All out of time

Tue 4 Dec 2007 03:09
Position 09:32.70N 78:54.10W
A little letter home, whilst I wait for my grib files to come through (the weather maps that we use).
Very sad to be spending my last day in the San Blas Archipelago, with so many anchorages still not seen. At my age there is the sneaky suspicion that it may be a long time before I return!! Tonight it is obvious that I am approaching civilization, because the price of lobsters has quadrupled in the last thirty miles. Two dollars each seems quite ridiculous, until you remember what it's like in the real world. I am anchored in the Western Lemon Cays, not completely bliss, as there are huts on all the Islands, and I have been giving away sweets and money to get rid of the kids and mola vendors. The snorkelling this afternoon was however superb, around a gap in the reefs which I had been told about and was able to locate, an amazing variety of coral and masses of big fish, still no sharks. A big current through the gap was a bit frightening towards the end: it was a very long haul back to the dinghy, which was anchored on the reef, upcurrent.
The bad news, my watch jumped overboard this morning. I felt it fly off my wrist as I was winching in the genoa. I think that the clasp just gave out. Amazing however how it found it's way overboard. Both Geoff and Conny have however lost glasses in similar circumstances, so we know it can happen. It was due for  battery change, and last time it cost nearly as much as the watch to have this done. So, worse things happen at sea. You need the time on a boat, for all sorts of navigational things, so I have lots of backups. There is a fine German brass ships clock: a Wempe, very reliable, so long as the battery works. It didn't. No problem, loads of spare batteries. But no, never seen one this shape in my life!!
No problem, Deb's travel clock works, because it also has a funny little battery that I replaced in Lisbon; after a merry dance around the ferreterias, I even bought two extra spares. But no, Deb's clock also on the blink, and DC shock with new batteries fails to restore a pulse. I am pleased to report however that my long stop Woolworths alarm travel clock, four pounds, AA batteries, works a charm, but it looks a bit odd on my wrist. Anyway, another couple of days and we should have a mobile phone network, and then I'm staring at my GPS system, and realise that it knows the time to about a millionth of a second, even if it is universal time, which is certainly not how the Panamanians set their clocks!