Sailing to Bocas del Toro

Tatt av vinden
Bjørn Larsen
Tue 15 Mar 2016 20:55
The last few days in Shelter Bay we had to work a lot of the time on the boat. One whole day Bjørn spent in the bottom of the boat. See the pictore under here.
But he was all smiles when the work was done and he refreshed in the pool.
Thursday we started at nine in the morning from Shelter Bay, used the engine until we were outside the breakwater that protects the entrance to the Panama Canal. Outside we turned due west and set sails for a broad reach. Seven knots over the ground, and the same through the water. With this speed we should have to reduce sails in order not to reach Bocas while it still was dark. But of course, the wind did not last, and at two o’clock in the morning we made just 2 – 3 knots through the water, and we had to start the engine. The engine took us the rest of the way. Around eleven we started to enter through Bocas Channel. We doubled the use of charts, using both the Navionics and the Charts fro the Bauhaus guide. The two sources seemed to agree pretty well on the way in, and around noon we set anchor outside Bocas del Toro Town. Here the sea is flat, some variable but light winds and other cruisers in the anchorage.
In the afternoon we wanted to explore the town. We launched our little RIB and tried to start the Mercury outboard. We wanted to surfe the few hundred meters to the dinghy dock. But the outboard was completely dead. Bjørn changed the spark plugs, but the same result. After some research he concluded that the ingnition system must be caput. Shit. It has worked for seven years. And we had hoped for another seven.
We wanted to go to town, so we had to find almost forgotten skills and row over. Of course it proved that the skills still are intact, but to row a nine feet Carib RIB has it sides... Luckyly it was all downwind, and even better, the wind turned around when we wanted to return to the boat.
We are at the anchorage. We have considered going into the marina, but we rowed over there and foud it was not very attractive, at least not our style. That is contrary to most reports, and we are certain that it has many good things about it, even if we did not find it attractive.
But the town is attractive, today we presented our zarpe to the port captain who was just smiles and greeted us welcome. Yes, we need a so called local zarpe, even if we just sailed from one harbour in Panama to another. About the town we shall tell more later on.
Bjørn concentrating on teh Bauhause charts on the PC while in the Bocas del Toro Channel.