Posted by: catamarantwooceans | October 9, 2016

Bocas to Shelter Bay

4.10.16 – Tuesday – At 0600 there was enough light to go. Engine started, I went forward to raise the anchor. The windlass did not work in the “up” direction. Yesterday when I anchored the same thing happened; I tightened the bolts on the controller in the hope that the matter was settled but I should have known better. I tweaked with the wires, spraying some electrical cleaner and succeeded in coaxing the windlass to work. Anchor up, I went out of the Bocas channel, raised the main in the light breeze coming off the land and motored towards Escudo de Veraguas, 42 miles away. Trolling a line, I quickly caught a small Cerro mackerel good for two meals.

Around noon the sea breeze came and I could shut down the engine and proceed under sail; pure pleasure! As I approached Escudo I saw a yacht anchoring on the south of the island; I made up my mind to anchor on the west, near a small settlement of just a few shacks. I could see two small boats from which divers were going after lobsters and another panga on the beach.

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The sight of the island and the swaying palms was enough to make me happy.           I returned to the windlass’ electrical box and did a thorough job of cleaning all the contacts; it  seemed to work fine – tomorrow I’ll know for sure.

I have two distinct memories of Escudo de Veraguas. One was the breaking waves on the south shore which resulted once in a camera lost to a wave that jumped into the dinghy as we were coming ashore and another time a damaged throttle handle when a friend fell on it as we were going from the beach to the boat through those waves. The other thing I recall is the quantity of insects which attacked us the moment we came ashore. Tonight, as I started preparing my dinner, those flying insects attracted by the boat’s lights came aboard. I had to run from my cooking to different parts of the boat, brandishing the anti-insect spray, which helped only temporarily.

My planned dinner was fish in coconut milk and green curry. The coconut stuff, which was called “cream” tasted like condensed milk and although I added habanero pepper to the curry it was still quite horrible. Dinner over, I escaped to my cabin to read but the insects followed the light and I had no option but to shut all lights and go to sleep at 2030…The book I’m reading is the Ian McEwan’s latest called “Nutshell”; as all his books it is is very well written and maybe runs  a bit wild with events described though the outlook of a baby, a fetus, yet to be born.

5.10.16 – Wednesday – Planning to do the 100 miles to Colon as an overnight trip with an ETA of around 1000, I thought I’d leave at 1400. With time on my hands, I lowered the dinghy and motored to the village. Speaking to some men I met on the beach, I understood that they they were living there permanently. They have a special panga that goes every afternoon to the mainland with the lobsters and maybe also the fish they catch. There were also children there and everybody was very friendly.

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Next I went snorkeling; visibility was not so good but I could see some nice fish including some big barracudas who came to investigate. At 1330 I started going out, electing to go to the north of the island where a few boats were fishing, mostly by diving. I was surprised to see free divers working where the depth was 23 meters!

As I left the island behind a sea-bird alighted on the dinghy. I saw that as a “photo-op” and became busy getting her picture.

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Suddenly a bang was heard and felt; lifting my gaze from the camera’s screen I saw that we had hit a a floating tree which became attached to the starboard stern, probably between the saildrive leg and the rudder. I slowed down immediately, donned the harness, went out to the aft steps and using the boat hook tried to dislodge the nuisance. After a few tries, including motoring aft and breaking one of the branches, I succeeded pushing it away. Lucky it did not hit the port propeller, our single operating propulsion source!

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The moment we reached deep waters I put out the trolling gear and in half an hour I heard that something was caught. It swam towards the boat and appeared only when very close to the stern.

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A small shark; maybe edible but not my favorite. With caution I removed the hook from the creature’s jaws and released it to the deep; regretfully a bit damaged but leaving the hook, lure and wire leader on his snout would not be a better option, plus – it was my last Rapala. Once gone – I have a new stock of Chinese made lures that have yet to prove their worth.                                                                        (Please note that yours truly is not neglecting his journalistic duty, taking pictures for the blog in all conditions).

Night fell, the new moon lighted the scene for a while. On land some big clouds gave a lightning show but on the water the sky was clear, the wind light from the forward sector so we we’re still motoring.

6.10.16 – Thursday – A bit after midnight the land breeze joined the general flow to produce a southeasterly wind of about 10 knots. I opened up the jib and shut the engine down; I could sail about 15 degrees to port of my required track and would correct later with the engine if necessary. Of course at a certain point I had to start it; as I’m writing this now, 19 miles to Colon entrance, the true wind is less than 5 knots.

At 0915 I entered the haul-out basin.

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The boat was lifted out, I sat with Edwin, the marina’s yard manager to plan the parade of people who would come to the boat to participate in yet another chapter of yacht maintenance for me and Two Oceans”. More about that – in the next post.

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