position N09 13 611 W78 01 681
Ocean Rival Journey Log
Adam Power Diana Power
Sun 5 Jun 2016 02:27
Now anchored off an island in the San Blas chain after a rather frustrating sail from Cartagena. Light winds in the wrong direction, no wind and one almighty squall.
The wind gradually eased on Friday night with lightning flashing all around us but very little thunder and no forks hitting the water. We sailed gently untill about 5.30am then motored a couple of hours. Then just as I was in the process of easing out the genoa to catch a new breeze all hell let loose with 30-35 knots of wind comming at us over the port bow. I hauled in the genoa with some difficulty but (touch wood) my furling drum modification is working a treat. And after watching the starboard rail disapear under the water Diana took the helm and managed to keep her to windward while I put all 3 reefs in the main. I then made a hash of putting some genoa back out by tangling my safety strap with the sheet winch. By the time that was all sorted the wind had eased to a managable 20-25 and we collapsed in soggy heaps caring not a jot about anything else on the water (luckily we had it all to ourselves). Gradually the genoa came back out untill the wind died altogether once more around midday. After about 4 hrs motoring the forecast easterly did appear and we got a few hours sailing on course gradually slowing till we were flopping along at 1-2 knots. We allowed that to continue untill midnight as motoring would have made projected landfall in the dark.
The motor stayed on for all but a 3hr spell in the morning as the coast of Panama appeared with the dawn.
I was aiming to enter through the reefs at one of the entry points recommended in the cruising guide but as the wind was light and sun was out I felt we could test our ability to reef dodge and enter further to the west. That would reduce the length of inshore route for which the guide and the electronic chart plotter were not filling me with great confidence.
As we aproached the reefs became very obvious with large breakers despite the otherwise calm sea. We picked a route between sets of breakers and with Diana on the helm and me on the bow we managed to avoid any bumps. We fetched up off Ailigandi at lunchtime. Another equipment failure to report however as the anchor failed to make any effort to emerge from its slumber. As we were in only 3m of water I was able to lower the anchor manually and investigation showed that the controller has a broken connection-and not one that I can fix with tape and wire. I can work the anchor however by holding a wire across the 4 terminals -1&3 for up 1&4 for down (or was it the other way?)
Ailigandi was a random choice described in the guide as well populated and with a hotel and restaurant! Well populated means that just about every square meter of ground is built over with houses right up to (and slightly beyond in the case of the toilets) the waters edge. The narrow paths between houses allow one to meander around the village exchanging friendly greetings with the locals. If it were any larger than a couple of hundred metres in each direction we would have been lost in no time. The children (of which there seemed to be hundreds) are particularly keen to practice their english (what is your name?). The paths open up onto a central square with a statue of a man in a bowler hat, the restaurant where we stopped for a soda and a basket ball court.
As we sat enjoying our soda a basket ball game commenced of remarkably high standard, and very well refereed. So we were entertained by not only the sport but also the appearance of 4 or 5 women in traditional dress who came out to sweep the square.
Having practiced her 'we do not buy Mulas' statement Diana caved in at the first offer of Mulas and bought a pretty piece of embroidery from a house on one of the back lanes.
We returned to the boat for a swim and snorkle (upwind of the toilets) before oblicatory g&t, supper and now to bed.