The heat – it’s over 30c every day and humidity has got to be way up in the high 90’s. It doesn’t slip much below that at night, but we are in the tropics so it’s not like it’s a big surprise and it’s easy to jump overboard to cool off.
The thunder and lightening storms – this one is quite a major really, as there just isn’t anywhere to hide. When those forks of lightening start heading our way and make the water around us sizzle all we can do is cross our fingers and pray. We are getting a major lightening display about every five days, and can see lightening in the distance most nights. Sometimes the storms can last for hours but normally end by about 10am. As yet we haven’t had wind over 30knots, and rarely have any wind with them at all. There is usually plenty of rain with them so we have full water tanks nearly all the time, the boat stays clean and the laundry is kept up to date .
And then there are the bugs – We were expecting mosquitoes to be our biggest problem on the insect front but thankfully they have been very few and far between and haven’t been an issue at all. However escaping the no-see-ums hasn’t been easy, even on the outer most islands when the air is very still (which is often) they come out to feast. We are learning to live with bites, they like nibbling on Skipper most, but it would be great to get away from them. There have been a few stingy things in the water too and we have worn our stinger suits on occasion, but they haven’t been too much of a problem.
Besides the threat of a lightening strike it is a wonderful tropical playground, as we motor short hops from one paradise to the next.
This was our first stop after our provisioning run to Nargana. There were a handful of deserted islands dotted around within a mile creating a lagoon in the centre giving protection from all directions - another great anchorage. There were even 8 other boats there so we were all geared up for some socializing, but alas they were all French speaking, and understandably stuck together. The water temperature was incredible. I don’t know if there are underwater hot springs in the anchorage but it would have to be the hottest sea water we have ever swam in,. Almost too hot, even for me and that would be a first! The water had that oily look on the top, a sure sign of fresh water sitting on top of the salt so maybe there was a spring. It made for poor visibility for swimming and snorkelling and when we unintentionally came face to face with a rather large stingray while out swimming we decided to move on to clearer pastures.
Western Coco Bandero Cays
Another few miles and just an hour away was the next small island group, the Western Banderos. We had already been to the Eastern Banderos and had been very impressed with them. However this was our first anchorage in a while that we weren’t tucked up all snug, there were already 3 catamarans in behind the reef so it was a little tight for us and we anchored slightly out. For the first time since leaving Grenada in February we had a very slight roll, gosh we had forgotten what that was like! On the positive side we were rewarded with some excellent snorkelling, we circumnavigated a small island fringed with reef, took in a wreck along the way and stopped for a walk on the little island – all of about 20 paces.
We shared happy hour drinks ashore with Denny and Becky off American boat Kokomo. We took the opportunity to do a bonfire rubbish burn, we separate all our rubbish and keep for burning anything that is not biodegradable. We don’t actually agree with burning plastic bags and bottles but it is a far better option than the only other alternative of throwing them overboard. And yes we could keep them until we are able to dispose of them ashore but after a month they were starting to mount up, so it was bonfire time. We collected up the rubbish off the tiny island too, but on each wave more came to rest, rather disheartening but for a couple of minutes it was a sparkling example of paradise found.
We did lots of snorkelling on the outer reef. One day we even snorkelled through a pass to the outside but there was still too much surge so we did a quick u-turn and returned to flatter water. We saw some nurse sharks at the reef, Mark even saw one under the boat one day, apparently they are harmless but they still look very mean. We have seen many rays, both Stingrays and Eagle Rays. They are huge, the Eagle Rays grow up to 8 feet and are very graceful as they float through the water, the Stingrays are slightly smaller but look much more menacing with their long sharp tails. At night the water around the boat comes alive, never before have we had so much inwater activity every night, it is amazing and very entertaining – you wonder just what is going on down there!
I did some diving down in the shallows under the boat and collected some “sand dollars” and other shells and unfortunately this caused my ears to block and despite many attempts at various methods to unblock them (the medical amongst you would cringe!!!) one remains blocked and will need professionally unblocking when we get somewhere that can do it – meanwhile my life is more peaceful than usual.
We shared a few happy hours with Brits Barry and Lindy off Samarang who are also here for the Hurricane Season. Each day Lindy and I would keep a watchful eye out for the vege boat as our fresh supplies were dwindling by the meal. Eventually they arrived, rather low on stock but enough to keep us going for a little while longer. However we are nearly out of milk, flour and cereal – it’s time to move on.
For in depth info on our anchorages and what facilities there were click here to go to our Cruising Info Blog