Friday, May 30, 2008

1 Million Pesos!

One of the hard things to get used to, as we move around, is the ever-changing currency. Just in the last 5 months, we have had to deal with Quetzals, Lempiras, Balboas, and Pesos.

Colombia uses the Peso. The current exchange rate in Colombia is 1750 pesos to the dollar. It takes some mental acuity (or a quick calculator finger) to divide a large number by 1,750. We normally divide by 2, knock off a few zeros, and add 10%. Sometimes you get confused with the zeros.

The other confusing thing is that the Colombians (and much of the rest of the world) use a comma for a period and a period for a comma when writing numbers. So 50.000 isn't an extra-precise 50, but is really 50 thousand. I'm still getting used to reading the price labels in the grocery store.

One of the other things we've learned this week, is which ATM will give you more than 400,000 pesos (which is only $228). The 'Davidienda Bank', just down the street from Mimo's, the ice cream place, will let you make TWO 500,000 peso withdrawals from the ATM. So yesterday Dave sent me on a mission to get 1 million pesos, to pay for some work we are having done.

A few blocks walk, and two 500,000 withdrawals later, and I'm walking around with a million pesos in my pocket. Weird. The largest bill I've seen is 50,000 (the rough equivalent of a $30 bill).

The OTHER confusing thing is that in Spanish, 'one thousand' is 'un mil' (pronounced just like the beginning of 'million'). So 50,000 is Cinquenta Mil. So sometimes we hear the 'mil' and think million, not thousand. It is best sometimes when doing financial negotiations to write it down so there's no misunderstanding.

In Panama, the currency is the Balboa, and prices are quoted in B's. But, in 1941, Panama converted to using the US Dollar as their paper money, instead of printing their own. So the exchange rate there is easy... it is fixed at 1:1 to the US Dollar. So everyone in Panama uses the familiar old US 'greenbacks', but calls them 'Balboas'. Also weird.

Panama does have their own coins, but they are the same size, shape, weight, and metallic composition as US coins of the same denomination. So vending machines will accept US quarters or Balboas interchangeably.

Learning our Way Around Cartagena

We've been here 6 days now and are getting pretty well oriented. As usual, most of the cruisers we've met have been very friendly and very helpful.
  • We've found the laundramat (and dropped 4 loads off to be washed!
  • We have a 'frequent shopper' card at the local grocery story
  • We've learned how to walk to downtown (El Centro)
  • We've obtained cell phone sim cards and learned how to buy cell phone minutes on our prepaid phones
  • We've figured out how to dial local and long distance
  • We've figured out how to catch the cheap bus ($.62) or the airconditioned bus ($.85) in whichever direction we're going.
  • We know how much a taxi should cost to most places we'd want to go
  • We know where the 'Home Center' (like Home Depot or Lowes) is
  • We know where the trash cans are and which one to use for what kind of trash
  • We know when the water gets turned off in the marina
  • We know where the air conditioned internet cafe is (when the marina internet isn't working, or when you want REAL high speed internet)
  • We know which of the day labor guys in the marina are worth hiring, and have one guy right now working on polishing our stainless for $35/day
  • We know where the machine shop, the re-chroming place, and the sewing machine repair place is
  • We know where all the cell phone repair guys hang out
  • We know a few places to eat (Pizza, Mexican, Colombian, Mid Eastern, Chinese) within walking distance of the marina
  • We know when the weekly potluck is and when twofer night is at the bar
  • We found a computer store that sells pieces parts

Some of this is made easier by a booklet given out by the marina, with the accumulated recommendations of cruisers past and present. But some things you just have to walk around and stumble onto.

We were looking for the sewing machine guy downtown when we walked past a small market that had 2 aisles of guys in small shops that did cell phone repair.

Our fancy Motorola Razor died on us 2 weeks after we bought it last fall on EBay. But when we tried to submit it for repair to Motorola, we found that they said it went out of warranty 6 months before we bought it. (even though we bought it as 'new in box'). Motorola wanted $75 to repair it, plus shipping. The guy we found in the 'cell phone repair' alley fixed it in half an hour (reflashing the software), for $17, while you wait. And he sold Dave a new sim card for $4, so now we have 2 phones and can call each other when we split up.

We found that the best sewing machine repair guy lives far away, but makes 'house calls'. He was camped out at the marina all morning today tweaking sewing machines.

We are still looking for a good map of Cartagena. When we're on a mission (looking for a specific place), it's much easier to have a map. The only one we've found is a free tourist map, and it doesn't cover everywhere we want to go.

For example, 3 of our 4 cameras aboard have developed some kind of a problem in the last year, and they're all out of warranty. I've researched 'camera repair' on the internet, and they all start at $75-$100, just to open it up and look at it. So we've been looking for a camera repair place here where the labor rate is cheaper and the overhead is less.

We asked at one camera store, got referred to a warranty repair place (that didn't handle our brands), and THEY referred us somewhere else, etc. After three places, we ran into a dead end. But Dave thinks he's found another little shop in a market somewhere--he walked past it when he went back to get the cell phone repaired.

My travel laptop (the one we plan to carry with us back to the States) had a memory problem, and we visited 3 places before we found someone who carried the memory we needed.

And remember... we are doing all this on foot... no car!

Our transportation options here are: on foot, cheap bus, air conditioned bus, taxi, or 'moto taxi'. If you are just one person, you can hire a motorcycle guy to carry you where you want to go.

The moto taxi's are all over the place, and the cost is about half the price of a regular taxi. We wouldn't even think of renting a car... between the crazy drivers, unfamiliar roads and road signs, and cheap public transportation, who wants to drive!?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

And We Slip the Schedule Again

When we left Bocas del Toro in March, we'd been moving steadily for 3 months, and we had a pretty tight schedule laid out for the next few months, before going thru the Panama Canal as planned in July.

We had a bunch of maintenance items piled up that we just hadn't had time to get to. We should have stayed in Bocas for several more weeks to catch up on that kind of stuff. But we just felt that we didn't have the time.

As I looked over our schedule for the next year, I realized that it was very ambitious... a lot of moving, some inland travel, and no boat maintenance time. Also, no 'acclimatization' time... it takes a week or two when you move into a new place, to get the lay of the land, figure out where stuff is and how to find and do what you need. We hadn't figured any of that slop time in our schedule either. Or much 'waiting for weather'. (We have no idea what the weather patterns are over on the Pacific

Finally, I had started looking through Jimmy Cornell's World Cruising Routes book, to validate Dave's original plan to end up in Hawaii after our first season in the Pacific. What I found there was that we needed to GET to Easter Island in February, and not April as was on our current schedule. AND we needed to allow for a considerable amount of 'passage time' in our schedule planning. The trip just to get to Easter takes about 3 weeks.

Another consideration is the timing of the 'inland travel' in South America. We want to avoid 'high season' because of prices and the fact that everything's fully booked, so it's not easy to just show up in a town and find rooms available. And 'low season' in South America is very cold. So there's a 2 month window on either side of winter and summer that are good times for traveling inland.

Another consideration was the timing of our arrival in the Galapagos... if you go when everyone else goes, the anchorages are crowded, the officials are harried, the price of everything goes up, etc. So we wanted to get there a little before everyone else does (March).

The final result of a couple of weeks of talking about it, is that we've slipped the schedule about another 9 months so that we leave for the Galapagos in January. This gives us more time to see Costa Rica and South America, and still fit in a considerable amount of boat maintenance time. We've posted an updated schedule on the website at

If any of our friends are interested in trying to join us for any of the inland travel, drop us an email and we'll keep you in mind when we lay out our plans.


We left Satellite Beach one year ago today. Whew, we've come a long way! Oooh, we haven't gotten very far!!

We are only 9 months behind our original schedule (to be in Cartagena for last Hurricane Season)!

Miles Traveled So Far in 2008: 1,624
Miles Traveled since leaving home May 25, 2007: 2,860

Total Nights: May 25 - May 25 365
Nights Spent On Passage: 10
Nights Spent on Anchor: 159
Nights Spent in a Marina: 196
(6 mos in Rio Dulce!)

Arrival in Cartagena, Colombia

We finally made it to Cartagena (only 9 months later than our first plan)!

It's a beautiful city, with a skyline reminiscent of Miami Beach (big tall buildings).

We are anchored off Club Nautico, with reservations to go into the marina on Tuesday, for a month. We hadn't had the anchor down for 10 minutes before some friends-of-friends (Sonny and Kay on s/v Valentina) came by in their dinghy and invited us ashore for lunch. We ended up hanging around the marina bar/internet cafe all afternoon, and went out to dinner at a Mexican restaurant with a group of friends. And of course, we had to stop after dinner at Mimo's, with the best ice cream in the SW Caribbean.

Dave at Mimo's

None of this group of 10 had we actually physically met before--we had 'met' them via the cruisers nets (both VHF and SSB and Ham) that we've been participating in.

But this is one of the truly GREAT things about cruising... instant friendships with people 'out doing it' just like us.

Dave has already started working on his list of 'fix and improve' in Cartagena, including fire extinguisher recharging, a new dinghy cover, some re-chroming.

And I've been non-stop on the internet, trying to catch up with bills and news. We also have a fairly long list of things we want to order and have waiting for us in the States when we fly back. And I need to spend a couple of days going back over old blog posts, correcting spelling, categorizing, and posting a few pictures.

We can get wifi out on the hook from the marina ($15/week), but the marina internet is sometimes incredibly slow. There is an internet cafe up the street that some people use when they have to do Skype or big downloads.

There is a really really nice grocery store right up the street. It rivals any Publix. We went in to sight-see but have yet to actually buy anything (eating out is almost as cheap as fixing it yourself). We don't want to buy too much right now, because we will want to leave our freezer empty when we fly home.

There is lots of sightseeing around the town... old forts and things like that. We'll have to block out a week in our schedule to play tourist. Dave has also been looking at the Lonely Planet, and we might do some inland travel. (I think he's finally gotten the idea that I'm not wild about doing the 6 day hike to the Lost City, so he's looking for something else).

Friday, May 23, 2008

Colombian Caribbean Coastal Map

Rosarios Islands, Colombia

We stayed for a day in the Rosarios, a small group of islands and reefs, about 25 miles SSW of Cartagena.

The big attraction near our anchorage was a public aquarium, formally known as the Centro de Investigaciones Educacion y Recreacion San Martin de Pajarales.

They had a nice big glass aquarium full of fish, plus a bunch of varieties of fish out in pens in the water. They even had a brief dolphin show. We enjoyed spending a few hours there. And were glad to see Colombians preaching conservation.

Most of the visitors were Colombianos and all of the exhibits and explanations were in Spanish.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Safely Anchored in Rosarios Islands, Colombia

After an uneventful trip, we are safely in the Rosarios, about 25 mile SW of Cartagena.

We were able to sail for about 5 hours yesterday. But the wind died off in the late evening, and we ended up motoring most of the way.

We'll stay here tomorrow, to do a bottom scrub and put the watermaker to bed, and then head for Cartagena on Friday.

Here are the waypoints we used:

CROSAR - Approach from SW
10-09.206 N 75-45.924 W

CROS01 - Beginning of shallow area
10-10.002 N 75-46.204 W

CROS02 - End of shallow area
10-10.620 N 75-46.550 W

CROS03 - Anchoring area
10-10.660 N 75-46.550 W

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Headed for Colombia Today

Location: Mulutupu, off the airport at 08-56.321N 77-43.938W

We just put our friend Jim on the plane this morning from Mulutupu. As he put it, it's the 'travel schedule from hell'. He won't arrive at his house in Satellite Beach until about noon tomorrow. He has a whole day to kill in Panama City, and flies out on the Spirit Air flight from Panama City at 1am, arriving in Ft. Lauderdale about 5am. But he's looking forward to having a few hours to spend today looking around the Panama Canal and some of the old parts of Panama City.

We are planning on leaving here, about noon today, for an overnight trip to the Rosarios Islands, about 25 miles off Cartagena. We'll spend 2 nights in the Rosarios, getting the boat ready for the 'big city' (things like pickling the watermaker, etc). Then we'll be back in internet-land. (yay).

We did get about 2 hrs of internet in Sapzurro, but a big thunderstorm the night we got there took out the town's electricity and internet connection. They got the electricity going pretty quickly, but the internet never came back before we left. :(

Monday, May 19, 2008

Obaldia, Sapzurro, and Capurgana

May 16-19

We left Bahia Carreto early in the morning, and our first stop was a check-out stop at Obaldia (Panama). This is supposed to be a barely tenable anchorage, suitable for a day stop in good weather only. But we HAD to go here to check out of Panama.

As we approached Obaldia, a black cloud was approaching us. Didn't look good, and we were kind of nervous about going in with unknown weather conditions.. However, about that time, Dave noticed a fuel leak in the engine room. So we decided to shut down the engine and let him see if he could stop it "It'll only take a few minutes," he said. So Jim Yates and I amused ourselves trying to sail our heavy CSY 44 in 5 knots of shifty wind. When the black cloud finally arrived, we did get about 15 knots for a little while, along with some rain. "Dave, how ya doin down there?" (It's a little scary being close in on a lee shore with no engine and unreliable wind. Did I mention that we had some current, too?)

An hour later, Dave had changed out the fuel injector pipe to stop the leak. But at least the black cloud had gone away. So we again headed into Obaldia. For an open roadstead on a coast that always has a pretty good swell running, it was suprisingly calm. We slowly approached the area, and anchored right off the town dock in about 20' sand.

We only expected to be there about 15 minutes while Dave checked out, so we left the mainsail up, and Jim Yates and I stayed aboard in case the weather changed.

An hour and a half later, Dave finally came back, with the old "good news and bad news" approach. WE were checked out, but Jim had to present himself and check out.

It was a complicated thing we were trying to do (and probably somewhat illegal). We wanted to take Jim to visit the Colombian town of Sapzurro, but afterwards we needed to backtrack 30 miles to the Panamanian Kuna village of Mulutupu to put Jim back on his return flight, before WE continued on to Cartagena, Colombia in the boat. When we first conceived of the plan, we had imagined this a frontier where nobody knew or cared what we were doing. This was the impression that we'd gotten from other cruisers, many of whom told us they never even bothered to check in to Panama at Obaldia.

But our impression turned out to be pretty far from reality. There was a military guard, with a rifle, on the dock. Obaldia had a Port Captain and an Immigration officer, and both of whom DID care about what we were doing and who we had on board. And Dave didn't want to lie, and we didn't want to get Jim in a situation where he'd have problems with Immigration when he went to leave Panama for the States.

So what we ended up having to do was... check completely out of Panama, check ourselves (but not the boat--no Port Captain there) into Colombia, then check Jim alone out of Colombia and back in to Panama. And get a second 'zarpe' (the clearance for the boat) from Obaldia to Cartagena via Mulutupu. This in two sleepy little towns in a remote part of Panama and Colombia, that barely had electricity.

If we'd known that anyone would really care about what we were doing, we probably would have just skipped trying to show Jim Sapzurro (Colombia) and stayed in Panama. Fortunately (amazingly) all that paperwork only cost us $7.50. And it was an adventure. And Jim didn't have any trouble going thru U.S. Customs after a 'day trip' to Colombia.

Anyway, we finally got clear of Obaldia about 2pm, and motored the 5 miles around the rugged peninsula to the Colombian town of Sapzurro. As we've moved progressively further south from the Holandes, the terrain ashore has changed from swampy lowlands with a long offshore barrier reef, to mountainous terrain, with only the occasional offshore island, and sparse reefy areas. Also we have moved from the sunshine you'd expect in the southern Caribbean, to rainforest style, cool, overcast, and rainy. For the whole time in Obaldia and Sapzurro (3 days), we barely ever saw the sun.

Many cruisers we talked to have raved about Sapzurro. This is why we'd gone to such lengths to reach there. But there isn't much information about it. It isn't in any guidebook we have (because it's in Colombia and not Panama). We only had a few notes and a couple of waypoints to go by. We slowly followed the waypoints in to the anchorage area and felt our way around the harbor. The waypoints from our friends on s/v Valentina had an anchorage spot, but Dave wanted to anchor nearer town (and in a more protected spot). But when we went over to check out where he wanted to go, the depth went from 40 feet deep to 5 feet deep in the space of a boatlength. (Later in the dinghy, we went over some 3' spots and reef!)

We finally put the anchor down close to the beach about a quarter mile from town, right where Valentina had put the anchor waypoint (CSAP3). It seemed to be a good sand bottom in about 25 feet, and we very carefully made sure the anchor was well set. (waypoints for Sapzurro are given below).

Sapzurro is a tiny town... we walked the whole town in about a half hour. Apparently it is a summer vacation spot for the Colombians from Medellin, and it's not quite summer yet. So only one restaurant seemed to be functioning, and we were the only patrons. But we had a nice dinner (red snapper, fried whole), and a couple of beers apiece, for about $10 per person. Dave the ice cream fiend insisted on ice cream too, which we got at a little shop up the street.

Coming back to the boat, I was happy to find that we had wifi. The connection was slow but held out for long enough to download all our email. I quit after awhile... it was quite rude of me to have my head in the computer with guests aboard... I planned to get up early and do more while everyone was sleeping in.

Early the next morning we had a giant thunderstorm roll through. This was pretty scary for awhile, because Sapzurro is pretty much an open roadstead, and it could get really nasty in there if the wind stayed strong from offshore for very long. It poured rain and there were thunder cracks right on top of us. We did clock 50 kts, but only briefly. We opened up our water tanks and filled the tanks in about 10 minutes. After awhile we could see the muddy water runnoff approaching us across the harbor. The nearly dried-up streams we had seen on our walk around town had turned into roaring rivers. In the worst part of the storm, the lights in the town went off. Damn, probably no internet!

After the rain stopped, we went to the town dock and took a lancha around to the neighboring town of Capurgana. (the lancha was about $3pp each way). This is a little bigger town... more restaurants, a gift shop or two, a dive shop, and an airport nearby. Nobody had mentioned Capurgana to us, but we suspect that this is part/most of the attraction of Sapzurro (Sapzurro is the anchoring spot).

We found the Immigration guy and got Jim's passport stamped in and out of Colombia. Dave and I stayed in the background so the guy didn't ask any questions about what WE were doing. He didn't hassle Jim at all, and we were out of there in about 10 minutes.

We strolled around town a little and then had lunch at La Luz de Oriente (the Light of the East)--several people we asked in town recommended this as the best restaurant. As we finished lunch, we could see a big black line squall coming across the bay from the South. So we hurried back to the docks and caught the first lancha back to Sapzurro, and got back to the boat just after the rain started again.

Later in the day, Dave, Jim, and I walked through the town and up to the Panama/Colombian border. Our guidebook said that it was an unguarded boarder and you could walk freely back and forth. However, it's not unguarded any more. There were both Colombian and Panamanian soldiers. When I started down the steps toward Panama, Dave asked one of the guys 'can we go there?' and he told us No (rather brusquely). Rats! Later another guard told us that if we came during the day, we could go. But after 5pm, it was not permitted. There has been some guerilla activity (from Colombian guerillas) occasionally in the area, and so they are taking the border much more seriously these days. When we pointed our boat out in the harbor, one of the soldiers said he'd seen us come around yesterday.

On the 3rd day, we left Sapzurro and headed back to Obaldia, where Dave and Jim went ashore for another 'just 15 minutes' to check Jim back into Panama. Well... Life is full of little complications. First, the big thunderstorm that we had experienced the day before had really pounded Obaldia. The Port Captain's office had lost half its roof, and there were many other signs of destruction. While Dave and Jim were ashore, a plane landed that turned out to be the Red Cross, coming to assess the situation and bring rice and water. The Port Captain and the Immigration guy had a disagreement about what to do about us (the boat). We had already checked out of Panama, but needed to double back for a day to drop Jim off in Mulutupu. We didn't want to check back in, because we'd planned to leave for Cartagena directly from Mulutupu. They finally compromised and issued Dave a new zarpe to Cartagena 'via Mulutupu'. That seemed to make everyone happy, and we got outta town without too much more delay.

Here are the Obaldia & Sapzurro waypoints we used:

POBAL 08-39.861 N 77-25.360 W Anchored in 20' Sand, right off town dock
POBAL2 08-40.601 N 77-25.488 W
POBAL3 08-41.082 N 77-25.280 W Off Rockpile (not on any chart)
PATIBNW 08-41.000 N 77-22.218 W Off NW point of Cabo Tiburon, in clear water 100' deep
PATIBNE 08-40.719 N 77-21.202 W Off NE tip of Cabo Tiburon in Clear Water
CSAP1 08-40.239 N 77-21.074 W
CSAP2 08-39.532 N 77-21.499 W
CSAP3 08-39.369 N 77-21.822 W Anchorage in SE corner of bay

Bahia Carreto, Lower San Blas

Catching up... we were in Carreto on May 15.

Anchorage: 08-46.182N 77-33.430W

We left Puerto Escoses about noon and headed south. Our original destination was Puerto Perme, a tiny enclosed anchorage very near Obaldia, the port we needed to stop in the next day to check out of Panama. It was kind of a blustery day... overcast with winds and seas a little higher than the 0-5 kts we'd been used to.

As we read the guidebooks for Puerto Perme, it looked like a nice protected anchorage. But the books said it was a one-boat anchorage. If we got there and someone else was already there, we'd be kinda out of luck. So, as we passed Bahia Carreto, on the way to Perme, we took a close look.

The official anchorage per the Bauhaus guidebook is in the NW corner of the bay, near the Kuna village. But we had notes from friends about a nice anchorage in the SE corner of the bay. The winds seemed to be blowing straight in the bay, with big ocean rollers, so we weren't sure we'd find any good anchorage there. But looking thru the binocs, we could see 2 other boats in the SE anchorage, and they weren't rolling too badly. So we decided to check it out.

The two French flagged boats were tucked up behind a small reef and island near a nice long beach, far from the Kuna village. We sounded the area and made sure there was room for another boat. It looked pretty good, so we dropped the hook in about 10 feet, in pretty good sand.

We took the dinghy ashore on the beach and explored around. There were a couple of Kuna huts--the kind that are only part-time occupied. And we found a large area where they were 'farming' the coconuts, bananas, mangoes, and maybe the land crabs. At the southernmost point on the beach, we also found a fresh water 'stream'.

The beach here, while pretty, was totally covered in ocean flotsam--mostly plastics in all shapes and sizes. It looks like Bahia Carreto is uniquely sited to collect all the trash from the entire Caribbean (combination of winds and currents).

On our way ashore, we spoke briefly to one of the two French boats. They had been in to the village, a very long (2 mile) dinghy ride across the rough bay. Late in the day, they loaded up in a dinghy, and headed to the village--obviously for dinner. We were amazed that they'd make the trip across that windswept bay in a dinghy after dark, on the return trip. But they did eventually get back safely.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Puerto Escoses, San Blas Islands, Panama

lAnchorage: 08-50.142N 77-38.26W May 13-14, 2008

After picking our friend Jim Yates up at the Mulutupu airstrip at 7:30am, we had a quick breakfast and headed further south.

Our original plan was to go nearly all the way to the Panama/Colombia border the first day, and then dawdle on the way back to fly Jim out of Mulutupu in a week. This is only a total of 60 miles round trip, so entirely doable in a week's 'cruise'. But we heard some other boats talking on the VHF--the first we'd heard in about a week--and decided to stop off and join them at Puerto Escoses.

Puerto Escoses is the site of the Scottish Settlement, originally called New Edinburgh. 5 ships and 2400 people landed to make a settlement in 1698. A year later, one ship with 300 people limped home, the settlement a failure, most of the settlers dead of malnutrition, yellow fever, malaria, and various other tropical diseases. The expedition organizers had sold shares in the 'company' they organized, and a great deal of common and wealthy Scots had invested in the project. Its failure made a
significant dent in Scottish finances for a long time.

Stopping there on this day turned out to be a really good idea. We met up with the other boats, Akka and Raven. Both had recently left Cartagena, headed for the San Blas. Akka had already made friends with "Mr. Green", a Kuna on the small island near the anchorage. Mr. Green is trying to learn English, and seeing their American flag flying, had come by to practice his English (and sell the gringos 'pulpa' (octopus)). Akka asked Mr. Green if he would guide us to the ruins, if we couldn't find
them ourselves.

We first went 'bushwacking' on our own, starting from the beach just in from the anchorage. There was a clear path leading off to where we believed Fort Saint Andrews to have once been. After we wandered around following several paths in the swampy area for an hour or two, finding nothing that looked like remains of civilization, we gave up.

The next day, Mr. Green came by with his buddy in a ulu, and we followed them to the ruins. The first place he took us was where the Scots had cut a canal into the rock, and the remains of the moat around the fort. The canal was impressive, about 10' wide and 25' long, cut into the rock. Since it was done in 1698, it was probably mostly cut by hand. The 'moat' was still discernable in the thick vegetation. But we saw nothing else that looked fort-like.

Next they took us to the spot where the Kit Kap expedition left a concrete marker in the early 1970's. There was some barely discernable writing on the marker that identified it.

Finally, they took us to a site where a Doctor Anderson did some archeological digging. Our guide told us that they found musket balls, cannon balls, small coins, pottery, etc. They said they had dug 3-4 exploratory holes. He only took us to one of the dig sites, as the others were in the muddy area.

At one point when we were walking, he indicated that we were passing the place where the dead were buried. But he didn't stop, and we never saw any physical evidence of it.

I did take my GPS so we could document where the stuff was we found.

Start of canal: 08-50.485N 77-38.251W
End of canal: 08-50.475N 77-38.238W
Small Beach: 08-50.351N 77-38.301W
Monument: 08-50.350N 77-38.357W
Cemetary Area: 08-50.351N 77-38.349W
Excavation: 08-50.408N 77-38.316W

After visiting the canal by dinghy, we dinghied to the 'small beach', left our dinghies there, and then literally bushwhacked to the Monument, thru the Cemetary Area, and to the Excavation. Mr. Green and his buddy both had machetes, and did quite a bit of whacking to make a trail for us. Otherwise we'd have never found it.

Mr. Green also told us that recently the British Ambassador to Panama had visited, and there were discussions about making the site into a park or monument.

Mr. Green's first name is Plaxadis, and he normally lives in the Kuna town of Mulutupu, or on the little island just south of the anchorage in Puerto Escoses. He is the son of a saila (chief) in Mulutupu. He said if anyone else wanted to be guided to the ruins, they should ask for him in Mulutupu or at the island. Apparently he spends 3 weeks on, 3 weeks off, alternating between Mulutupu and farming in Puerto Escoses.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Isla Pinos, San Blas, Panama

Anchorage: 08-59.924N 077-45.661W

The Kuna Village at Isla Pinos

We anchored a little further out from where the guidebook showed the anchor. Dave was worried having no wind and bugs closer in. Though there was a nice little sand bottom spot where it looked the normal anchorage was, ours was pretty good, too, and we had nice wind.

While motoring around looking for an anchor spot, we found a reefy mound in about 7' of water. We ended up anchoring about 250' away from that spot, so when we jumped in to check the anchor, we also snorkeled over to look at the reef. After looking it over pretty good, Dave noticed that some of the rocks looked very much like 'ballast stones'. And the mound looked about right for the length and breadth of an old ballast pile. The 'wreck' looked pretty old, and there were no tell-tale pieces to help date it... we found no anchors, canon, engine, or anything, just a ship-sized pile of ballast stones. We speculate that it may have been stripped and scuttled there...the old wooden ships would eventually become too wormy and leaky, and would just be abandoned.

We spent all of the next day in the same spot. Our friend Jim Yates was arriving the next day via airplane, and we needed to do some cleaning and re-arranging to accommodate him. I did laundry, made bread, and sewed 'door drops' (privacy curtains between the forward and main cabin, and between the aft and main cabin). We had removed the heavy oak doors and left them in Satellite Beach, and I hadn't yet gotten around to doing that 'project'. (aha! another one off my list). Dave re-arranged the 'project tubs' in the V-berth, so Jim had some place to sleep.

We were visited by the saila (village chief)'s representative and given a receipt for the $8 fee. Dave said we'd be back in 2 months and asked if it would still cover us then. He said "si, si" (yes yes), but I'm not sure he really understood the question.

A Kuna in the Village Making a New Ulu

Because we'd already paid the fee at Pinos, we opted to stay a second night there, rather than moving on to Mulutupu, right by the airport. We heard the Mulutupu fee was $15, and didn't want to pay that too.

We had seen the French boat anchored near us gathering sea urchins and opening them. Sherry remembered having 'sea urchin roe' in high school (the Marine Biology teacher). So she gathered a few to try it out. Each sea urchin rendered about a half a teaspoon of stuff. It tasted fishy and salty. Yum!?

Sea Urchins

So the next morning we got up at 5:30am, and motored down to just off the airstrip in Mulutupu.

Jim arrived right on schedule at 7:30am, after flying in to the international airport at Panama City on Spirit Air at 1am the night before. I had jokingly told him if he ran into a vegetable stand between his arrival at 1am and his departure at 6am, to please buy us green veggies. Neither of us knew that the puddle-jumper airplane left out of a different airport, and the little airport was locked up at night. So Jim ended up hanging out in an all night "Super Rey" (the largest grocery store in Panama). He arrived with an armful of veggies...broccoli, lettuce, celery, and cucumbers. Damn! I should have also told him that I was dying for a steak, too. But whoda thunk that he'd be in the all-night grocery store!

We spent Jim's next to last night aboard at Pinos, and went in to the village to let Jim have a 'mola' experience. Jim took some great pictures of the village (above and below).

A Kuna Family Goes Visiting

The Typical Kuna Bathroom

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Ustupu, San Blas Islands, Panama

Position: 09-07.74N 77-55.763

I think we are further south than I have ever been in my life. We are continuing another 30 miles south before we start heading back north.

The trip to Ustupu was another easy one... very little wind, just a large easy swell. Because it was only 5 miles, and part of that was protected by an outer reef, we opted not to put up the main and super-secure the dinghy, which of course we regretted later.

The town on Ustupu is on a small flat island and is just offshore. The anchorage is between the mainland and the island, in very protected water.

We anchored in 20' in very soft mud. We did our normal backing on the anchor, an 88-lb Delta, and it just kind of oozed along. We opted to leave it as is, and hope we didn't get any big winds during the night. The other option would be to retrieve the muddy anchor and switch out for a Danforth, which works better in the mud. A hot and muddy job. Since we haven't seen more than about 10 knots of wind in 2 months along the coast of Panama, it seemed a safe bet to just leave it as is.

There were 2 Colombian trading boats tied to the dock, so Dave went over and asked about buying diesel. They were more than happy to sell him 40 gallons for $3.75/gallon. (The going price when we left Bocas del Toro 2 months ago was $3.85). With an extra 40 gallons, we now have enough to motor everywhere we go (which it looks like we will have to do), and not sweat running dry before we make it to Cartagena.

We had a nice cool night, contrasted with the very hot night we'd spent the night before in Achutupu. We are not sure if the coolness was due to the small mountains just inland, or the big thunderstorms that threatened out at sea. But it was pleasant nonetheless.

At 5am thunder and lightning awakened us. Uh-oh, anchor not set well... thunderstorm... not good. But I quit worrying when the dim dawn light showed that the Utupuians were all setting out in their ulu's (dugout canoes) for the days work. If they had been expecting a 40-50kt thunderstorm, I'm sure they wouldn't be heading offshore fishing in a low leaky dugout. It did rain hard for a few minutes, but thankfully we got no wind.

In the morning, we went ashore to the town to try to buy some groceries. Ustupu is supposed to be the largest Kuna town, with about 8,000 people and an airstrip, so we were hopeful that we could find a largish store with some fresh goods. But it was weird. When we'd ask someone for a tienda to buy food, they didn't seem to understand us. It may be that here in this large town of Kunas, not many speak Spanish. We did get eventually directed to about 4 different very small stores, and 3 restaurants.
We were looking for bread (of any kind), fresh veggies (of any kind), potato chips, and eggs. We eventually were able to locate potato chips in small bags, at a restaurant. That was it.

If we had wanted to, we could have bought rice, canned sardines, powdered milk, and saltine crackers. But we have all of those. We probably could have bought fish and lobster. But we didn't need any of the former and won't buy any of the latter.

In addition, because we went ashore, we had to pay an $8 'anchoring fee'. We also opted to pay an optional $3 'water fee', so we could jug some water.

Yes, I know. We JUST commissioned the water maker. The last time we ran it, about 5 gallons into the run, the high pressure brine water suddenly dropped pressure. Worried about damaging something, Dave shut it down without trying to fully diagnose the problem... we had only planned a short run because we had to get moving while the light was good. The backflush (rinsing the RO membranes with fresh water to deter bacteria growth) took the 5 gallons we made, so our net was zero. The next 2 days
we anchored in places too close to town or a muddy river (so the sea water wasn't clean enough to run it). So our choice was to jug water while we had the opportunity, or HOPE the watermaker problem is a minor one that Dave can fix. Dave spent 3 hours doing 4 runs with out 20-gallons worth of jugs...

There is a largish-looking river on the mainland just in from the town. There was a lot of traffic in ulus back and forth from town to the river. We never got a chance to go explore the river.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Achutupu, San Blas, Panama

We anchored yesterday off the Kuna town of Achutupu, only about 4 miles south of Islandia. It took us 3 tries to get anchored. The water is either 40 feet deep or 4 feet deep, and we had trouble finding a spot in between that the anchor would hold well. As we get farther south and east, the bottom is less sandy and more muddy (the islands are closer in shore and there are many rivers nearby). We finally found a sand and grass mound that was about 8 feet and got the anchor well set.

Soon after anchoring, 3 boat loads of small children paddled up in ulu's (heavy wooden dugout canoes with wooden paddles). They wanted to know if we wanted molas (No gracias, yo ya tengo muchas molas). I chatted with them for a few minutes in Spanish. My 'small talk' skills are not very good even in English, and it's much more difficult with the language barrier. I can hold long conversations in my head when no one is around, but when I'm sitting there trying to think of something to say, I can't
remember a single word of Spanish. But I did learn that their mother was in the town and their father worked in Panama City. We exchanged names, but most of their names are nearly unpronounceable and I have trouble remembering 'Jane' 5 minutes later.

The porthole for our galley is right at eye-level for a person in an ulu, so they all got a kick out of looking in the window, giggling, pointing, and talking to each other in Kuna.

Finally, they asked if I had any sweets. Fortunately we keep a small jar for just this kind of situation. I gave them each a sugar free chocolate candy, and told them not to tell the other kids in town.

We also had 2-3 ulus come by trying to sell us lobster. Dave is getting pretty irritated that none of them know (or care) that it is closed season. He's given up trying to explain in his broken Spanish the complicated concept of conservation and why it is important that they follow the rules laid down by the Kuna Congreso. But we won't buy any. Especially the small ones, and they are almost always small these days. A cruising friend of ours confessed to buying lobster if they were still alive,
and 'liberating' them.

We found the '4-star Kuna Resort' described in the cruising guide (The Dolphin Lodge) and made reservations for dinner. At dinnertime, there were 10 guests of the hotel, in addition to us. We met a nice young Portugese woman who is staying at the lodge for 3 months as an internship for her degree in tourism (the teacher musta really LOVED her to exile her to Achutupu for 3 months!). She is not getting paid, but gets free room and board. She is the only one at the resort who speaks English, so
she was playing hostess at dinner. The guests were a couple of Germans, an American couple who said they were 'birders', and 3 youngish women who were European.

We had a nice dinner (though expensive for Panama)... it was complete with dessert and coffee/tea for $15pp. They offered lobster, crab, or fresh water lobster. I had the fresh water lobster, which were very much like crayfish but a little bigger than the normal crayfish size.

After dinner we were treated to a little bit of Kuna native dance, with 4 men and 4 women. The women (as is normal) were dressed in traditional dress, with a light wraparound skirt, a sash, a mola blouse, and a scarf on the head. The men were in baggy western-style shorts and shirtless. It was interesting, but somewhat amateurish. And narrated by a Portugese girl who didn't understand the dance, in poor English. But we enjoyed the whole thing.

Returning to the boat, we ended up having a little night from hell... no-see-ums, no wind, and a slight roll. We had left the boat closed up when we went in for dinner--both because of possible rain and possible intruders. So it was hot inside to begin with. It was almost too hot to sleep, and too buggy to go sleep in the cockpit. Fortunately we have good fans over the bed, and after lighting up a mosquito coil and spraying the screens with bug spray, and rolling up in our sheets, we were able
to get to sleep.

We were amazed to find here not one, but two airstrips. The two small airstrips are only about a mile apart, and each equipped with a building and a wind sock. When we asked why they had two airports, they told us that one was for the village of Achutupu and the other for Mamitupu, the village just to the south of Achutupu. Apparently the chiefs do not want the inhabitants of the two small towns to mix...maybe years ago there was bad blood between the villages, though it's hard to imagine the
sweet and quiet Kuna ever making war on anyone.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Islandia, San Blas Islands, Panama

Late yesterday, we moved to Islandia, about a mile away from Aligandi, out by the reef. 09-13.47N 078-00.60W

It is a nice anchorage, pretty protected, and away from the town. It is also the former home of WWI pilot Johnnie Golf, who once worked for Al Capone. He spent his last years here hiding out from the Feds. We swam ashore on the island and found a few bricks, a concrete pad, and a rusted-out large tank that probably held water or fuel.

We were looking forward to dinner at one of the two hotels out here, but neither one has any guests right now. One offered to feed us, but the menu was expensive for Panama, and Dave said the restaurant was mostly enclosed and hot and airless. We're going to move to Achutupu today, where there is supposedly a 'five star hotel', so Dave can take me out to dinner. (Dave's getting tired of doing dishes. :)

Islandia Lodge

Near the end of the day we dinghied over to a small lagoon, Golandrina, on the mainland to do some tarpon fishing and have happy hour. The Bauhaus guide says that there are "big tarpon fish" here. Dave was anxious to hook a tarpon. Well we can tell you that after an hour of fishing there are no tarpon here. Not even a ripple on the water and no strikes. Maybe it is the wrong time of year for tarpon in Panama. Sherry participated in fishing by reading her book.

Last night we had our first ITCZ storm. The Inter Tropical Convergence Zone, a windless band of thunderstorms that sits roughly along the equator, moves a little north about this time of year (along with the sun), and I think we are right underneath it right now. Last night we had lightning all over, but fortunately very little wind. We did about 2 360's during the night, but never with more than about 5 knots of wind.

We are remote enough now that we've only seen one other cruising boat in 3 days. Most boats go direct from the western San Blas to Cartagena. The boat we saw passed by yesterday out in the channel. We tried hailing them on VHF but never raised them. Couldn't see the name or flag.

We do have some other cruising contact on the SSB nets... We actually listen in on 3-4 nets every morning, from 8am to 9:30am, including the Central American Breakfast Club, a ham net on 7083; the SW Caribbean Net on 6209 (mainly Bocas cruisers); the Panama Connection Net on 8107 (mainly San Blas cruisers); and the NW Caribbean Net on 6209 (NW Caribbean and offshore islands). We also sometimes check in on Ben's Net, a ham net on 14261 in the late afternoon. This schedule keeps us pretty busy!

Aligandi, San Blas Islands, Panama

We traveled another 15 miles south and east to the village of Aligandi. We are anchored in 15 feet, right off the 'town dock', on the west side of the island (right where the anchor in the guidebook is placed). 09-13.57N 078-01.75W

We tried to sail, but the wind is so light and the seas so large, that the sails were just flogging as we rolled. So we took in the genoa and sheeted the main in tight on the centerline, and motored on. We were able to sail for a couple of miles when our course took us behind a reef and the seas were flat.

Looking at the GRIB files for the next week, I don't think we'll be doing much sailing (light and variable wind, and not much behind-the-reef on the rest of the trip SE to the border).

We dinghied into the village late yesterday to look around and try to find some groceries. The building ashore that looks like a school, turns out to be the hospital, which at this time has no patients, according to our guide. We were met at the dock by Duke (pronounced doo-kay), the local outboard motor mechanic, who offered to show us around. We told him we were looking for meat, vegetables, and potato chips. For the meat, he took us to a local Kuna restaurant, where we bought two more 'chicken
entero' for $6.75 each. They assured us they were alive this morning. Then to three different 'tiendas'. All had all the basics... flour, rice, canned sardines, powdered milk, etc. But no veggies and no potato chips. We were able to buy some bananas and plantains and great home made Kuna bread.

There are a few concrete structures on the island, but most are the typical wood stake and thatched roof huts. Duke told us that the generator runs between 6pm and 10pm, and even then, we only saw one or two lights on the island, other than the hospital complex. The hospital also had a big water pipe coming in from the mainland, to a big black plastic water storage tank. I don't think that the town has any plumbing, even the restaurant was using a 5-gal bucket of water for its water supply (this
is typical).

About halfway through the tour of the village, we were joined by a couple of small girls. They were very friendly and smiled up at us saying "'Mericans". Before I knew it, two of them had slipped their small hands in mine, and they insisted on holding my hand as we walked thru the town. It was pretty cute. They were at the toothless age, about 5 years old or so. Dave went off with the guide to pick up the chickens we had bought, and the girls and I played the game of 'what do you call that in
English'. They laughed at my Spanish and I laughed at their attempts to pronounce the unfamiliar English words.

We also played the game of 'take my picture'. I ended up with 4 or 5 kids standing and smiling for me, in various groupings. They would have me take the picture and then rush up to view it in the viewfinder.

I was really sorry that I didn't have a couple of candies in my pocket.

We have been using the Bauhaus Panama Cruising Guide waypoints for our trip, and they have been very good. Our regular chart has no detail for the area we will be traveling east of here, until we get more north along the coast of Colombia. So the guidebooks are invaluable. For the Bauhaus Guide, the author actually used satellite photos to chart the areas where the conventional charts do not cover. We use the Sea Clear navigation program with scanned in Bauhaus charts to keep track of where we
are on the computer. It is amazingly accurate.

In the morning, we took the dinghy up the river inshore of Aligandi. Usually this is a nice way to get a fresh water bath, do laundry, and see some animal life. We went all the way up the river as far as we could drag or paddle the dinghy, and never found any completely fresh water. It is the end of dry season, so maybe a little rain will produce a fresher river. We were able to collect some mangoes, floating in the river. All the huge mango trees are in full fruit right now, and dropping ripe
fruit into the river.

While going upriver, there was a lot of traffic in dugout canoes, going to and from their 'farms' up the river. We also saw several grave sites (little houses shading a grave). One site had so many graves that it looked like a little village.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Snug Harbor, Headed Slowly for Colombia

Anchorage: 09-19.617N 078-15.127W

We left the 'comfort zone' of the Western San Blas yesterday and mostly sailed the 27 miles east and south to Snug Harbor. There is a Kuna town within sight, but the anchorage is several miles away from the town. We are anchored right next to another really cute little sandy island studded with palm trees.

As we move further east, the mainland gets more mountainous and rugged. There no roads out here. The only habitation is on the islands just offshore. The Kuna live on the islands, but have 'farms' on the mainland up the numerous small rivers. A farm will be roughly an acre plot with mango and avocado trees, occasionally a breadfruit tree, some corn, bananas, and a variety of veggies, etc. Sometimes coconuts. It is shared by a family or two, and someone paddles up the river daily to tend the
plot, and harvest what's ripening.

Several of the larger villages out here have airstrips left over from WW2, when the US had a presence here protecting the Canal. There is a daily early morning airplane flight that leaves from Panama City at 6am, and stops where ever there's an airstrip that someone wants to get to. I just saw the Air Panama plane headed back toward Panama City (at 7:30am).

Other than the airstrips, Colombian trading boats stop by, bringing diesel and gas, and Colombian goods, and going back with lobster (during the open season) and molas.

It is getting kind of expensive to cruise the San Blas, because every island charges an 'anchoring fee'. It wasn't too bad when the fee was $2-$5, but we were just this morning charged $10 for the privilege of anchoring overnight here.

An old Kuna guy paddled up in his 'ulu'. He didn't seem to speak much Spanish (and certainly not English). But he had a typed piece of paper in Spanish, with a stamped seal and a signature that authorizes him to collect the $10 anchoring fee for visiting yachts. I think they collect a similar fee from people flying in, also. He handed me a hand-written receipt. Typically the fee is good for all the islands and anchorages in the area covered by the town (sometimes hard to figure out), for a month.
I might have been able to negotiate him down a little for only 'just passing thru', but we didn't seem to be communicating very well at all, and I'm not a good negotiator. (Dave is still asleep).

As we move further east and south, the outlying barrier reef drops away, and our passages are pretty much 'open ocean' conditions. But there are a few islands and reefy areas closer to the coast, and those we can pass behind, we do. But the water is not as clear in close to the coast... too many rivers dumping muddy water into the ocean. So it's a bit nerve-wracking to be navigating reefy areas in less than perfect conditions. Especially with very poor charts.

We have improved our e-Navigation here immeasurably by taking advantage of a shareware program called Sea Clear. This program was written by a cruiser who just didn't want to shell out the big bucks for a commercial program. And it allows you to scan in any paper chart or chartlet, add navigation reference points, and then navigate with it. Our friends on Gilana then took the most popular cruising guide, by Eric Bauhaus, and scanned in all the chartlets for San Blas. This is what we've been navigating
with, and it is 98% spot-on. Sea Clear also supports AIS input, and we plan to add AIS to Soggy Paws when we fly back to Florida for a brief visit in June.

We also got a more accurate version of the raster charts from another cruiser. What we were using were dated from a 1982 survey and had us sailing over islands and reefs all the time (on the electronic chart, not physically). What we got was a 2001 version that is much more accurate out in the Western San Blas, but still fairly inaccurate in the lesser-traveled Eastern San Blas.

I have been using a program called Franson GPSGate to 'pipe' the one physical GPS input into my computer into 3 different programs, so I can run them all at the same time, to compare their navigation accuracy, and/or to take advantage of different features of the programs. So we regularly run the Nobeltec Visual Navigation Suite program and Sea Clear at the same time. Sea Clear, because of the guidebook charts, is best for the close in work, and Nobeltec is easier to see the bigger picture and
do the longer range navigation. Though I was leery to add a program that might de-stabilize my rock-solid primary navigation computer, Franson GPSGate is rock-solid too, and I have had no problems with it.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

East Holandes Snorkeling

We had about a week sitting at the East Holandes "Swimming Pool" anchorage, in which we worked on various projects in the morning and went snorkeling in the afternoon.

The highlight of the snorkeling we did was definitely the "Grottoes" or "Caves". Our friends on Gilana had told us about them, showed us pictures, and sketched a chart in our logbook on how to find them. But the chart was not specific enough for us to figure out where they were. We finally asked around the anchorage, and Deb on Runner said she couldn't describe to us specifically enough how to find them, but she volunteered to lead us out there the next day.

Deb knows the area really well. They are semi-permanent residents of the Swimming Pool, and while here, she sets up 2 or 3 aquariums on board. So she spends her days snorkeling around looking for interesting additions to her aquariums, and for food to feed her current population. Most of the things she catches end up going back into the water after a few days of study/amusement. I think she must release all of them before Runner heads to Cartagena for a few months in the winter.

Anyway, Deb led us in our dinghy out to the Grottoes. And we took our handheld GPS along to mark the position, so it could be shared with others, if Deb doesn't happen to be around.

The Grottoes are a series of deep pools and caves on the back side of the reef about a mile NW of the Swimming Pool anchorage. The caves are linked together and it's possible to swim from cave to cave underwater, with one passage almost 100 feet long. We did a cursory exploration, to locate them all. We plan to come back and maybe dive them when we re-visit the San Blas this summer. (Though word of mouth from other cruisers has told us that

The dinghy route to get there is listed below. The "shallows" are very shallow, and the passage out to the reef should therefore be done as close to high tide as possible. At high tide, it was possible to motor the dinghy carefully through the shallows. At a lower tide we would have had to get out and walk and drag the dinghy. You should also pick a day that is fairly calm, as the swim-thrus would be difficult in rough weather.

The other interesting place we went in the calm weather was out through the cut to a wreck of a freighter in shallow water. This was challenging even in fairly calm conditions, and would be untenable in rough conditions. It was an interesting snorkel.

Other days, we just picked some likely-looking coral heads inside the reef to explore, and 'counted coup' on the lobster and conch we found. It is 'closed season' on conch, lobster, crab, and octopus, so we can't take them, but it is fun to find them and say "Pow, you're dead". We are amazed at how few lobster we have found, and only one we found was 'legal' size (by US standards). The Kuna and the cruisers have nearly cleaned out all the edible reef creatures in the San Blas. (Though the cruisers
seem to take the 'closed season' much more seriously than the Kuna).

But there are lots of little fish and beautiful live corals and invertebrates, and we seem to never get tired of poking around in the clear water. Occasionally we stumble across something really interesting like a sleeping Nurse Shark, or a large Spotted Eagle Ray.

Grotto Waypoints
NW of Swimming Pool anchorage about a mile. Stunning caves with swim-thrus. Recommend near high tide and fairly calm conditions.

#1 09-35.44N 78-40.72W West of anchorage
#2 09-35.82N 78-40.79W Start of shallows
#3 09-35.95N 78-40.79W End of shallows
#4 09-36.02N 78-41.02W Beginning of Grottoes area
#5 09-36.04N 78-44.13W End of Grottoes area

Wreck in Cut N of Swimming Pool
#1 09-35.827N 78-40.283W Small dinghy cut to get outside reef
(anchor just inside)
#2 09-35.867N 78-40.286W Reef side of wreck