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Date: 31 Jul 2009 22:56:37
Title: La Isla Escudo de Veraguas

Buenos Dias Amigos!        "9:05.68N 81:34.44W"   
 
We have now completed dos semanas of morning lecciones en Espanol with the very charming Joan, a retired schoolteacher who celebrated her 74th birthday on the last day of our lessons last Friday. Our espanol needs further work, but we made a whole lot of progress in a short time. We'll complete some audio lessons to brush up a bit and then we should be adequate for Panama. Here is the very patient Joan (named after Joan Crawford !) posing with George in front of Blue Sky...
 

The lecciones were surprisingly hard work as Joan set us homework to do each day and as we're unused to having to learn anything other than how to say dos cervezas, por favor, we had to concentrate.
 
Having been in the marina at Shelter Bay for a month - our longest stop ever - we were predictably getting harbour rot and needed to get out and explore. Being used to the regular trade winds of the eastern Caribbean, we find the somewhat fickle draughts of Panama rather a nuisance to the business of sailing. Being Summer, we're pretty much in the ITCZ so it's odd winds and thunderstorms most of the time. We confess that it was necessary to use the engine for a part of the way west to where we're now anchored off La Isla Escudo de Veraguas, about 100 miles west of the canal. At least we survived passage through a whole group of violent electrical storms in the night, no strikes nearer than half a kilometre, but G said he could feel the air fizzing, so I guess we were lucky.
 
This is the view George can see over the top of his book at the moment:
 
 
We've been catching up on a few chores and cleaning: necessary after the humid, mould - inducing air of the canal area but don't worry, the skipper had a good hour of hammock time after lunch.
 
The island is home to a couple of Indian families and we saw smoke rising this morning, so at least some signs of life. Later on, one of the locals came out in a dugout canoe, complete with 25 HP Yamaha outboard provided by the Panama government. Though as the island is 10 miles out, it's probably necessary that they have some reliable means of getting to the mainland if they have to. He was a friendly enough chap and sufficiently au fait with the 21st century to smoothly solicit $20 for conservation work in the area. Mind you, we'd sooner give this chap his twenty bucks than the thieves and crooks of say, Union Island or St Lucia...
 
So this is the local encampment which George can see, if he could be troubled to turn his head to the left:
 
 
So we had anchored here for a quick rest on the way to Bocas del Toro, but whether we can be bothered to continue the journey or just chill for another day, is anyone's guess. At least the laundry bill will be smaller, now that we're away from the clothing conventions of the marina!
 
We hope you're enjoying the Summer in Europe and North America and that the Winter's not too tedious for blog readers in Australia. If I've missed out where you live, sorry ! - let us know with the new feedback form on the website.
 
Best Wishes
 
George & Michael
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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