Cruising with Soggy Paws
Soggy Paws is a 44' CSY Sailboat. In 2007, we set sail on a 10 year around the world cruise.
Friday, April 18, 2008
East Holandes, San Blas, Panama
Our Position: 09-15.10N 078-40.74W

We finally secured a Cable and Wireless cell phone sim card from another cruiser, but then discovered that there is no signal for C&W in Coco Banderas. We heard a cruiser in the Holandes (10 miles away) talking about making a cell phone call, so decided to head there to make a few calls, and to be there for the Monday night Potluck on 'BBQ Island'. (Note: Holandes is pronounced Hollandaise, like the sauce).

The East Holandes has become the 'Georgetown' of the San Blas. Boats congregate there and hang out for months at a time. There are weekly potlucks and yoga on the beach. Someone is always doing something of a social nature. There is sometimes a VHF net (but not now). We already listen to 3 different SSB nets in the morning, and the 8107 'Panama Connection Net' at 0830 every morning has become sort of an extended range VHF net for the San Blas.

There were 17 dinghies on the beach at the Monday night potluck, and Dave counted 25 boats in the anchorage (that we could see).

The main anchorage area in the East Holandes has been dubbed 'The Swimming Pool' by the cruisers. There is a group of about 15 rather tightly packed boats there. The attraction is the reasonable anchoring depth (10-15') and being in the lee of BBQ Island--one of the few islands that doesn't have a permanent Kuna village.

Downwind of the Swimming Pool, in deeper water, we anchored with a group of 5 or 6 boats. Off to our right, behind another island but still within the Holandes reef system, was another group of about 5 boats. And around the corner to our left, out of sight (and not counted in Dave's count of 25 boats), were another 5 or 6 boats in the area dubbed 'The Hot Tub'. And we saw 4-5 boats anchored in the West Holandes the last time we went by there.

ALL of these anchorages have ideal anchoring conditions... good protection, good sand bottom, clear clean water, beautiful coconut-studded white beaches, and nice snorkeling/diving reefs nearby. I can see why some people have been hanging out in the San Blas for 4 years (or more).

Geek stuff (Ham Radio): Radio propagation around here has been driving me crazy. The SSB 'short skip' propagation (ability to talk to boats nearby) is terrible. So we can still talk to people in Honduras and Florida, but can't seem to hear anyone in Panama, further away than about 30 miles. Normally our radio setup is better than most boats. There are other boats that do seem to be hearing others that we can't. So not sure if we have a radio problem that's fixable, or whether it has to do with
having a backstay antenna that is somewhat vertically polarized and somewhat directional.


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