Posted by: catamarantwooceans | March 1, 2017

On in Pacific Panama–part 2

20.2.17 – Monday – Last night we went for dinner at the “Beirut” , a Lebanese restaurant overlooking the marina, a good place to wait for Gili and use their internet. Gili came at 2045, we all had a beer brewed in Lebanon and went over the plan for the days ahead. We need to arrive at Ecuador on March 3rd, fly to Cuzco, Peru on the 6th, do our land tour and come back to Guayaquil on the 14th. After that Gili would fly back home and I would fly to visit my daughter’s family in California.

In the morning I was eagerly waiting for Mike Barker, the rigger, to call.  Gili and Shimon went shopping for food and I stayed on the boat, waiting. When he did call, I had a big disappointment. “Fedex sent your stuff to a company called “Two Oceans” and would be able to resend it to me only tomorrow”. I became really upset but looking at my timetable I saw that I could bypass one of the points on the way and still start the leg to Ecuador on February 25th, my planned departure date. “Tomorrow I will surely finish the job” he said.

I came into the marina to fill fuel and water and used the opportunity to go over to the Capitania, to check the availability of the relevant authorities for making a departure to a foreign country in La Palma, Darien. The Capitania people were celebrating the birthday of one of the employees and had little time for me. They did use me to take their group picture on their phones (I took one on mine too) and then found time to produce the Zarpe, sailing permit to Ecuador. Immigrations we’ll have to do in La Palma.

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                      The happy staff of the Capitania

We went back to the anchorage feeling frustrated and in doubt whether Mike would keep his promise.

21.2.17 – Tuesday – In the morning I started getting text updates from Mike: “your parcel is on the Fedex truck” “It’s on the way” and finally:”I am in the Marina”. I came with the dinghy to pick him up and found out that he had his ten years old boy, Harley, with him. I hoisted him up the mast, he lowered the old stay,  put in the new one and came down to connect it to the turnbuckle. Suddenly I heard him say:”We have a problem”.  The new stay was too long by 54 centimeters. “It’s probably my mistake” says Mike. “The company that manufactured it in Florida never make mistakes”. “Is it something you can fix?” I asked. “Yes, no problem, the parts and machinery are available here”. I took Mike and Harley ashore. “It’ll take me about an hour” he said.

We had lunch and sat waiting for the man to come. finally he called. As I met him at the marina’s gate he said in a solemn tone. “I’m sorry Miki, But the company I went to did not have the right terminal, I’ll put the old stay back and you will have to fix it and replace it in Tahiti”. We measured the old stay carefully and re-installed it. Mike was saying all the time how sorry he was and when the time for me to pay him, he cut the previous price he gave me by half. Now that I plan to visit California, I would take the stay with me and have it fixed over there. I took them ashore once more, came back to the boat and we motored fast to Taboga for the night. Staying one more night in Panama City seemed to me to be mired in the place that symbolized all the bad things that happened lately. going to Taboga was like opening a new page.

We took a mooring in the mooring field owned and operated by Susan and Chui, a cruising couple, with whom I was in touch, investigating the possibility of leaving the boat there. This is the second time we use their moorings and they are nowhere to be seen; their boat – S/V Libre, is on a mooring and nobody comes to collect a payment. Mike told me that the government made the rent for the area much higher and that they cannot go on. A pity!

We took the dinghy ashore and wandered the narrow streets of Taboga town.

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Near a plaque commemorating Paul Gaugin, who recuperated on the island when he worked on the Panama canal, somebody painted a wall with his Polynesian characters.

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                                       pic by Shimon

22.2.17 – Wednesday – With 52 miles to go to Canas we started out early, just before the sun rose. Flat sea, no wind and a lot of sea birds having breakfast greeted us. I don’t think I ever had such a long run of calms as on this Panamanian trip. all on board wished for a Mahi Mahi for dinner and it almost happened. Caught and hoisted by the rod with the intention of depositing it in the cockpit, the beautiful fish somersaulted and broke free. Gili tried to console us:”There will be another” but we know better. Poseidon give out only one each day. Getting close to destination, the wind came up but from ahead; as we passed San Pedro island I was looking at Isla Espiritu Santo and said:”We’ve never been in this anchorage, why don’t we give it a try?”. So we came in, found a motor yacht at anchor and dropped ours at 5 meters at half tide.

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This was the time we had to tackle a few jobs; the starboard head got blocked and we fixed it, enough said. It was time for an oil change on the starboard engine and the dinghy, which is generally falling apart, needed repairs. In between jobs we found time to swim ashore and look for some big rays that Gili discovered hiding in the sand near the beach.

23.2.17 – Thursday – Destination of the day was Cucunati river in Darien, 45 miles away, so I started early at 0615. As I was leaving the anchorage I noticed that the starboard alternator was not charging. Started the port one and continued. Later we tried again, this time at a higher R.P.M;  it was good for about three hours and then quit again. I went again to the anchorage at 8 30 N which is really a beautiful place. I took Gili and Shimon to my standard dinghy tour and when we came back we had visitors; two pangas came, on one a man and a woman and on the other an old man who commenced a conversation in rapid Spanish which I had difficulty in following. We could understand that he was the owner of a place we saw on one of the hills, to which he wants to bring tourists, do bicycle trip and many more things I did not understand. I shook his hand to say good bye and found it to be tough as hardwood.

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When we were preparing for our dinner we were suddenly attacked by a huge “cloud” of very small insects. They were everywhere, getting into our hair, under our clothes and into nostrils and eyes. I’ve never had such a bloody experience. Dinner was a bit funny with all of us waving our hands,trying to get rid of the insects. Two hours after it started I felt the pressure go down somewhat and life on board became tolerable.

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                                     A fragment of the plague

Tomorrow we’ll go to La Palma for immigration check-out. We may be able to find an electrician, fill our water tanks and do some shopping.

24.2.17 – Friday – We motored to La Palma and went looking for the dock that I was told existed on the other side of town. No dock there but we did see a yacht at anchor. Came to have a look-see but nobody was on board. We motored back too the dock on the north part of town and anchored. Took the dinghy ashore and found the Immigrations office; the lady there wrote down our passport information and that was all the departure procedure we did. We asked around for an electrician and were directed to a young man called Marbi. He came over with a friend and they both worked unsuccessfully at trying to identify the cause of the alternator malfunction. I was afraid they would kill the one that was working but gladly this did not happen. When I asked them how much I owed them they said that a beer would be fine, since they did not solve the problem but consented to take 20$.

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                                     Marbi (on the left) and friend

We found out that there was no possibility of taking water at the dock, we had to buy ten 5 gallon tanks and haul them to our boat in two dinghy sorties. It was a big job. Once the water issue was solved we motored to anchor south of Isla Boca Grande where peace and quiet ruled. Tomorrow we would set sail to Ecuador, a five to six days voyage.

Until then – Adios from Gili, Shimon and Miki on “Two Oceans”.


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