To be perfectly honest we didn’t know much about Providencia before we arrived. Come to think of it we didn’t know much about Isla Mujeres either…maybe it’s a trend? All it took was hearsay of this beautiful place and a few photos of lush green mountains over 100 miles from the nearest land mass to motivate us to up the anchor in Isla Mujeres, Mexico and take to the sea, hoping one day to explore this exotic island. We dropped anchor a bit over 2 weeks ago now and I can definitely say this island hasn’t disappointed.

The exchange rate through the ATM, including the bank fee, is 2,400 pesos to $1USD. I get a much higher exchange of 2,600 to 1 if I use my Chase Sapphire Card which the grocery stores don’t mind taking. The groceries are a good price and eating at the local “restaurants” are economical (read $18 for two dinner plates and 4 beers). The check in (covers checkout) fee was $150 USD or 320k in Colombian pesos (roughly $130 USD) and is easily done by calling Bush Agencies on the VHF Channel 16 when you arrive. You then go into town and “up the hill” to Mr. Bush’s place. He can tell you anything you want to know about the island.

The anchorage is free and there is internet available via SIM card for around $20 a month for 3GB. One thing I wish we had brought with us was a Mifi type wifi thing that takes a SIM card and will act as an internet hot spot on your boat. They make these as stand alone devices or as USB dongles. Essentially we get internet through the cell service here. We were lucky as the internet lady must have pitied our sorry state and let us borrow her one and only wifi SIM card reader. She simply asked we return it. NO Problem Senora…you can’t buy anything like that on the island.

The island has much to offer in the way of land services and adventures but that is for another post.

I think more than what the island has to offer on land is what the waters surrounding Providencia, CO hold under their multi colored blue surface. Lots and lots of snorkeling sites (diving as well if you want to go deeper) all within dinghy range. We were excited to see the underwater coral here in the area that has the 3rd largest barrier reef in the world with something like 20 miles of reef protecting this island.

Unfortunately Tate’s brand new snorkel mask we bought in Key West at Diver’s Direct leaks. We always attributed this his mustache but while we were here we switched masks and determined indeed it leaks even on me! I was however able to buy another mask from the very limited selection here so now we can both snorkel again. Diver’s Direct said they’ll refund us the money if we ship it back from Panama, kudos to their customer service. In retrospect I would have brought a couple of masks. From the water the porta-bote isn’t the easiest to get in and out of. Honestly it’s actually hard…but it’s amazing how well you do with what you have.

You could swim for days around here and still not see it all. I’m no coralologist but I’ve been told that many of the coral species are native just to this island. There are tons of coral heads so deceptively close to the surface that delight the eyes but send a shiver down a sailor’s spine…imagine one wrong turn off the channel in this place, YIKES!

Living around the mounds and mounds of coral are lots of fish.


Small Cowfish…
Baby Cowfish

Up to bigger fish like this Black tip reef shark that swam about 30 feet away from me during one of our dives. This is the first time I’ve seen a shark like this wild in the water and surprisingly I wasn’t >that< scared. He was about 5 feet I think and seemed uninterested in me, besides there's nothing I could have done except grin and bear it and in hind sight I feel lucky to have seen it. I have a general rule of thumb with animals. Bigger than me is pretty frightening but smaller not so much. I imagine I would have felt differenct about an 8 foot reef shark in the water with me...

Squid hilariously swimming backwards through the water, giving me the stink eye.

Nice sized brain coral with perfectly formed pathways on top.

The perspective of the island from the dinghy is quite spectacular. You get a sense that you are really out in the wild this far away from land.

One time out diving Tate got hooked! You see a fellow on a boat in the anchorage, Steve and Vicki SV Tango, likes to spearfish and one day came over with some wonderfully cleaned fish as a gift for us. YUM!

Wouldn’t you know that yet another boat in the anchorage had an old speargun they never use and offered it to Tate to use while he is here. With a little tender loving care the speargun was revitalized and everyday Tate looks forward to going out and bringing home his dear wife something delicious to cook.

The very first fish Tate speared was a nice sized grouper (bottom left of the bowl). Since he has speared a couple of Yellowtail Snappers and as we speak is out in the dinghy trying to feed me.

We’ve been absolutely so busy with spearfishing, swimming and exploring the island with other boats in the anchorage that I almost feel as if I need a break from all the activity. Tate and I are really having a blast here and are in no hurry to leave. Hopefully we’ll stay another month at least so Tate can sharpen up his fishing skills in anticipation for Panama and the islands of Bocas del Toro and the San Blas. I think we are finally getting the hang of this cruising thing.

EDIT: Tate’s catch of the day. Definitely going to invest in a better speargun in Panama:)
Tate spears a lobster

(We are almost out of our 3GB internet card so I apologize if there is a delay in responding to comments)