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Brigitte and Yves are sailing around the world on board Téthys, their Nautitech 435 which they bought in Greece in 2010. After going through the Panama Canal, and before taking on the world’s biggest ocean, they decided to visit Coiba, on the south western coast of Panama.

In the twilight of 2014, the Miraflores locks closed behind Téthys. Once past the Bridge of the Americas, the Pacific Ocean will open up before us. This time it’s for real. We are really heading out into the unknown, and feel as though we are about to begin The Real Voyage.
Before the Big Crossing we wanted to check out the south western coast of the Gulf of Panama, the western coast of Panama and more particularly to take a trip to the island of Coiba, which is somewhere that the guidebooks don’t talk about too much. We therefore need to head south west to get around a headland which is well-named: Punta Mala.

After doing the supermarkets on the 24th December (what a great idea! However, we did have to stock up) we spent the morning of Christmas Day diving down to scrub our two hulls. That took us each a good two hours as the keel was filthy and had been colonized by different sorts of barnacles. And then we were off, heading for the small island of Otoque, where we planned to spend the night. We found a huge bay to the south, and have it to ourselves until a small fishing boat anchors across on the other side.
Before setting off, we decide to go on foot to the little village which we had seen on the east coast when we passed by. First though, we went to help out the fishermen. They had lost a washer from their fuel filter overboard, and their outboard motor wasn’t in good form. And guess what? Yves finds not one but two washers for their filter. A veritable Father Christmas!
However, we had less success with our walk. Given the swell, there was only one landing point, and from there, there were no paths that crossed the island. We tried to make an incursion via the shoreline, but after an erratic walk across complicated rock formations, we found ourselves at the foot of a sheer cliff, dripping under the hot sun. The rocks were burning hot, so we had to beat a retreat.
Not to worry. At 5pm, we weighed anchor and headed south, somewhere on the coast of the Azuero Peninsula. Whatever happens, as our charts are not very precise, we need to arrive during the day. We therefore need to sail by night as we have 100 miles to cover, with no available shelter and unpredictable winds.
For once we travel more quickly than expected, and we reach the west coast of the famous peninsula at 3pm the next day. We drop anchor in Naranjo Bay, which is calm and magnificent. A small waterfall pours into the sea. Behind the trees which line the beach are a few cabins, given away by the plumes of smoke. We are in the Mount Hoya natural park, with the highest point close by at 1227m. The landscape is really stunning. There is no sound other than the monkeys which cry out in the ...

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