Bill and Caroline
Tue 20 Nov 2012 23:03
Leaving Colombia we headed for Isla Pinos in the San Blas islands off Panama. This land are populated by the Kuna Indians who live on and control these tiny and beautiful palm fringed islands. They have had an economy largely based on the huge numbers of coconuts which are bought by Colombian traders, and lobsters, crabs and octopus. Our planned destination was altered by a sheared throttle cable which we discovered as we headed up into the wind after dropping the spinnaker as we reefed the mainsail.  So a change of plan was needed as the reefs around the San Blas islands mean that 2 engines and some degree of control are preferable, so we headed back north to the check at the port of Porvenir.
-193248704052796400 -3644727786CB9CD24 -14162600095ADD3957 -19324871640621D05F -1932486941347B560C
Stopping a couple of days later while cruising along the coast towards Shelter Bay Marina at the entrance to the Panama Canal we anchored off Isla Grande and put our newly acquired practice of protecting electronic equipment from lightening strikes, in the oven. This worked very well until the smells emanating from the cauliflower cheese were more strange than usual. Unfortunately the computer did not fare well in the oven and the newly acquired practice was abandoned, a little too late.
As a result of our engine troubles we moored in Shelter Bay marina planning to replace the parts and return to the San Blas as soon as possible. The throttle cable on the port engine was replaced and worked, however, the starter motor on the starboard engine then decided to temporarily give up the ghost.  A jury rigged starter motor was installed by Greg the lovely mechanic and we set off to get some fuel. However, the propeller on the port engine also decided to give up the ghost. While it may seem that if you have 2 engines, there is always a spare one, both are really rather useful if you are trying to turn in a very small space. So this was a problem that needed to be fixed. So now out on the hard (land) and engine parts are featuring largely in our lives at the moment. Bill has been tracking our delivery with DHL giving an hourly update on where parts are. The first shipment of engine bits has arrived to much delight. We now need to work out how to put the bits back on. Unfortunately the bits we need first have not yet arrived but at least we have something to look forward to. The other exciting purchase was a small replacement computer which is now contributing to our Spanish language acquisition as it only speaks the local lingo.

Another visit to downtown Colon this morning to find some fabric that could be constructed into a sun shade (or more aptly named rain shield) but the first shop had only tartan or taffeta. The second shop was more hopeful but was unavailable because the road was closed for protest marches, no gunshots heard today. So maybe we will save that for another time.
Interesting updates....

We have found out that the bird that sings Three Blind Mice is a Golden Oriel, not seen it yet but it does sound rather nice.
The howler monkeys make the noise of T Rex in Jurassic Park but still remain elusive even though they make such scary sounds.
The oinking frogs, they really do sound like pigs, are about as big as your thumb and a dark greyish brown but I have seen one.
There are Panamanian agapanthus (or is it agapanthii) which have some very strange but rather lovely droopy white flowers.
The rain today has been unprecedented. We will soon float off our land locked yard space into the jungle as it has never stopped raining and the rutted concrete which is affectionately referred to as a road has disappeared from view and may never return as significant parts of it appear to have been washed away into oblivion.
Mould seems to really appreciate this warm wet weather and is becoming an attractive addition to all surfaces.
And finally our pets.... They seem to know no bounds and are popping up all over the place. Bill spent an hour sieving the flour when he realised that the cracked pepper wasn't cracked pepper and was in fact our very own pet weevils. He's never noticed before, so I never sieved it. But 4 loaves now cooking with roasted weevils to share with people we have begged or borrowed something off.
The good news is that we have now got running water on the boat, but still no toilet and engines but hopeful for a return to water world in a week or two. Maybe.
The bad news is that the Spanish speaking computer is not in the mood to add photos to the blog.