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Date: 11 Mar 2012 13:43:09
Title: Patience

09:20.07N
82:14.48W

I should really know better. With all the travelling I have done, I should really know that when an official's office is meant to close at 4pm on a Friday afternoon, what this really means is that they close at 3pm and wander off. And so it comes to pass that we are not able to leave Bocas today and must wait one more day.

The weather has got much better, the seas have calmed (6-8ft now rather than 14ft) so we should be leaving this morning, however, in order to leave you need a zarpe (a document that says you're checking out of one port and heading to another) and your Panama cruising permit. Unfortunately even though I sat patiently in the Port Captains office for an hour, and then when he finally returned from his wandering, paid him exorbitant amount of overtime money in order to get my zarpe, he failed to return our cruising permit with our other documents...and I didn't realise until I got back to the boat, by which time the office was firmly locked with padlocks and bars across the door for the weekend. We thought about breaking and entering, it is after all only a wooden shed, but this early on in the trip it's probably a bit soon to be getting a criminal charge for breaking into a government building.

So we are now planning to sail to Colon tomorrow (Monday). And from now on I will get my zarpe's in the morning rather Friday afternoon. I know it's only one more day, but we have already been here 5 days longer than planned, so we are ready to go! I'm starting to realise why cruiser's don't have schedules.

We got our headsail back from the sailmaker on Friday, so yesterday we went for a sail around the island - about 30nm. There was not much breeze though so we ended up motoring most of it. It did give us a chance to get out the jacklines and lifejackets and also experience some big swell. The boat seemed to cope very well and gave us more confidence in her sailing ability. (Although as we surfed down one particularly steep wave I did let out a little squeal!) Archie and I coped less well, feeling a little green with 8ft waves hitting us sideways on making for a very rolly downwind leg. I had a good puke off the back of the boat and felt right as rain afterwards! I am quite a good puker so I am sure there will be more to come on the 24hr sail to Colon!

To my horror I have also discovered that no-one here has holding tanks - that means raw sewage from the loo goes straight into the marina! You would be hung, drawn and quartered for such an offence in Australia. Archie has been pestering me for days to check if the pump which releases our holding tanks works, and I have been thinking of the dolphins and people swimming in the bay and forbidden it, only to find that everyone else just dumps it in the marina! Gross. Still, at least that gets me out of cleaning the bottom of the boat before we haul it out the water at Shelter Bay!

Ah, the glamour of sailing. Poo and puking. Next update will be more glamorous.

A&J xx



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