth the trip.
After spending the night anchored in the river, we got up early to make a short two and one-half hour cruise over to Secas, finding crystal clear water and plenty of private beaches. The captain set the hook in a perfect, out-of-this-world cove set between two white sand beaches and a motu. The afternoon was spent kayaking, snorkeling, swimming and lazing on deck.
The snorkeling was beautiful.
After diving, Elizabeth and I motored the tender around the island to find Islas Las Secas Resort (see our last post and the next to come), but could not get across a shallow reef to get to the dock.
While struggling to find an opening we noticed that the resort had deployed a dinghy of Its own and anxiously waited for it to divulge a passage. Abruptly it turned and simply drove up onto the reef bumping and grinding its way out to deeper waters on wheels attached to the underside.
A Near Perfect Evening
That evening we prepared a delicious dinner that started with Black River Caviar appetizers and ending with some of the dorado that Alex had caught a few days earlier.
About 8 PM the weather took a turn and the calm water that had once so warmly welcomed us turned to heavy chop as the wind picked up to 20+ knots, making for a very rolly night.
Back To The River
The Sea Gull Resort
After anchoring, we decided to head up to the restaurant at the Sea Gull Resort for lunch. Climbing the steep stairs up there was an event in and of itself. We returned later that evening for drinks at the Tiki Bar out at the end of thier dock.
Embajador was floating effortlessly in the calm mangrove waters on our return later that evening where the cloudless sky and warm evening air made for excellent star gazing on the upper deck after yet another delicious dinner consisting of both dorado and snapper that Alex had brought up from the depths the day before.
Elizabeth departed early the next morning to catch a plane back to Panama City and then on to San Diego leaving the rest of us on our own for more adventure.
We hope that you will follow us by clicking below as we continue our journey toward the Panama canal with stops at the famed Hannibal fishing bank, Islas Las Perlas and more on the way. First, we will be reporting on our visits at two contrasting venues, each with its own distinctive charm and cast of characters.
As always, we thank our sponsors down in Uruguay at Black River Caviar who provide some of the world’s very finest caviars and invite you to order some online today to make your own adventures extra special.