scuba diving bocas del toro

Sea Monsters & Our First Sailboat Scuba Dive

A few months ago, we were really itching to get to Panama. We were knee deep in boat projects, covered in sika, yet dreaming of jungles. We traveled North America full time for almost seven years and no doubt discovered a deep love for our home country. But we’re long overdue for a culture shock.

The Bahamas are some of the dreamiest waters in the world and will be tough to top but the culture felt very close to home.

Enter Panama…it’s a whole new world!  Wandering around Bocas Del Toro we discovered plants and trees we had never seen before, fruits we’ve never tasted and a style of living we haven’t experienced. And we haven’t even scratched the surface of this country yet.

Now, we’re on our way to Isla Bastimentos which we’re told is wildly different from Bocas Town. A more relaxed atmosphere with dramatic rain forest landscapes and filled with the native tribes.

We’ve got two big items on the agenda. One is to break in our new scuba gear and two is to celebrate a birthday.

That little glimpse of the native Ngabe village of Quebrada Sal (Salt Creek) at the end was just that…a glimpse. Stay tuned because we can’t wait to show you more of the island and what we find on our jungle adventure!

isla bastimentos salt creek

exploring panama by sailboat

isla bastimentos, bocas del toro

Aquatic Life

It’s the rainy season here so the water visibility isn’t going to be great and it takes some getting used to after the crystal clear waters of the Bahamas.  The green murky waters don’t hold us back though because the aquatic life is drastically different and filled with intricate details.  For our first dive from the boat, it was a great success.  It was just the soft start we needed to get back in the groove of being able to breathe underwater.  Now we can start to stretch our aquatic fins and explore a little further.

scuba diving panama

scuba diving bocas del toro

Snorkel/Dive Gear


Sailing Report

To see our full map with interactive pins, click here:


sailing around bocas del toro panama

  • Dates: August 7-9, 2017
  • Nautical Miles Sailed: 16.8
  • Anchorage:  Playa Azul, a calm and quiet place to drop the hook.  The anchorage can be found easily on Active Captain.
  • Cell & WiFi: We had no cell phone service here.  We used our Iridium Go to stay connected and check weather.
    With our WiFi Ranger we were able to tap into the resorts signal, but it was barely fast enough to check email and social media.

anchoring and sailing panama

isla bastimentos, bocas del toro

anchoring and sailing panama

Gear Used In This Video

Cameras Used to Capture This Video

The Crew

Dale and Justin are our first Patreon’s  aboard from our recent Crew Call.  If you want to wish Justin a belated happy birthday, you can find him here:


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Hello there! I honestly don’t know what to say, so I am going to tell you a bunch of random facts instead. I'm a fish eating vegetarian who hates spiders and loves snakes. I almost never took vacations growing up. I wanted to be Pippi Longstocking (still do). I misspell about every other word I write and still struggle with grammar. I love splurging on a good high tea (which is really hard to find these days). And whatever you do, don’t tell me I can’t do something, because then I'll HAVE to do it!

Comments (34)

  • Bruce Bowers

    Greetings! There are a number of Sailing Youtube channels that I follow. Not that it means anything, but yours has recently moved from number two to number one on my list, passing SLV. (though I still watch Riley and Elena’s every episode) I find your organizational skills, videography, relatability, etc. to be very endearing and I look forward to every episode.
    Jason, a quick note: “Un mas tiempo” doesn’t translate to what you mean to say. Try “Uno vez mas”. Tiempo means time in a clock sense. Vez means time in an occurrence sense.
    Your attention to detail is awesome and I love the way you always do the right thing, i.e. no shortcuts. Keep doing what you are doing guys. FWFS!

  • Deborah Kerr

    You’re not in Kansas anymore Dorothy!! Wow, a lot of cool-looking creatures in the sea and river. A very different culture, not your typical tourist trap for sure!! So cool that Jason can communicate en espanol!~! You all are just having so much fun. Looking forward to more adventures 🙂

  • Kay Tennant

    It’s so wonderful to see you guys having such cool adventures ! It’s like you’re discovering the new world. All with fresh eyes ! It’s a pleasure sharing it with you. I have many thoughts / comments about SCUBA diving. I don’t want to be negative, just PLEASE be careful!! I do like how you’ve started so slow. Keep it up. And I’ll only say one thing. Always have a small spear and bag/ container with you, for the lion fish. Each one killed is one less left to breed and make more ?. It’s also a good excuse to wear gloves ! ? gloves themselves aren’t bad , you just don’t won’t to use them to grab the coral.
    Keep having fun and sharing your adventures.

  • Rhonda Brazell

    Nikki, you look great! I want the red one-piece…where did you get it?? Also, your music in all the vids is so good! Who is the artist? I wish we could do this! Love watching y’all❤️
    Love, Rhonda

    • Curious Minion

      Hey Rhonda. I don’t know about the suit, but the artist is always listed at the end of the video. Look at the bottom center of the video, usually just before the end “credits”.

  • Anne

    Love Niki’s black and white shorts! What is the maker and where did she purchase them from?

  • Bradley

    Great to see you diving, but may I kindly ask you to research a no gloves policy? You don’t really need them. Stewardship of the reefs. Safe travels!

  • Ron L

    Just curious – why not spear the lionfish in the video?

  • Sandy Ellingson

    While you are in Panama, make sure to check out Taboga Island. It was my favorite place when I lived their at Fort Clayton in Panama. Also make sure to eat some authentic Ceviche while there. I can’t believe the conditions of the water. When I was there and doing alot of diving the water was so clear that you could count the grains of sand from inside the boat 20 foot down. Wishing you better conditions so you can really see all the beauty. Thanks for sharing. I am reliving my past through you guys and so jeaous!

  • Al

    Hey guys, nice vid, glad to see you’re into SCUBA now, opens up a who ‘nuther world so to speak, I’ve been certified for years, but sadly don’t get a chance to do it nearly enough anymore. Did I miss where you went over your dive gear/compressor in a previous video? And yeah, that viz was cr@p, storm come thru recently, time of year, or just normal for that location?

    Also, towards the end, you guys were a little ‘casual’ with the life jackets, you’d mentioned mucho denaro fine if caught without them, is that only applicable in more busy/populated areas? Keep up the great work, looking forward to the next one, and well worth being a Patreon to support this adventure!

  • Mary

    I thought the waters were not going to be clear from Jason’s comment about not getting in the first day. There were several new fish I’ve never seen. I’m glad you were able to capture some video before the battery died! Lots of interesting new things to see!

    Happy birthday Justin! Jason’s favorite aunt has a birthday today! ??

    Remember John Baptiste from Lolllapalooza? They were so much fun when they got down off the stage and marched through the crowd!! That was s fun day!

    I’m sorry for Sue, her family and all of the others who have been affected from the hurricanes.

    Be safe.

    • Curious Minion

      Happy birthday Mary!

  • Laura

    A lovely adventure! We are, were, in Glacier National Park and the fires took the Sperry Chalet while we were there. The Going to the Sun Road was closed, and visibility was almost nothing, we had to turn on our headlights to drive. Lots of fires were burning with no end in sight. Alas we left early and are hitting it to the PNW for cleaner air.

    Take care.

  • Ken

    Another great video guys! I can’t wait for the next one!……mind you I say that every video you guys make!

  • Suzy B

    Loved Nikk’s hat. I remember you saying the name of the site. Would you mind sharing again? I am looking for a cool hat!

  • Luis Arango

    Niki and Jason, I’m a fellow rv’r from Miami. I have navigated the Panamanian waters and the best advice is be carefull, drug traffic between Colombia and Panama is a daily occurance so boats been highjack is a daily occurance specially South of the panama canal. They take the boats to navigate them full of drugs back to the states so please don’t trust and be careful.

  • Judy Hornbeck

    I was so worried about you guys until we saw your post……you have become so professional with sailing!!! Did you feel the earthquake? So happy you got out of dodge before all these storms!!!! Keep up the great posts!!!

  • Harold George Hofmann Jr

    Oh my, such joy and adventure. Keep on keepin’ on.
    Love, George

  • Sue Goetzinger

    This is helping brighten our day from hurricane hitting our home! Thanks. Still had power to watch


    Great update: a birthday, celery for breakfast and diving in the afternoon. Looking forward to more dive videos. I think the difference between snorkeling video vs. SCUBA video is already evident and will only get better.

    Mind a small comment? Be careful with your gauges – if you have them dangling and swim near rocks you can crack them.

    • It’s our first dive, we tried to tuck it into our cumberbun for our second dive.


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