Off we go again (or not!) 11/3
Sun 11 Mar 2012 01:48
Flying back to Panama did not start so well; up at 03:30 to arrive in plenty of time, we were lucky not to be charged for our oversize bag full of boat bits (brownie points for Iberia). Then, despite telling the security staff about the metal in her foot, Caroline was dragged off to a separate room. With no warning and no permission Caroline was subjected to the most detailed repeated feel of her boobs ever (?M). We have no idea why since the full body scan showed up only a metal zip. Having booked a gluten free meal for the transatlantic, which Iberia remembered (another point) they then blew it by handing out sandwiches, the smell of which had Caroline salivating, but they were 'extras' so there was no GF option. A distinct lack of any in flight entertainment confirmed BA and Virgin as still the best carriers - if only we could actually book a flight with them!
We picked up the hire car in Panama and promptly failed to find the right turning, going through several extra toll booths to see the right signpost only from the opposite direction. Caroline said not to go off the road, but on one of several U turns this happened, unfortunately just at the point of a missing manhole cover - 5 minutes to change a wheel in Colon. Finally arrived in Shelter Bay exhausted at midnight Panama time (05:00 UK time).
The engineer who promised to work on the engine hasn't. The steering seized up, the shore power is dodgy and we have some leaks and stuck winches - all pretty normal after dashing off last July. So loads of work to do, but the weather is rubbish for sailing, so we're only missing out on lounging by the pool!
On the plus side we had 40 minutes off to go for a walk which produced the usual sensations of Panamanian jungle. Screeching parrots, howling monkeys and lots of iridescent blue butterflies. This time we bumped into the resident group of Capuchin monkeys.
Sorry about the quality of pics, but we had really poor light and no tripod. These monkeys looked like grumpy old men - to Caroline anyway!
So, we have no idea what is going to happen next, the rest of the boat seems to be OK - Caroline's heavy handed use of bleach seems to have worked well. Little is likely to happen, other than us working for a couple more days and hopefully having the boat launched this week.
The only change for the marina is that it appears to have gained a Caiman/alligator.
The turkey vultures lazily circle around as yet again we are back for their annual migration. We left our scruffy sailing stuff, plus some other bits on the boat. Murray's swimming shorts that were in danger of falling off in the Caribbean are now snug (very). Caroline sensibly brought a larger size swimming costume from the UK. We have both put on at least a stone and a half in England - it's all that easy access to food and shops.
So we will continue to work on the boat hoping that everything will be OK. We can't check the engine until we are back in the water.