July 5th, 2019 - Ready for a Panamanian Adventure!
Much preparation goes into getting ready for an offshore voyage after winding down for a week or so... Checking the weather window (yet again), sending e-mails, removing the outboard engine from the dinghy and onto the rail, hoisting the dinghy on the bow and lashing her down, checking safety gear and harnesses, checking the engine, running and standing rigging, making water, making up some easy meals and dogging down portholes and hatches... Then as we head off to Panama, some 900 miles and eight days away, we go onto watch mode, 2 teams alternating 3 hours on and off at night and 4 hours on and off during the day. The "off" watch tries to sleep in the heat and constant movement, while the "on" watch scans visually and by Radar & AIS for other boats (ships) every 15 minutes or so. Days come and go, books are read and movies watched, food is shared and sunset dinners become the gathering time for the crew. The motion is constant, the wind sometimes fluky and when necessary the engine is run all day and night. Ships appear, all converging on the Canal and Colon, Panama. We sight land, the mountains of Darien, and finally we've arrived, a little soggy and tired, but satisfied and proud of our accomplishment.
Our new home is Shelter Bay Marina (some 20 miles out of Colon) and offers a good restaurant, happy hour with $ 1.51 "Panama Beer" bottles, a pool, laundry, hot showers, a shuttle bus to Colon for provisioning and parts, a great crew and full boat yard for those who need work done.
We accomplish most of the items on our to-do list, are well fed and rested, have all of our Canal paperwork complete and payments made for our Aug. 9th transit... so now it's time to head to the San Blas Islands and discover the indigenous Kuna Indians and their 360 remote islands!