Coco Banderos in San Blas

Published on 28 January 2024 at 03:48

Wow, what a contrast between the sail to get here, and the paradise we've arrived at!


We arrived yesterday at San Blas Islands, a chain of 365 absolutely idyllic desert islands mostly protected by reefs, some heavily populated, some uninhabited, some (like the one we've found on Coco Banderos Cays) supporting just one family. 


We're moored just off an idyllic island, where we can swim or dinghy ashore, watch pelicans flying past, snorkel on the reef, set hammocks up in the trees, buy beer (and molas) from the local family. They asked us for a voluntary contribution of $2 per head for use of the island, or alternatively would sell us a beer for $2. Guess which option we took?!


Apparently there are crocodiles on some of the Islands; we're assuming this one is so small there aren't any here! We're also ignoring the fact that over a dozen species of sharks are reported to inhabit this area, including both tiger sharks and bull sharks, both known to prefer shallow waters and be particularly aggressive. Just spices up the snorkelling!


Tonights plan is the same as last night - barbecue on the beach before it gets dark then watch a film from our mobile projector on a screen hung from the palm trees, with local family (beer suppliers!) watching with us (we even put up Spanish subtitles for them!). What's not to like?!


All in all a great chance for us all to recharge our batteries after a challenging sail here. 


Our wingaker sail made a huge difference when we put it up on the way here, but we had to have all hands on deck to drop it as the winds picked up just after midnight. I was then on shift 2.30-5.30, then we were all up again on reef watch as we approached our anchorage at first light (6am). So not too much sleep - we were quite tired yesterday, but a fabulous day nonetheless. 


And we've fitted in quite a bit of boat maintenance too - the boat handles the rough weather amazingly well but it's undoubtedly taken quite a pounding, so needs a bit of tlc.


We had a leak in the fresh water system, so the pumps had pumped half of our larger fresh water tank into the bilges before we realised what was happening. All sorted now.


We also had seawater leaking into the bilges which we had thought was from engine room vents. We had to  question our analysis when it continued leaking in after we were anchored, but we've concluded that analysis is definitely right, with water just continuing to drain back from every nook and cranny it had managed to get into whilst in heavy seas. Quite an important one to sort though: keeping the water out of the boat and keeping the people in the boat are two fairly fundamental rules we work to!! 


We also had a spare fuel tank (with petrol for the dinghy) split whilst stored in the anchor well - which happily drains externally but has made for some interesting smells! 


All those problems are sorted now - the only outstanding one is why our solar panels have stopped charging, which we're thinking through and analysing closely whilst lying in hammocks on the beach, sipping beer (it is important to stay hydrated!!). I think a few more beers and we'll crack the charging problem too!


Another day here then it's on to Colon and preparing to transit the Panama Canal. 


Love to all - and especially today to AndyR, our thoughts are with you

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5 months ago

Wow. That looks fantastic. Sounds like the boat handles the weather really well. Your destinations are just idyllic. We love reading the blogs but are quite jealous as we read them here in cold and usually wet Derby. Fortunately the wine bar has Jaipur on draft to drown our sorrows. Looking forward to the next blog instalment

5 months ago

Bloody awesome. Enjoy the well earned rest. Very jealous! We’re heading to Galapagos this am. Then we won’t have connectivity for a whole week! Just like the old days. All the best! Bob and Sue

5 months ago

Just wow wow wow!! Sounds completely magical. What an experience you are having. Glad you’re managing to sort the issues on the boat - you’re very clever!! Photos look amazing - love the thought of sitting on the beach watching a film on a sheet - brilliant! Looking forward to your next blog and hope you manage to avoid the sharks 🦈 xx

5 months ago

Watch out with that trail of blood from your leg Bill...

5 months ago

Wow! I know that’s what everyone is saying but wow! Looks absolutely fabulous. Enjoy your little piece of

4 months ago

This looks so amazing- what a fantastic place and such a privilege to be there- bet you're pleased you didn't stay at home Amanda!! Sending love and hugs x

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