Once in a Blue Moon

Our friend Jessamine Lewis came down for a getaway on Mermaid and she didn’t want to miss the opportunity for the blue moon over Bocas. We celebrated the blue moon at the Calypso cantina where Mike joined in with the band for a couple of songs on the harmonica. The next morning Mermaid headed out to explore the Bocas archipelago. We spent a couple of nights anchored in Porras Lagoon near the Rana Azul restaurant. Rana Azul (blue frog in Spanish) is a local institution with its affable, very German owner serving up pizzas and cold beer from a thatch covered palapa only reachable by boat. We dropped the dingy in but couldn’t get the outboard going so we rowed in. It was later discovered that a crack in the fuel tank cap had allowed rain water in and the outboard didn’t like that. The Jungle surrounds the well-manicured grounds and after getting directions from the owner, the girls set off in search of the elusive blue frog. There’s lots of very colorful tree frogs in the area and they didn’t find the blue frog but did come across some very cool green and black ones. We’d come across a different variety near Bocas Del Drago on Isla Colon a couple of days earlier and the girls would also find a red frog near, where else, Red Frog Beach. When it was time to move on Mike went up on the foredeck to hoist the anchor but found the windlass motor wasn’t working. After hauling in the 75 pound anchor and heavy chain under the tropical sun Mike declared, “I’m not doing that again” so we headed back to Bocas Marina.
Undaunted, the girls found a young guy on a catamaran who did day charters and signed up for a trip out to the Zapatillo Cays. The next morning dawned with scattered squalls but we decided to head out. With wind blowing 15 to 20 out the southwest we were having a nice sail as we skirted the squalls. The middle of the trip took us through a maze of mangrove islands with numerous reefs and shallow spots. Our mighty skipper told us he liked to go between two of the mangrove islands where the depth was five to six feet. No problem as the cat drew just under three feet. However, with the all squalls making landmarks impossible to see all the islands looked alike and the mighty skipper got a bit lost. We headed between two mangrove islets with the main up and went hard aground on a sand bank. We quickly doused the main that was pushing up further into the shallows when the skipper said “Time to get out and push.” Mike and the skipper went over the side into the waist deep water. We deployed anchor back in the deeper water and Robin did yeoman’s work hanging on and pulling us off. It took a couple of hours but we managed to inch off the sand and back into deeper water. Exhausted, we headed back to Bocas agreeing that we’d try again tomorrow. The next day was bright and sunny and with the skipper deciding to skip the shallow spot we had a nice voyage out to the islands. The Zapatillo Cays are a pair of small, palm covered islands with pristine reefs stretching out into the Caribbean. We dropped the anchor, lunched on a tri tip we grilled on the way out and the girls swam in to explore. The water was clear and blue and Jessamine frolicked in the surf with the waves pounding on the beach. It was getting late before we headed back, just getting through the shallows before dark. We arrived back at the marina well after dark but none the worse for wear.
We had always wanted to check out the Blue Coconut, an over the water bar and restaurant over on Isla Solarte. We picked a sunny day, piled into the dingy and headed over for lunch and a snorkel on the nearby reef. As we pulled up there was nobody in sight and a big sign that said cerrado. That wasn’t a good omen as cerrado means closed in Spanish. We were just about to turn around when a guy appeared on the dock. Robin asked him “¿esta abierto o cerrado?” He didn’t reply, just walked over and turned over the sign so that it read open. We were tied up and sipping a cold cerveza in a matter of minutes. Of course, we also had to sample a blue coconut, their signature drink, a mixture of lots of rum and blue curacao but decided one was our limit. After lunch we had a nice snorkel before packing it up and heading back to Bocas.
Due to the fact that Jessamine’s visit was during the rainy season it wasn’t sunny every day and one rainy day the girls headed into town for a pub crawl. They hopped from one waterfront bar to another between downpours but their favorite libation was the ginger rum, a frothed up concoction of ginger, lime and rum at Taco Surf. Another day they got a water taxi to Red Frog where they hiked the trail to the beach and had lunch in the jungle. Another rainy morning our friend Rosemary took all of us on a tour of Isla Colon. We saw lots of birds and sloths and had a nice walk on the beach. Rosemary dropped us for lunch and went on her way while we dined on some nice fresh fish. We caught a small, overcrowded bus for the trip back. Each evening in Bocas we would join the local expats for happy hour at the Cantina before retiring to Mermaid.5Isla Colon Frog

Jessamine Chillaxing

Jessamine Chillaxing

5Local Fashion

Robin Relaxing

Robin Relaxing

Lunch at Blue Coconut

Lunch at Blue Coconut

We Saw Venus at Blue Coconut

We Saw Venus at Blue Coconut

Rana Azul

Rana Azul

Green Frog

Green Frog

Local Experts

Local Experts

PUSH!

PUSH!

Robin Kedging

Robin Kedging

Bottom Paint on Mike's Shirt

Bottom Paint on Mike’s Shirt

Blue Coconut

Blue Coconut

Lobsters!

Lobsters!

Mike Grilling Underway

Mike Grilling Underway

1Blue Moon

Blue Moon in Bocas

Mike in the Band

Mike in the Band

3Crowded Bus

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