Paradise in the Perlas

(Ensenada Playa Grande, Isla San Jose, Las Perlas Islands, Panama)

There’s a lot of good days here on Oceanna. Hell there’s a lot of great days. This day though, this day goes right at the top of the list.

After two back to back 90 nautical mile passages resulting in 45 hours underway it was great to be at anchor and what a treat Isla San Jose was.

If I’m forced to pick out one downfall of the day though it would the alarming decrease in water temperature. With the Humboldt Current wrapping in bringing chilly Peruvian waters from the south the usual bathtub-esque dive-in was replaced by a near heart-stopping surprise. A jump into the water was now quickly followed by a shriek, a gasp, and a speedy exit back onto the boat.

That’s why as the boys set out for a morning spear the full wetties were called into action. A male fashion statement that I’m used to seeing, and if Nicole has her way, a new and permanent staple in Stephen’s everyday wardrobe.

I’ve become numb to Greg’s illustrious “fishing stories” and today’s self-proclaimed World Record quickly got stored on the same shelf. He returned with a Harlequin Grouper, a beautifully adorned fish, that he’s “officially” hand weighed in – a completely (un)reputable practice used by overambitious fisherman the world over – at 9 pounds, 4 ounces. Let it be known the following fishbook entry was consulted before the weighing.

Size: Usually from one-half-pound to 2 pounds; may reach 5 or 6 pounds. World record 9 pounds, 3 ounces. 

With the W.R. cleaned and put away in the fridge the day of dinghy tours began. We checked out a cliffside cave that we could drive the dinghy into. I should emphasize the word could, because following our initial entry, look around, and exit, further viewing of the tidal cave had us staying far, far away. Imagine, for a second, taking a ride in a soup-bowl in your laundry machine during the wash cycle. You’d have one busted up bowl and one hell of a ride. Moral of the story, Marie is one soup-bowl we don’t want to break.

Further exploration had us taking in some beautiful coastline and eventually beaching the dinghy back near Oceanna to comb the far-stretching, completely uninhabited, white sand beach. There were primo shells to be collected, a wandering river to be followed, and a grove of coconut trees to be pillaged.

Once the oh-so-handy Evans’ boys had the coconuts husked, we simultaneously realized coconuts were about the exact same weight and size as bocce balls. And wouldn’t you know, we just so happened to have the correct amount for a game. Let the beach bocce begin! We had one ball casualty which, as is known to happen in beach bocce, means it then got eaten. And poor Nicole chose her partner poorly and the boys soared to an uncontested victory.

The day ended coming full circle back to fishing. We set out for a sunset dinghy fish – coconut cup sundowners included – with three rods and G Fresh on the helm we trolled the coastline in hopes for a bite. And boy oh boy I caught one! Two, I caught two! Probably the two best fish in the sea no doubt, so we took the standard photos and sent them back home for a swim.

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Greg aggressively assisting Stephen into his wetty.

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Don’t they look cute.

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Pretty impressed with himself.

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The supposed World Record.

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Dinghy tour captain.

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The cliff side cave.

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Inside the cave.

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Inside looking around the cave. Didn’t go back in after this.

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Let the beach combing begin.

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Nicole finding our new favourite purple shells.

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