Isla Contadora, Las Perlas, Panama

David & Valerie Allen
Fri 12 Mar 2010 23:11
08:37.21 N   79:02.186 W

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Today we set out for the beautiful Las Perlas islands, south of Panama City.  These islands were noted for the beautiful large pearls that were found here when the conquistadores arrived.  Today these pearls are very scarce.  Contadora means accountant or counting house in Spanish.  The Spanish king set up an accounting firm on this island in the vain hope that all his pearls would pass through here en route to his coffers in Spain.  It is now a very well organized upscale development targeted at holiday makers from Panama City and environs.  We spoke with one woman out walking her dog.  Apparently the dry season is the children's three month holiday season from school.  Accordingly, there is quite a market for this real estate.  There are some interesting architectural styles and expensive looking homes.  There is an airport and several lovely hotels, restaurants and inns.  We met the new manager of one of the inns who said that there are many types of wildlife to be found- even small white-tailed deer.  I have no idea how they got to this island, miles from the mainland and surrounded by salt water!

Dave and I took a walk around the island before setting sail on Monday (that is a euphemism as there has been only about 5 knots of wind throughout our stay here.  Actually, we have motored everywhere, using up some of our precious diesel.)  We found surprises everywhere- beautiful gardens, a fantastic public tree house, romnatic restaurants (two had that name).  In the water I found surprises as well.  When I went to remove the incredibly lush growth around the water line, I must have been stung at least a hundred times by siphonophores and small jellyfish.  It certainly did not entice me to go swimming.

Some other Blue Water Rally yachts which were anchored at Contadora included AQUALUNA, BRIET and NORSA.  It was lovely to see everyone relaxing and doing boat work outside of a compulsory anchorage. 

Isla Contadora Waterfront.

View from a Contadora Garden.

Val climbing up to the top of the treehouse.

Our next stop was at an island just two miles away.  This was Isla Chapera and we managed to have the entire anchorage to ourselves- what a treat!  This is the island where the TV series, Survivor, is filmed.  We did notice a large building on another part of the island, but did not go to investigate.  We wanted to savour the peace and tranquility.  I attempted to swim, but found too many stinging creatures for comfort.  I ended up swimming with my DiveSkins and diving gloves.  It worked extremely well.  In the next bay I found a dinghy with the family from the 92' power boat, ENDLESS SUMMER, who were enjoying the lovely beach.  They are from San Diego and have EVERYTHING aboard- even a jacuzzi!