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Old 03-30-2014, 11:43 AM   #1
TheNomadTrip
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Panama - Caribbean Side (San Blas)

So, I have a boat down in Panama. I'm heading down there the middle of April to do the handover in San Blas.

Anybody have any particular spots or experience down there? I'll be with a local (the seller of the boat) so I'm not particularly worried about numbers. More so general areas.

Also, I'm flying back down in June and going to be there, on the boat, until Oct/Nov. Anything I should see?

Also considering sailing up to Belize or down through Trinidad and Tobago. Thoughts?
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Old 04-08-2014, 05:38 PM   #2
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Re: Panama - Caribbean Side (San Blas)

Kunas (people from San Blas) are avid fishers and spearfishers.. They pretty much wiped out their coast so do not expect easy fishing there. The best experience I had there was outside of the protection of the islands, in front of the coral banks. Be careful with the big waves that sometimes are pounding the place. Saw there magnificent african pompanos, nice groupers, big barracudas. I swam with a huge tarpon for some time too. If you spear something, be ready to defend it from the sharks, much more present and active than on the Pacific side.
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Old 04-09-2014, 10:55 AM   #3
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Re: Panama - Caribbean Side (San Blas)

Are you leaving from Portobelo to go to the San Blas? I went spearfishing around Portobelo in August. Ask at the hostel for Dave, an American ex-pat. He can take you out. It is worth it to hear his stories. Ask Dave to take you out to Farallon or one of the reefs. I saw nice barracudas, and shot a nice mackerel out there (just make sure to look up off the reef every now and then!). Otherwise, a lot of nice reef fish. The visibility was not as great as it was in other parts of the Caribbean. So much fun.
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Old 04-19-2014, 06:02 PM   #4
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Re: Panama - Caribbean Side (San Blas)

Quote:
Originally Posted by adzhoo View Post
Kunas (people from San Blas) are avid fishers and spearfishers.. They pretty much wiped out their coast so do not expect easy fishing there. The best experience I had there was outside of the protection of the islands, in front of the coral banks. Be careful with the big waves that sometimes are pounding the place. Saw there magnificent african pompanos, nice groupers, big barracudas. I swam with a huge tarpon for some time too. If you spear something, be ready to defend it from the sharks, much more present and active than on the Pacific side.
Awesome advice, thanks a ton!

I'm wavering between a speargun and a polespear for this little trip. The speargun means I have to deal with a long bag on the plane...
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Old 04-19-2014, 06:05 PM   #5
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Re: Panama - Caribbean Side (San Blas)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel B View Post
Are you leaving from Portobelo to go to the San Blas? I went spearfishing around Portobelo in August. Ask at the hostel for Dave, an American ex-pat. He can take you out. It is worth it to hear his stories. Ask Dave to take you out to Farallon or one of the reefs. I saw nice barracudas, and shot a nice mackerel out there (just make sure to look up off the reef every now and then!). Otherwise, a lot of nice reef fish. The visibility was not as great as it was in other parts of the Caribbean. So much fun.
My boat is moored in Puerto Lindo, so we'll start there and sail to San Blas.

This is mostly a sailing lesson, but I'm definitely planning to squeeze in a few dives.
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Old 04-21-2014, 01:38 PM   #6
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Re: Panama - Caribbean Side (San Blas)

Puerto Lindo is only a few km up the road from Portobelo. I would recommend hooking up with Dave and seeing if he can take you out. He also fixes boats and sells salvaged parts, so you might want to meet him anyways.

Have fun!
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Old 04-21-2014, 04:36 PM   #7
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Re: Panama - Caribbean Side (San Blas)

San Blas is a huge area so you're bound to find some good spots to dive if you put in the work or have someone who knows their way around. The lobstering there is also pretty good. I was there for a week a year ago and only made it "offshore" to one of the outer reefs one day since the seas were quite rough the rest of the time. Saw large cuberas and grouper but was undergunned for them with a polespear since the purpose of the trip wasn't spearing. Bring a speargun, you'll thank yourself when you're there. Look forward to your trip report and best of luck with the new boat.
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Old 04-22-2014, 11:18 AM   #8
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Re: Panama - Caribbean Side (San Blas)

~ Nathan, Bro, use the polespear for Bugs, etc. throw a couple of guns into a Sport tube.
Cheers. K.
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Old 04-23-2014, 08:01 PM   #9
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Re: Panama - Caribbean Side (San Blas)

If you want to spear a fish there, take a gun with a lot of reach, except if you are going to search the rocks
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Old 04-25-2014, 02:59 PM   #10
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Re: Panama - Caribbean Side (San Blas)

X 2 !!! Nathan, you are in the Carrib on a sailboat, on a spearing trip, cover all the bases, and video everything!

Cheers!!
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Old 05-01-2014, 03:14 PM   #11
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Re: Panama - Caribbean Side (San Blas)

So I'm back. Didn't get as much diving in as I'd hoped, but I learned a bunch about my boat...

Quote:
Originally Posted by adzhoo View Post
Kunas (people from San Blas) are avid fishers and spearfishers.. They pretty much wiped out their coast so do not expect easy fishing there. The best experience I had there was outside of the protection of the islands, in front of the coral banks.
This was spot-on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HurricaneBK View Post
San Blas is a huge area so you're bound to find some good spots to dive if you put in the work or have someone who knows their way around. The lobstering there is also pretty good. I was there for a week a year ago and only made it "offshore" to one of the outer reefs one day since the seas were quite rough the rest of the time. Saw large cuberas and grouper but was undergunned for them with a polespear since the purpose of the trip wasn't spearing. Bring a speargun, you'll thank yourself when you're there. Look forward to your trip report and best of luck with the new boat.
I didn't even make it "offshore" once. And I would have been undergunned. But next time 'round - I'll get something. For what it's worth, it's a really beautiful place.

I'll also stop by and find ol' Dan - thanks for that tip!

Here's a vid of the sailing and such:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlULT2XEBLA

And here's the first part of my write-up on the trip: http://www.thenomadtrip.com/update/s...ailing-part-1/
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