Eastern Holandes Cays - Swimming with the Sharks

Sea Mist > Sold to New Owners July 2016
John and Cheryl Ellsworth
Tue 9 Feb 2010 16:22

09 35.36 N  078 40.40 W


We have been enjoying the Holandes Cays,  Banedup, Swimming Pool and BBQ islands are very popular with the yachties,  most of the 21 islands are uninhabited, which is a nice change from the Kuna village islands.   They are protected by a seven mile barrier reef and surrounded by beautiful turquoise waters, my photos of the islands and sand banks that were once islands look like postcards we have all received with a “Wish you were here”!   We have been snorkeling in the different bays – hearing stories of Tiger Sharks, Hammerheads cruising out by the barrier reef, lots of Makos and Black Tips and of course in the Mangroves, Cocotrillos, or Crocs.  You have to wonder why on earth anyone would go out into the waters and snorkel, that is because we are on the other side of the barrier reef,we know, we know, they are fish -  and can go anywhere…  We met a young American couple, Kim and Scott,  they have been cruising this area for a couple of years, they go spear fishing so they have seen more of the wild side or various sharks, barracudas, and grouper.  Where we were yesterday off swimming pool Island there is a nice coral reef with lots of colourful small fish, no shark sightings.  Last night we met other yachties on BBQ island for ‘Happy Hour’, I was chatting with a couple and at about the same time we both said, “I know you from somewhere”, we had met on the dock at Redhook, St. Thomas - we were both loading our provisions into our dinghies it is a small world.  They are from South Africa and are also planning to go to the Pacific, so we will probably meet up with them again.  We met the ‘mayor’ of BBQ Island, Reg a Canadian from Vancouver, and his wife Debbie, an Aussie who spent their last ten years working in Manhatten.  They retired and set off to see the world, they have now been anchored off this island for the past twelve years, they keep the island free of debris and sweep the sandy beach clean so yachties can come and enjoy picnics at the table made from a yacht that tried to come into these islands at night, it did make a  nice table.   I asked Debbie how she got her groceries, etc from Panama City.  They use a personal shopper, another American who goes to Panama City to buy food and anything else they need, like anchor chain, washers, freezers and so on.  When they retire from the ‘sailing’ life they plan to purchase an apartment in Cartagena, everyone seems to love this place, on our next go around we’ll have to stop in – or go on a cruise!  We certainly got lots of information about the Pacific, John is going to talk to Doug and Mary on Fandango to glean some more info about the Pacific.  We are getting excited about the Pacific, everyone we talked to last night told us we would just love all of the islands.  We are looking forward to the fresh fruits, oranges, grapefruits, papayas and mangoes!



DTG to the Panama Canal entrance at Colon: 81 nm