08:54.5N 79:31.65W Flamenco Panama How much?
The morning after our transit we moved around into the Flamenco Marina and had to say goodbye to our new friends who had been such fun and made the whole experience pleasurable. We are used to being just the two of us on board and having good company was a rare treat. We were unlikely to see Fred and Simon again but as we would be travelling to New Zealand quite soon we will make a point of visiting Jane and Paul at their home on the west coast of south island.
Zoonie was moored amidst local pristine white sport fishing boats with only two other yachts in the marina. “This looks expensive,” I said. We thought we might stay 7 nights but reduced this to two as the price was $90 per night, around £60. We could not use the electricity as it was 110 volt. The marina is not geared up for visiting yachts as their communication by email and VHF is patchy and the local shops comprise a duty free emporium and a vast off license, no groceries of any kind within a 30 minute taxi ride.
We spent the rest of that day using the wifi in the nearest restaurant and putting Zoonie back into her regular sea-mode with the forepeak full with bags etc. Early the next morning, before sun-up Rob was busy washing down Zoonie’s decks, while I was scrubbing the oil and rubber off her white fenders and hand-washing a load of canal clothes.
Then we had to brave the local taxi’s. The drivers wait around the entrance to the mall at the top of the companionway. “Taxi sir, lady,”
“How much to the nearest supermarket?” we ask.
“What,” we yelp in unison
“Ok say forty dollars” she tries again
“How about thirty?” Rob suggests. In the meantime I waved down another taxi and he starts at thirty, but as I turn back to Rob he appears happy with the first taxi, so we clamber in, stunned.
On our way we spot the chart suppliers, Islamorada, so ask if they would collect us the next morning at 10.00am. to go there and buy some charts for the Ecuador coast and the French Polynesian islands. We were missing one of the Ecuador coast and four in Polynesia. In a cool attractive room there were hundreds of chart drawers, racks of books and glass cabinets full with watches, sextants etc. We had a wonderful smooch around while our Admiralty charts were being printed off from disc.
Upon our return we fired up Rupert and left the marina heading back to the comfortably free anchorage. Our first attempts to anchor failed as it dragged through the soft mud. Later we were visited by the skipper of another Oyster who had seen our efforts and he explained he and his friend had rescued a dragging yacht in that spot whose owners were ashore. “Luckily they had left the key in the engine and the anchor winch on,” he said “So we just re-laid it in a better spot.”
We ended up almost exactly where the anchor had held so well on our first night-time arrival. I had sent lots of photo-emails while we had access to the restaurant wifi so now I could prepare written blogs that send in an instant through mailasail. It is a lovely anchorage where we get the best view of vessels of all shapes and sizes entering and leaving the canal. A dredger is operating just a couple of hundred metres from us and works 24/7 with his two ships collecting the liquid sea bottom and taking it off to dump out of the canal.
As museums are closed on Mondays we plan to take trips on the hop on, hop off red Sightseeing Tour buses on Tuesday and Wednesday, same company operates them all over the world and we used them in Lisbon. We have to give Alex our passports two days before we plan to leave so he can stamp them and organise our exit documents and Zarpe. Then we will be off to the Islas Perlas, The Pacific’s answer to the San Blas, on route to Libertad in Ecuador.
But before then Paul and Jane are due to do their transit Tuesday/Wednesday so we hope to see them once more.