We spent a few months in the Tuamotus, and would gladly return, because the water is beautiful and the living is easy. We visited several islands in the archipelago, enjoying our experiences in each. Read on for our Tuamotus favorites: where to anchor and eat and fun activities to enjoy.
This is for the sailors out there, and is based on our limited knowledge of only a handful of motus. We barely scratched the surface in this archipelago. Still, we can’t talk about our Tuamotus favorites without mentioning our favorite spots to stay on the boat for a while and these are definitely worth mentioning.
Hirifa is paradise for liveaboards. It has almost everything a cruiser needs: good internet, calm water for swimming and paddling, nice beaches for chill time, and for the kiteboarders, a sandbar for launching and consistent winds. Friends spent so much time there, they started a cruisers net.
We’re in our second month in the archipelago of Bocas del Toro, Panama. Time is flying! We’re keeping busy, seeing the sights, and spending time with fellow cruisers. Here’s an overview of Bocas del Toro boat life.
About Bocas del Toro
Bocas del Toro (or Bocas, familiarly) is a province on the Caribbean side of Panama. Part of it is located on the mainland, but the important part is the chain of islands. Bocas del Toro means Mouth of the Bull, and the island chain has 3 big islands and many smaller islets and atolls.
Bocas del Toro is a popular tourist destination, and the site of many banana plantations. It has an airport, with several daily flights from Panama City, and multiple water ferries and taxis from the mainland.
There are three big islands in Bocas del Toro, where most of the activity happens and the majority of people live and work.
Isla Colon is the main island, with the airport and main town, called Bocas Town. That’s where the stores are and lots of hotels and resorts. It’s the “big island” where we go to provision at the supermarkets.
Right across from Isla Colon, Carenero has a small marina, and many resorts, beaches, and restaurants.
Before Sunday morning, the forecasts said Tropical Storm Karen was supposed to keep west and north of us. We woke up to this change and did not have time to prepare. We keep a good eye on the weather forecasts, but we have to expect the unexpected living on a boat.
I’m not gonna lie: when the winds and rains started, I was scared. Sunday morning, the calm before the storm, we rushed around Sava closing hatches and lifting our dinghy while thunder roared in the background.
The island to the east of George Town, Exumas is called Stocking Island. There are many beaches on this lovely island and lots of places to anchor nearby. For most of our time in the George Town area, we anchored Sava near, and got stuck on Stocking Island.
Since this is a big area for cruisers, we tried to participate as much as possible to meet other sailors and learn from them. We went to the places they go, tuned in to the net and went to events for cruisers.
The Daily Cruisers’ net
Every morning at 8am, we tune in to the George Town cruisers’ net on VHF 72. This 30 minute conversation is led by one volunteer sailor and all the other boaters participate.
The Florida Keys are much bigger than I could explore in a year let alone the mere 2 weeks we’ll have spent there. I wish we had more time to spend sailing The Florida Keys but this is the time we had and we did a lot in that time.
Our goal was Key West but it is far! We had to break it up and make stops along the way. With a sailboat, you can’t pick and choose where the stops are. A lot of The Keys don’t have great places to anchor. You want your anchorage to be protected from wind and waves as much as possible. We are learning that those are not always easy to find.
This was our first and longest stay. We motored the boat down from Miami in about 7 hours. We drove because there wasn’t much wind that day and we wanted to arrive before dark. Sadly, sailing the Florida Keys isn’t possible without wind.