Mister Blue Sky took the Pacific scuba plunge with Boca Brava Divers on La Bruja (The Witch) which is an ancient lava monolith located within Islas Secas Panama. Click on the GoPro Hero 3 video taken by Mister Blue Sky
Islas Secas is a group of 16 small volcanic islands about 15 miles from Boca Chica Panama. These islands are privately owned and uninhabited except for a high end fishing lodge, Islas Secas Resort. “Secas” means dry. The islands looked pretty parched and stressed for lack of rain because it has been the dry season. It is a pretty area and the waters are relatively clear but not Bahamas or Caribbean water clear.
I want to give a shout out to my 2 dive buddies Tim and Don who were on vacation from the States with their wives. They stopped in for a couple of beers at Gone Fishing Panama while I was playing bartender. They were looking for additional divers to offset the cost of a day’s diving with Boca Brava Divers. Good guys for sure, I enjoyed meeting and diving with them.
We dove with Boca Brava Divers which is located in Boca Chica Panama. It is owned by Carlos Spragge which he operates out of his boat yard and boat storage facility. I like Carlos. He has a very good sense of humor but more importantly he is definitely conscience about his dive operation. He is also a dive master. He radio’d the boat a couple of times during the day to make sure everything was going well. He has the good fortune of having Julio as an alternate Dive Master for 6 months of the year. Julio was trained on Utila about 15 years ago…Go Utila! Julio spends the other 6 months in Europe……ah the life of a dive master and physical therapist…..so yes Julio was our dive master along with Chino our panga dive boat captain. Chino is a good conscience dive boat captain. A big shout out to both Julio and Chino, thanks guys. Boca Brava Divers also has a bigger dive boat for larger groups and multi day trips that will go as far as Coiba Island. See the website for additional info.
Scuba diving on the Pacific side of Panama is not cheap. Its an all day affair because the diving action is a considerable ways from the main land. We collectively paid $600, $200 each for 2 tank dives plus lunch and drinks. The run from Boca Chica to La Bruja in Islas Secas was about an hour each way. Tim, Don and I definitely had a good time that day thanks to Julio and Chino. This excursion also gave me the opportunity to see the Islas Secas islands. They are very pretty for sure from the on the water perspective. I am sure that the fishing in and around these islands is very good.
Lets talk about the dives. Th first dive was on La Bruja which basically is a volcanic rock-lava mount that rises from about 65ft off the bottom and breaks the surface by at most 6-8 feet. The dive is basically once around the rock. La Bruja has substantial wildlife from sharks, skates, Guitar Fish, lobster, rays, turtles with all kinds of tropical fish, schools of bait-jacks-spadefish as well as many other fish. This was a very entertaining dive. The visibility was ok, not great and varied as we circumnavigated La Bruja as did the temperature. La Bruja is like an underwater monolith…..tall, steep and dark. A significant contrast to diving on coral walls or sea mounts. Ok you divers….what is the hand signal for a Guitar Fish?……yep air guitar! Pretty funny seeing your dive master all of a sudden go into air guitar mode…..made me forget to video the 3 that we saw. Tropical fish were cleaning a turtle’s shell. Eagle Rays were spotted in the distance. There were many schools of fish big and small that were seen in the distance but did not get captured in the video. Most of the fish were in depths between 10-40 feet. There were much fewer fish in the base area of the volcanic monolith.
We did the second dive after our lunch break. Carlos provided a variety of fresh fruits already cut into slices as well as excellent fixings for creating one’s own deli sandwiches. We anchored right off of a white sand beach…you do not find many bright beaches on the Pacific side of Panama, they are usually dark brown like the one below;
We had the option to picnic on the beach but all elected to hang on the panga. Afterwards we headed over to a small island about a half mile away for our second and final dive. The visibility was poor compared to La Bruja and there was not near the same quality and volume of wild life.
Mister Blue Sky enjoyed the dive trip. Being able to dive on the Pacific side of the Tropical Highway off of Panama was a new liquadic adventure. This Pacific submersion upon lava rocks was a real contrast to the corals of the clear Caribbean waters. Hopefully there will be future volcanic underworld adventures in the tropical Pacific waters.
Till Next Tide Blog Flockers,
Mister Bue Sky,
The Hammock Philosopher