Ready to leave Panama
Position 08:54.79N 079:31.62W
Date 1742 (EDT) Saturday 8 February 2014
Leaving La Playita Marina, Panama City, Panama
Even the most unobservant will notice that there is a considerable gap since the last posting. With the best will in the world we have been rather busy and some things just did not get done. Perhaps when I next have WiFi I will add some photographs.
To ring things up to date and in chronological order and summary, since the last entry made on arriving in Porvenir, San Blas Islands:
· We cruised the West and East Hollandais Cays where we met World Arc 2014 boats arriving from St Lucia. We were on hand to greet our sister ship Flomaida II, sailed by the owners Christoph and Dagmar Hartung from Heidelberg. Flomaida II was delivered the week after Caduceus in 2007. They were to become good friends and companions.
· Our generator failed to start, the sorting out of which was to become a major issue during our stay in Panama City
· We joined in our first World ARC party on Chichime Cay.
· We sailed to Shelter Bay Marina via an overnight stop at Portobello. It was from Portobello that many of the Spanish Treasure fleets sailed. It has some interesting fortifications, many built after Henry Morgan raised it to the ground, but suffice it to say it has fallen on hard times.
· Shelter Bay Marina lies on the opposite side of the northern entrance to the Panama Canal from Colon. Whilst there we prepared for our transit of the Canal, had a monster provisioning trip to Colon and had an outing to view the Gatun Locks and the construction site of the new bigger locks.
· Andrew joined us from Austin, Texas, for the transit experience
· We commenced our transit by passing through the first locks, Gatun Locks, at 2000 on Saturday 25 January 2014 and then anchoring overnight in Gatun Lake. It being Burns Night a loudhailer announcement and some suitable piping told the Sassenachs what they were all missing assisted by some wonderful acoustics in the bottom of the lock whilst we awaited our raising.
· Sunday 26th saw the main part of our transit starting at 0700 and after passing under the Bridge of Americas and negotiating the Miraflores Locks we emerged into the Pacific Ocean and anchored off the La Playita Marina at the south end of Panama City.
· We had a conducted tour around Panama City.
· We had a day trip to an Embera Indian village. It was a little voyeuristic but we consoled ourselves with the fact that the income from tourism allowed them to live a traditional life. There were some great village made handicrafts on sale most of which, we were assured came from that village.
· In the company of Dagmar and Christoph we had an evening outing to the Fish Market were there are a multitude of small stalls serving a great variety of fishy dishes. The clientele was mostly local people and with street entertainers and the like it was a buzzy and fascinating place to eat.
· The local Cummins Onan, as in our generator, distributor arrived and started work on Wednesday 29 January. On the 30th they diagnosed a problem with the diesel engine and with a team of 7 men physically lifted the not inconsiderable weight and bulk out of the engine room and took it away for post mortem. Friday the outlook was not good and they looked at the option of rebuilding the engine, the parts would take up to three weeks to arrive. Saturday the decision was made that the safer and in the long run less expensive option was to order a new engine from the USA.
· Monday 3 February the order was place on Miami. Wednesday 5th the engine arrived in Panama. Thursday 6th (Happy Birthday to me etc.) at 1400 they arrived and the seven men duly manhandled the engine into place in parts and reassembled it in situe, finishing at 2030 which left the Mate and I have a birthday dinner at decidedly Spanish hours.
· Friday 7 February, Enriques from Cummins, the mastermind and true hero of the operation, appeared and finished the configuration of the generator and left us once again with a working system. What a relief, even if we have missed two ARC parties in the Las Perlas Islands.
· Friday 7 February the World ARC Fleet, now 50 miles away in the Las Perlas Islands, departed for the 850nm Leg 2 to the Galapagos. We finish off getting ready except for:
· Saturday morning 8 February a final laundry bash using the marina facilities and an epic outing to the Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Market for an epic, well it seemed to me but the Mate was not phased, fresh food shop. Thank heavens we do not have crew of six!.
· Back to the boat and eventually we managed to slip at 1742 some 30 hours behind the fleet but with a similar distance to go but Punta Mela in our way