Las Perlas

Sat 2 May 2009 18:12
We devoted 3 days to getting the anchor and chain we needed in Balboa/Panama City.  We also picked up most of the items we knew we needed like the Pacific Islands 'chip' for the chart plotter, repair kit for the biminy, new EPIRB (safety thing we hope we will never use!) etc, etc.
For those who like boats I will mention we had to get all the rivets holding the gooseneck onto the mast (6) replaced in Shelter Bay as 3 of them had sheered off and fallen out!  Meant nursing the main sail around San Blas and to Colon but it's OK now!
Yesterday we motored most of the way to Las Perlas, weaving our way between the cargo ships anchored in the bay waiting for their transits to the Atlantic side, accompanied by trees, branches, leaves, plastic bags, polystyrene cups, take away cartons etc  All these things we think were swept into the sea by the torrential rains on Thursday,  as we ventured around Panama in a taxi the roads were flooded and water was pouring from everywhere.
Soon we only saw game fishing boats and day trip boats shipping seems to stay further north than the islands.  Flights of cormorants and pelicans back and forth from the islands to the mainland crossed the bow, rays flying and slapping back down,( just because they can? James will know).  The dolphins were not interested in playing we were too slow and they appeared to be on a mission in the opposite direction.
Rays on 'film'
Half way to the Islands we saw our first Pacific side whale, not sure what it was, it was only about 100 meters off the beam and fortunately moving away from us at the time.  No1 spotted it while on the bow doing a spot of 'marine polishing'.
We found the beach to anchor on Controdor and almost picked up an anchor for the night, however we then spotted a number of big cruisers coming towards us and decided to set our new anchor.  Thank goodness we did, I think all moorings are private and all were taken last night eventually the place looked like a street of lit houses by 8pm.
Today we are cleaning some of the black dust/grime we got covered in in Balboa off the decks, floor, walls and windows.  I think alot was from the bridge as it was above us and upwind most of the time, yuck.  Only salt to battle for the next little while maybe.