Western Holandes Cays

We spent a second night anchored in front of Yansaladup in the
Limon Cays before moving to our current location yesterday. We
are now in the Western Holandes Cays, anchored in front of
Waisaladup just east of Acuakargana. There is only one hut on
each island. The families care for the coconut trees on the
islands, fish, and make molas. They get 10 cents from Columbian
traders for each husked coconut. This is also a very beautiful
setting. There is a bit of a roll as there is no protection
from the west and south, and less breeze than we would like
because the high coconut palms shade us from the wind. Our
position is N 9 degrees 35.7 minutes, W 78 degrees 46.4 minutes.

Friday afternoon, while in anchored at Yansaladup, some
fisherman sailed up to us in their ulu. They said that they
needed cooking oil to cook up their catch and would be willing
to trade a cup of cooking oil for fish. They had a large pile
of different fish in the bottom of the ulu. We had seen them
haul in these fish from nets attached to poles in the water
where there is a shallow sand bar a few hundred yards away. The
deal was struck and they filleted two fish for us and seemed
pleased with the cup of sunflower oil. What a nice dinner that
made. As they departed, we marveled at how well these ulus,
carved from a single tree trunk, sailed in any direction.

The sail out of the Limon Cays on Saturday was trickly as we
had to wind our way through a myriad of reefs and sand bars. We
timed the sail for 10 am when the sun was high but still behind
us. Laura stood at the bow as lookout. Once through we had a
delightful sail to the Holandes Cays. The seas were flat as we
were behind the reef, but the wind was strong as these small low
islands do little to stop the wind once you are more than 100
yards away. We anchored in 45 feet of water but did not dare
move closer to the island given the steep drop off from the
beach and the protuding coral heads just in front of us. After
a quick lunch, we snorkeled the reef and found it to be one of
the best snorkeling spots that we have every encountered. The
water was very clear and the reef stretched the length of the
island except for a small gap that opened to a white sand beach.
There were many fish including some types that we had not seen
before. We also swam up to the beach and walked the 200 feet to
the other side of the island.

We snorkeled more of the reef today. This afternoon the
German boat “Vera”, who we encountered on our passage from
Bonaire, anchored nearby and we all went to shore to walk the
cicumference of the island. Then Laura and I spent some
cleaning the underside of the boat before taking the dinghy out
to “Vera” for “sundowners.” Britta and Michael and both
interesting people and it was fun to share a bottle of wine and
swap sailing stories.

We may stay here one more day before heading deeper into Kuna
Yala, although we have not yet picked our next island.