We arrived in Shelter Bay marina on the 22nd
January and spent a week cleaning the boat, changing the batteries, fixing the
multitude of small issues and getting the paperwork sorted for the canal
We chose a date for the crossing 3 weeks down
the road so as to give us time to sail to the San Blas for a couple of weeks.
Everything was done by the 2nd Feb so we got up at
04:00 on the 3rd and let go the ropes ate 05:00. The weather outlook was only
giving us about 18 hours to get to San Blas before another big blow was
We let the ropes go and backed out of the slip into
a tiny bay with a very shallow area in the middle of the bay. I put the engine
into forward and hey ho, no power forward. No power astern, no power any which
way. The wind was blowing about 20knts and we were drifting towards the shallow
bit with rocks on the other side. Of course the anchor wasn’t ready to go, the
foot switches had died on passage and Panama doesn’t have replacements. No time
to put the anchor down manually so out goes the jib. By the time the jib was out
and we had any speed to manoeuvre we were within about 3m of the rocks. A panic
tack and we start heading out the entrance of the marina. The bad bit is that
the entrance has a 100’ sailboat on one side, rocks on the other and is about 8m
wide. Oh and also it is dead into the wind.
The upshot is we stalled and
drifted onto the 100’ yacht. With wifie screaming her lungs out for help we
managed to wake half a dozen folk who take an extraordinarily long time to rub
the sleep out of their eyes and finally figure out what is going on. One of the
dazed helpers wakes one of the crew on the 100’ yacht and we get sorted out
after about 20 minutes. All damage inspected, we have a prop shaft which has
managed to disengage itself from the gear box. Other than that, two bent
stations and an extremely distraught wife. The 100 footer however has sustained
a broken flag staff and some scratches to the gel coat. The captain eventually
woke up after everything had settled and we were tied alongside him. He went
slightly mental about the flag staff and didn’t take kindly when I pointed out
that he was lucky not to have been T boned.
The photo below is the 100 footer
in question and you will no doubt notice a lack of flag on the stern of the
He says he is going to buy a teak tree and get it turned down when he
can find a lathe long enough and then send me the bill!! Hah! Tried to sell him
one of our teak trees but he wasn’t playing. He left to cross the canal that
The result of the investigation is that Grenada
Marine removed my prop shaft to fit a new stuffing glad and never replaced it
properly. By the time I had it back in place and tested the weather window had
gone so here we are still in the marina, spending a fortune even if it is a 2
hour happy hour every day. $0.90 for nearly a pint! I may settle!
We are due to leave Tuesday unless something else
happens in the mean time.
Mr Hogg saying ta ta cheque is in the post!