Steve & Carol
Fri 15 Mar 2019 21:47
It had been our intention to check out of Linton and sail up to San Andres earlier than we did. Our first chore was to go to the Port Office to see when it was open to get our Zarpe - we were told Monday to Wednesday this week there was no extra charge but the rest of the week there would be an extra charge, so we planned to check out on Wednesday, we will also have to go to immigration in Portobello to get our passports stamped etc! We also wanted to restock on some provisions and for that, Portobello, which is the nearest town has some Chinese supermarkets but we were told it's best to get the bus to Sabanitas - a town near Colon about an hour and a half away which has better ones as well as other shops, the bus ride was interesting - very cheap but very noisy with loud music blasting out of the speakers and the roads were very busy
We hadn’t realised that it's actually a holiday for carnival and lots of people are off work, everyone seemed to be heading to the coast for the day. We got off at Sabanitas and had a look around, we need new engine start batteries as one of ours is dead and went to look for shops or garages which might sell them - (we weren’t going to buy them as want to get rid of old ones as well and can't take them on a bus) and then went to a supermarket where I as usual was somewhat disappointed with the choice of chilled and fresh food, we really are spoilt in the UK and don’t appreciate the great variety of foods we can get at really every shop, here it's limited to basic staples and little else! with some shopping done we had a bit of a wait for the bus back, but were please that the traffic jams had all gone. As the bus went through Portobello, carnival there was in progress - with music, drinking and dancing going on.
The weather forecast for the sail to San Andres changed with an increase in the wind and wave heights so we delayed checking out - we believe you are meant to leave within 72 hours of checking out and it didn’t look like there would be a weather window for the 220 mile trip in that time frame.
. Incentive and Mora are also in Linton, Incentive is out of the water getting new bottom paint and Mora is in the Marina, they were all away line handling for a yacht going through the Panama Canal when we arrived so it was nice to catch up with them when they returned. Phil and Claudia from Brunos Girl arrived as well, they damaged their boat hitting an uncharted rock in Colombia and we last saw them in Cartagena where they were getting it repaired so it's especially good to see that they are back on the water and they are still able to go through the Canal this year as was their plan. We went into Portobello with them when they checked into immigration, we wanted to check immigration opening hours - and were told Monday to Friday 8am to 4pm! Afterwards we visited Fort de Santiago:
We checked out the local bakery and visited a couple of the chinese supermarkets, as the buses only run every couple of hours for an extra couple of $ per person we got a taxi back to the marina, conveniently it was a taxi which sat 4 people and also had a pickup truck back, when we got back to the marina I asked the driver how much he would charge to take us to Sabanitas with our old batteries to get new ones, we agreed a price that he would pick us up at 8 am the following day at the marina. Good to his word he he was there at 8 and we had a successful trip to Sabanitas. As a bonus we also made a quick pit stop at another supermarket which was much better than the one we went to on the bus and did some more shopping including cheese and fresh meat for Steve!
Back at the boat new batteries fitted our engine now starts without having to link domestic house batteries to starter batteries -yippee!
We did some other chores, got petrol for dinghy, dive compressor and generator, filled up with diesel, laundry and I did some sewing making a port side sun shade and a splash dodger to try o keep the waves where they could be out of the cockpit!
Linton Bay is not a place I would hurry back to, also the weather was naff, it was grey and we had few rain showers, with the increase in wave heights, the last few days were quite rolly in the anchorage so we were ready to leave, come Monday morning we went ashore and got our Zarpe from the Port Captain nice and early and got the very overcrowded bus with Rik, Sanne, Monica and Ralph go to immigration, we arrived after 10am only to find it still shut, we asked various people and were told it would be open soon, then it would open at 2pm and finally that it wouldn’t open until the next day! We had little choice but to wait and see if it opened at 14.00 which of course it didn’t - immigration didn’t turn up at Shelter Bay where the rest of our rally group are trying to check out from either! While we waited we walked around the town, went to one of the other forts and did some shopping.
Frustrated, all we could do was return the next day and see if they opened then, we were very happy to see the office was just about to open when we arrived at 8am, soon all passports were stamped, forms filled in, multiple photocopies obtained at the local pharmacy and given to the immigration officer, we were legal to leave.
We planned to leave at 6 in the morning hoping to average between 6.5 and 7 knots for the trip to San Andres and arrive before dark the following evening, Incentive and Mora decided to do the trip over 2 night as they didn’t think they could arrive in day light so left much later in the day than us.