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Ocean Rival Journey Log
Adam Power Diana Power
Tue 7 Jun 2016 03:15

Monday eve 06 June.
Last nights anchorage was off Playon Chico.  It was another densely populated island but slightly more sophisticated than Ailigandi with its footbridge to the mainland, an airstrip adjacent the bridge and a main boulevarde with 2 or 3 little shops selling canned goods, sweets, nails but no fresh produce.

The sporting treat was a ladies game of volleyball. Again a very high standard with long rallies. As the women tend to be quite small no-one was able to finish a rally with a smash to the floor and everyone was very skilled at defence and at feeding the attack.

We sat watching the game next to a pair of young Morman missionaries who were smartly dressed in shirts and ties, clutching their bibles. They had been living on the island for a year and they were looking after the smartest church building built out over the water on the mainland side. They didn't appear to have much purpose however other than to see out their 2 years between school and college.  This morning they were carrying a shipment of timber from one side of the bridge to the other. They had no idea why the timber had been sent but were dutifuly storing it in the church in case someone else found a use for it.
We took a stroll up to the cemetary 1st thing this morning.  It can be seen from the village on a hill on the mainland and we a found the path leading off the runway.  The cemetry is like another village but each hut houses a few mounds of earth, some covered with blankets, others with a pot for flowers, older ones colapsed. Climbing to the top level we were rewarded with a lovely view of Playon Chico. I surepticiously bagged a couple of mangos lying on the path as the guide warned us not to pinch produce-particularly coconuts. However later there were hundreds rotting under the trees so I filched as many as my bag could take. We were a bit slow with the moskito repellent so have been itching  all day.
When we returned to the boat we were visited by a family- mum, dad and 3 kids who climbed aboard and sat in the cockpit chatting away. We fed them biscuits and drinks and they invited us back to their house before climbing back into their canoe and heading home.
As the day was getting older we declined the invite and with some difficulty upped anchor andset off for the next village.
Our luck with groundings ran out big time today and within a few minutes of setting off we came to a gentle but  complete stop and no amount of reverse would take her off again. I surveyed the area with the dinghy and boat hook (we were on a grassy sand shelf) and decided that our best bet was to try and swing to starboard and apply full power. My attempt to initiate the swing with dinghy and outboard pulling a bow rope was not having much effect  but as I was thinking about anchor options  a couple of locals in canoes came and joined the party.   Borrowing our snorkle masks they busied themselves under the boat and sure enough she swung and with a hefty burst of power off she popped. I have no idea what they did but we were very grateful (10 dollars worth of gratitude changed hands).
We had two more near misses today-both actual encounters but both times quick reverse did the trick. It is possible to spot shallow water if the light is right and the bottom colour shows up slightly brown or sometimes darker or lighter but once the sun is ahead nothing shows except breaking surf.
We had a drift swim for lunch passing on several deserted islands and pushed on to get to our current anchorage before dark. Tigre is described in the guide as a little paradise hiding behind  a shabby concrete facade- looking forward to looking behind the facade tomorrow. We enjoyed a lovely sunset with our beers, the pink tinge catching the caps of towering cumulo nimbus off to the north. A new moon joined the show following the sun down to the horizon and making up for lack of colour with subtelty of light playing on the water.

The shore of Panama so far has been steeply wooded and lushly green, hills rising rapidly some 500-1000m I guess. Here there are darker higher mountains behind the hills and the shore breeze at 4pm was enough to unfurl the jib for a short burst and provide a cooling end  to the day.