Gudrun V
Axel Busch
Mon 30 Jan 2012 11:01
Monday, 2012-01-30, 05:00 local, 9°22'7.01"N, 79°57'3.76"W, Shelter Bay Marina, Colon, Panama

Last week Monday we said good-bye to Irie and left the San Blas archipelago to sail to Colon, Panama. Here we wanted to haul-out and prepare for the canal passagen and the pacific.

Unlike the sail from Colombia, the weather was next to perfect. Winds of 10-20kn and only 2-3ft waves (within the sheltered archipelago 1/2ft). Actually the archipelago is so sheltered because of the outlying reefs that sailing there reminds me of lake Constanz, only with palm trees instead of apple trees.

We wanted to arrive in Colon in the morning, so we left in the early afternoon for the trip of 100nm, all on a starboard tack. Liz had made plenty of pasta salad in advance so we didn't have to cook, and we spent the whole time lying in the cockpit sleeping, talking, reading, watching out. We arrived almost to the minute at 9am in the Marina. I called the dock master over the radio and he gave us a slip - C6. We docked and high-fived for a perfect trip from lifting the anchor to tying off the knots. Yes, sailing can be nice, too.

From Tuesday until Friday we were busy with paperwork and arrangements for immigration, canal passage, haul-out, and following up on shipments that I've ordered before leaving Colombia. But Friday morning everything came together: First the measurer arrived to inspect the boat for the canal passage, an hour later I got the ok to haul out on Monday, in the afternoon the date for the canal passage was confirmed, and in the evening the big shipment from Warehouse marine arrived - anti-fouling, katadyn desalinator, wind generator, solar panels, new thru-hull fittings, and a ton of hoses, valves, and connectors. That will keep me busy for a while.

Saturday we cleaned the boat and prepared it for haul-out as well as guests for dinner (Michele and Mark from Reach), and yesterday we could just relax. I played a round of "Legends of Yore" in the morning while Liz wrote, and in the afternoon I went out with Michele and Josie from Jedi to take photos while Liz met Mark on Reach to play Guitar together.

In a few hours we'll haul out. The plan for today is to clean the hull, then take out the floorboards and remove the hoses from head, galley and the thru-hulls. When the prevoious owner changed the location of the head from fore to aft he didn't change the thru-hulls but just rerouted the installation in a way that now both the galley and the head have a few meters of hose and too many bends, which causes a lot of complications. Also the thru-hulls are very inaccessible and two actually can't be quite closed anymore due to electrolysis in the thru-hulls (made of stainless steel and aluminium. That is reason enough to move and replace them with marelon thru-hulls and seal the old holes. But it won't be fun.

Fortunately we managed to get a hotel room in the marine hotel while we're hauled out. So we can move some stuff to the hotel room to make space for working, and have a clean place to sleep while work is going on.