PNW to Mexico, Panama Canal, and Florida, on our way at last!

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Okay, I'm starting to feeling a little less like a zombie. We all checked into the Panama, except cruising permit that we have to get in Panama City or elsewhere. We could do everything here. Vista Mar assisted us with the port captain for $45 in getting the paperwork done, so saved us the bus ride to Panama City. But we had to take a taxi to the immigration office to do that. It was relatively painless. Another stamp in the passports.

Scot and I have kind of a loose watch schedule. Nothing is really set. Usually we are both up during the main part of the day, then I feed cats their evening meal and go try to sleep around 5. I'll sleep until somewhere between 10-12. Scot will go to sleep somewhere between 10-1 if he isn't being stubborn and I take a shift until dawn if I can unless he can't sleeps and comes up earlier, than if I'm dead I'll try and get more sleep or at dawn I'll crash for a few hours, then we are both up for awhile. This pattern shifts around as the travel days increase.. but for the most part it's the way we work. I love taking the night watching, though I regret missing the sunsets and sometimes I miss the sunrises too. I just enjoy the surrender of just trusting in the boat to get you through the darkness. (I know I'm weird, you don't have to tell me)

I'm so pumped to be in Panama. Furthest south I've ever been.. so proud of us for making this journey so far. Just like wow, I can't believe when I said "Scot let's buy another boat" we'd cruise it all the way south to Panama..let alone go up to Glacier Bay.. and still be cruising more. I'm still pinching myself that I get to live this life. How incredible is that???

I know it's not without it's heartaches. But I can honestly say I have never been as happy as I am when I'm on this boat.

Vista Mar Marina staff has been helpful and friendly. They were great at getting us docked, signed in and the office staff was helpful. They have a marine store, small shopette/coffee shop and there is a restaurant. The fairways are wide and spacious. But my favorite thing is the cleats are on a sliding track system so you can move them where you need them. Freaking Brilliant!! (see pic)
 

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Update on Vista Mar Marina, Panama. Apparently the power going off on the docks is an accepted daily occurrence. It was off yesterday middle of the day for about 6 hours, and went today at around noon. It is almost 1600, and no power yet. A 65' or so liveaboard now has a large open frame, contractor type LOUD diesel generator on the dock, running about 40' from our stern . . .

I would NOT recommend Vista Mar Marina to anyone.

Edit: I would not recommend Vista Mar Marina to anyone who relies on having uninterrupted dock power.
 
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It's Friday, 15 March. A miracle happened yesterday. The electrical power stayed on for the entire day! That's two days now, out of 6, that we had power all day!

Yesterday, we got a ride into Coronado to the Rey Grocery Store and stocked up on provisions for the trip through the Canal and beyond

Tomorrow, the 16th, the folks we purchased Muirgen from are flying in from Seattle and will be going through the Panama Canal with us. They are super stoked that we've been using the boat for what she was designed for!

On the Sunday, the 17th, we will be heading to Flamenco Marina in Panama City.

The extra fenders and lines required for the locks should be delivered on Monday, the 18th.
Also on Monday the 18th, Mark and Debi, who we got in touch with on the Whatapp app, Panama Canal Linehandlers will be joining us as well. So we will have plenty of folks to help with the getting the boat through the locks (and to feed).

We're planning on doing one last run on Monday into Panama City to Price Smart as well, to pick up last minute provisions we couldn't find in Coronado, and to see a little of the PC. Hopefully the lines and fenders will be delivered early in the day, so we can all go, but if not, I'll probably wait on the boat for them, as well as Mark and Debi to arrive.

We're getting pretty excited about showing our stern to the Pacific Ocean and wetting our bottom(s) in the Atlantic/Caribbean!

Weather on the Caribbean side is not looking great so far, but planning that far out is problematic at best . . .

We'll update you as soon as we get more info!
 
Power for us was consistent during our stay despite totally sketchy connections. The Big Boat dock had regular power interruptions.

Makes you long for the days of beaten up Mexican marinas huh?

Peter
 

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Power for us was consistent during our stay despite totally sketchy connections. The Big Boat dock had regular power interruptions.

Makes you long for the days of beaten up Mexican marinas huh?

Peter


Peter, when and where was that pic taken? I wasn't aware you had been in Vista Mar Marina. Was it during your Nordhavn delivery?
 
Tomorrow, the 16th, the folks we purchased Muirgen from are flying in from Seattle and will be going through the Panama Canal with us. They are super stoked that we've been using the boat for what she was designed for!

Nice. And if you are pleased to imagine (as I do) that a boat can take on the spirit of her crew, Muirgen herself is no doubt feeling a little more festive than normal.

For that matter, so is the benevolent ghost of the late Robert Beebe.

Pics from the Canal transit, please!
 
One nice thing about having extra people on board, is Laura will be able to hopefully get more pics of the passage!
 
Thought I'd relate an interesting situation that occurred a few weeks back.
Laura comes to me and says, there's some stuff in the shower and I don't know what it is.
So I go to the aft master bath tub/shower, and there is a yellow brown stuff in the tub near to the shelf where the shampoo, etc is stored.
Ahh! That's easy, one of the containers is leaking . . . . nope, not shampoo, not conditioner. I can't figure out WHAT it is. It has a greasy feel, . . . .

Okay, if I can't figure out what it is, let's figure out where it's coming from, okay?
I look all around, and can't figure it out, then I look up . . . . there is a varnished piece in the top of the tub/shower enclosure that runs fore and aft about 3" inside of the hull . . . and there are drops of the mystery fluid on the bottom of the varnished piece . . . Ahhhh, I look at the "stuff" again, and it might be oil . . . . Okay, maybe hydraulic oil that is somewhat stained a yellowish color from working it's way through/across the varnished wood?

Only problem, is there isn't any hydraulic or steering hose/line above that point . . . Next, we have crowned decks, with the pilot house above that portion of the shower/head . . . could it be hydraulic fluid from the steering that is leaking more on the center-line of the boat, but leaking down the "crown" to manifest itself at a point next to the hull? Dig around up above, check all hydraulic lines . . . . nope, close, but no cigar . . . .
Now I'm getting really confused (not the normal state of confusion I normally have, but the REALLY confused state that is boat specific!).

After wiping up the mess about 1 - 2 cups over a few days or so, I finally have an epiphany!

Directly overhead is the pilot house.
In the pilot house we have a "U" shaped settee.
Under the "U" shaped settee we have storage.

Among other thing, in that storage area are many 1 gallon jugs of Shell Rotella 30 weight engine oil!

I removed the cushions, moved down two layers of stuff, to the bottom layer, and low and behold, there is one each, 1 gallon 30 weight engine oil jug that got damaged somehow and leaked about 1 quart of oil through the 3/8" rubber matting (air gap type), and on to the crowned deck. The engine oil then traveled (via gravity) to the outermost area of the deck, next to the hull, then traveled forward about two feet before it found a cable chase, then down the cable chase to a seam that was . . . wait for it, just above the shower/tub enclosure, through the seam, down the varnished wood trim, and into the tub!:dance:

Okay, transfer the remaining oil into a good jug, clean up the mess, and continue to wipe up rapidly diminishing amounts of engine oil out of the shower over the next few days . . . . and Viola! Problem figured out and solved!

Just goes to show you that for each problem, there is generally a logical explanation, if we can just figure it out!
Ahhhh, the joys of boat ownership . . . .:whistling::popcorn:
 
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Well I guess if there's such a thing as an ideal oil leak, that might be it! Much better for it to be coming out of its container than something that needs it.
 
Update:

In preparation to transiting the Panama Canal on 19 March, Larry and Rheta, the previous owners of our boat, flew into Panama and joined us at Vista Mar Marina on Saturday, 16 March.

On Sunday, 17 March, we departed Vista Mar Marina, in San Carlos, Panama, enroute to Flamenco Marina in Panama City.

We were joined by Mark and Debi who we met on the whatsapp "Panama Canal line handlers" group. They were to be additional line handlers for the passage. You are required to have 4 line handlers, in addition to the operator of the boat.

We were told by our agent that we were scheduled to move to the waiting area outside of Punta Culebra anchorage, and adjacent to the inbound traffic lane in the morning hours of 19 March, approximately 0230, but to call Flamenco Signal at 1900 the previous day to confirm our passage, and pickup point for the Canal Advisor.

We did that, they said they didn't have any clearance paperwork yet, call back later.
We called back at 1000, they said they had all the transit clearances, and we weren't on the list to transit on 19 March! (Okay, Scot is freaking out now . . . .)

We contacted our agent, who said, "Just show up, they'll meet you!" We called back Flamenco Signal again at 0200, they said we still weren't cleared to transit that day (the 19th). Yeaaaah, no warm fuzzy here . . . . but we departed Flamenco Marina on a wing and a prayer at 0210 and we were on site, and dropped the anchor, waiting for an advisor who Flamenco Signal told us wouldn't be coming since we weren't cleared to transit . . . .

10 minutes later, at 0220, a pilot boat pulls alongside, and boarded our Guardian Angel, Evan, the Canal Transit Advisor! So our agent knew what he was talking about, as did the Pilot boat, but Flamenco Signal had no clue!

We passed through the Panama Canal on 19 March!

Absolutely exhilarating experience! 13 hours and 55 minutes from Advisor boarding to tying up at the dock in Shelter Bay Marina, Colon

Evan was a wealth of experience. He's been working for the Canal Authority for 32 years, starting out as a fire fighter, and working his way up.

We were the only small boat (under 65') to go through the Canal, either way on the 19th. Everything else was a commercial freighter, liner, tanker, car carrier, bulk carrier, etc. We locked though on the Panama City side behind the FJ Star, a bulk carrier. On the Colon side, we locked through ahead of the Cruise ship Vasco de Gama.

We side tied to the wall in every lock. We were glad to have the oversize fenders that we rented from our agent! Since we were the only small boat in the lock with either 1 freighter, or 1 Cruise ship, we only utilized two lines in each lock, instead of 4 which we would have used had we mid tied, or rafted with mid tie.

Locking up was much more turbulent than locking down, since locking down, the turbulence was in the chamber the water was being directed to, instead of coming out of!

Overall, it was an Awesome experience! Everyone should do it at least once.

Some people come down to the Canal, sign up on the Whatsapp group, or just hand around the marinas at either end, and make multiple transits on multiple boats just for the experience! They don't get paid, but get a boat to sleep on, and get fed as well. Not a bad gig!

Move on to the next day. We attempted to check into the marina . . . . it was then that we discovered that we didn't have our original documentation! We had apparently not gotten it back from Flamenco marina when we had checked in there, and they had taken it to make copies. That was on me. We contacted them, . . . yes they had it, but we had to physically come get it, they wouldn't mail it. . . .. Arrrrrrrrrrghhhhh!

So, yesterday, we went to Colon, took a chicken bus to Panama City bus station, then cab to the marina, walked in, and they handed our paperwork over . . . . Then took an Uber from Flamenco Marina in Panama City all the way back to Shelter Bay Marina in Colon. Took about an hour and a half, and cost about $83.00 total.

We'll be departing Shelter Bay either tomorrow or Sunday heading to the San Blas Islands.

More later!:dance:
 
Been waiting for that update. Thank you everyone
 
I still can't believe we are in Panama and we have made it through the canal. I'm so excited about going to the San Blas islands. They have been my number one place to visit on the trip and I hope I can talk Scot into staying for awhile. So looking forward to getting out of the marina and back on the water. Can't wait to be swimming off the boat daily.

The canal trip was amazing. Though I admit I was totally stressed about having to cook for people. Don't know why I've done it before and I'm a decent cook. But it was wigging me out. It helped that we had the previous owners Larry and Rheta onboard because they know the boat so I knew that stuff was being taken care of while I was down in the galley. Wish we could have kept them on board for longer was so fabulous to have people that knew the boat even better then us.

I'm glad the whole thing is done. Definitely one and done for me... don't have to do it again... but I do feel pretty proud that we did it. Was pretty weird that we traveled the whole way not rafted to anyone. Guess that's pretty unusual. Pretty sure we were the only private boat that went through that down that direction due to pilot/advisor shortage. Crazy..

Took mostly videos on the canal.. but here's a few pictures... and one of the Colon bridge we went over going back to Panama City to get documentation.
 

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Great post and pics Laura. We're 8 months behind you in the canal. I haven't heard of a small yacht going center chamber either. 25 years ago it was somewhat common.

I have heard of the San Blas for 30 years with the Kuna indigenous people and beautiful water. Have wanted to go ever since. I hope you take the time to explore. Clock is ticking in life - we're past the halfway mark.

Peter
 
Roswell called . . . . . They want their ships back!
 

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We are currently in the San Blas Islands . . . . They are everything we had hoped they would be!
Beautiful indigo water. Visibility about 80' or so. The reefs are amazing, and lots of fish. No spearfishing allowed though, but that's okay. We've still got lots of fish in the freezer from the Pacific side. We are in Cayos Hollandes right now. Moving Eastward probably this afternoon, or may tomorrow. Plan is to slowly move though the island chain about 25 miles to the East, changing anchorage from a mile to several miles each time. We will probably spend 10 to 14 days here before heading North to the Cayman Islands.

That is a change from our original plan to head to San Andreas, or Providencia. Neither island has what you call great anchorages, and the entry/exit process and fees can be pretty onerous from what we have been told. (from $300.00usd and up)

Also, going to Cayman Islands keeps us further off of Nicaragua and Honduras, which, also from what we have heard, can be problematic.

So about 603 miles to Cayman Islands, depending on where our actual jump off point is, so 3.5 to 4 days at 7 kts.

Then from there, either to Isla Mujeres for a few days, then on to Florida, hopefully via Dry Tortugas, if we can clear into the US via CB Roam. If we bypass Isla Mujeres, it will be about 623 nm to Ft. Myers.

Then up the Caloosahatchee Canal to our new house . . . We are purchasing FF's (Fred and Charlene's) house just West of Lake Okeechobee in central Florida. Well, actually we are purchasing the docks, that happen to come with a house!:D:dance:

So Muirgen will have a new home base from which to explore the East Coast, Gulf Coast, Bahamas, and Caribbean!:thumb:

Cayman Islands doesn't have any entry/exit fees for boats, and snagging a mooring, or even a marina doesn't appear to be too $$$$.

The only minor hiccup is that we will have to surrender our spearguns and slings for the duration of our visit. They will give us receipts for them, and return them upon exit from what we've been told.

So that's the plan :dance: . . . . but plans can change!
 

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Cayman Islands doesn't have any entry/exit fees for boats, and snagging a mooring, or even a marina doesn't appear to be too $$$$.

The only minor hiccup is that we will have to surrender our spearguns and slings for the duration of our visit. They will give us receipts for them, and return them upon exit from what we've been told.

It's been a while since I sailed through the Caymans, but my experience was good. On clearing in I checked my firearm with the police, who issued a receipt and returned it promptly when I cleared out. They did seem to kind of roll their eyes at the notion that anyone visiting the Caymans felt the need for a firearm, which I can understand.

It's amazing that there are marina options on Grand Cayman now. I anchored close in the lee of Georgetown and dinghied ashore each day without difficulty. The anchorage is a bit rolly, but after four days or so of reaching across the April tradewinds, it'll probably feel like a millpond.

You'll cross the Cayman Trench as you approach from the south - a chance to test the limits of your fathometer! It's not terribly wide, but at 20,000+ feet it's the deepest water I've ever sailed in.
 
It doesn't look like the weather will be suitable to depart the San Blas Islands for at least another week or ten days. We will be heading to Cayman Islands, about 600 miles, 3 1/2 to 4 days.
From there either to Isla Mujeres in Mexico, 326 miles, or about 2 days.
Alternately, we can just head directly to Florida, about 623 miles, or 4 days.
That will require us to go around the West end of Cuba. Anyone with personal experience know how far we should remain off Cuba? We're US Citizens.
International limit appears to be 12 miles, but with "Freedom of Navigation, we can be closer, but just wondering if anyone had more accurate info . . . .?
 
Anyone with personal experience know how far we should remain off Cuba? We're US Citizens.
International limit appears to be 12 miles, but with "Freedom of Navigation, we can be closer, but just wondering if anyone had more accurate info . . . .?

Not wishing to push anyone's buttons, I held it at 12 miles, plus a bit, without incident. Cape San Antonio passes quickly at that distance. But the wider berth you give the Cape, the stronger the shove you'll catch from the Yucatan current. Catch in it the axis and it'll spit you out from the Caribbean into the Gulf of Mexico like a watermelon seed. Closer inshore, it is amazing how sharp and distinct the sudden, verdant smell of land is as you come near beneath the lee of the Cape after days breathing clear offshore air.

Northbound, as you will be, look out for southbound traffic hugging the Cape to avoid the strong northerly Yucatan current. Close to Cuba there is reportedly a slight southerly countercurrent, although if so I found undetectable. On one trip during darkness I came within less than a mile of a tug and barge on a long hawser. As far as I could tell the stinkin' barge was unlit, and the tug wasn't illuminated much better. But who was I gonna call to complain? :ermm:
 
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Not wishing to push anyone's buttons, I held it at 12 miles, plus a bit, without incident. Cape San Antonio passes quickly at that distance. But the wider berth you give the Cape, the stronger the shove you'll catch from the Yucatan current. Catch in it the axis and it'll spit you out from the Caribbean into the Gulf of Mexico like a watermelon seed. Closer inshore, it is amazing how sharp and distinct the sudden, verdant smell of land is as you come near beneath the lee of the Cape after days breathing clear offshore air.

Northbound, as you will be, look out for southbound traffic hugging the Cape to avoid the Yucatan current. On one trip during darkness I came within less than a mile of a tug and barge on a long hawser. As far as I could tell the stinkin' barge was unlit, and the tug wasn't illuminated much better. But who was I gonna call to complain? :ermm:


I'd keep 12 miles too. Good tip on watching for southbound traffic trying to skirt Gulf Stream. Windy has a decent current model for Gulf Stream buried in its menu.

Good luck. Sounds like fun.

Peter
 
We'll figure on keeping 12 miles offshore if we go straight to Florida. Obviously if we go to Isla Mujeres, this will be a moot point.

Peter, the Windy current model appears to show a counter current up to 0.2kts part of the way from San Blas to Cayman and then on to Florida . . . . but being a counter current, it is appearing to be against us, or neutral the entire way from San Blas to Florida, which appears to fly in the face of the current models which all appear to show that we should have a current WITH us the entire trip, speed unknown. Anyone have a better current model available on the internet?
 
Scot - there was a decent discussion on ocean current models on SouthboundGroup.io last month.

https://groups.io/g/southbound-grou...710696619358702460&nextid=1684343487765839493

A suggestion in that is to use PredictWind pro modeling. One of the boats I traveled with to Chahue and then to Chiapas and Costa Rica had the Pro subscription ($500/yr - gulp) and seemed to find it fairly accurate. You might try checking around to see if anyone has that level of subscription. Personally, I think people expect too much accuracy out of these models. Underlying data is very coarse, though Gulf stream is likely the most closely tracked ocean current on the planet.

Please update with your findings. I'm a year behind you.

Peter

EDIT - looks like you have some time to kill waiting on weather. Have you looked at making your way east from San Blas Islands to give you a better angle on the Caribbean? Question not a suggestion. I got beat up a bit going up the Caribbean back in 2004 and swore if I did it again, Id make some easting before heading up. But I don't remember the sea direction only that I felt cramped with Nicaragua preventing making a decent angle to the seas.
 
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Peter, from what I'm seeing, if we head North toward the Caymans from say, the Holandeses (Western end of the San Blas Chain) we'll have winds and current (mild) off the stbd beam for the first two days of the passage, bending around to off the stern for the last two days or so.
The elephant in the room right now is when conditions will settle down for the passage. 3 - 4 days ago was an ideal Wx window, but we weren't through touring San Blas Islands yet, plus we want a hard location near land for Starlink reception for 2 April pending house closing.
 
When traveling between the Caribbean and the west coast of Florida, Isla Mujeres or Cozumel are convenient and attractive places to break up the trip, plus Muirgen is by now well-acquainted with Mexican Customs, so no worries there.

It's particularly nice to have the option in case bad weather develops in the Gulf of Mexico. April is a bit late for cold fronts to push down into the southern Gulf, but it happens, and anyway the old weather patterns no longer apply. I once waited out an unseasonable and powerful cold front (it actually reached the Caymans) at a marina in Cozumel, and was surprised by how much I enjoyed the visit.

Leaving from there or from Isla Mujeres, you would of course get a nice push from the current into the Gulf.
 
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San Blas islands are amazing. Scot is getting a little stir crazy, but I could stay here forever...
 

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Nice pics Laura. I suspect you're a bit late in diagnosis of Scot.




I hope so. I'll bring the rum. Laura makes a mean pina colada.

Peter




I know I'd never been able to make him stay here that long. But will definitely have the ingredients on hand in Florida so hoping to see you there. Want to hear all about your and Cheryll's adventures since we've parted ways. And pick your brain about concrete countertops in case we decide to do one in the kitchen when we get around to remodeling.
 
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We're still in the San Blas Islands on the Caribbean side of Panama. Anchored in the lee of a small, uninhabited island waiting for a Wx window to head North to the Cayman Islands. It's a 3 1/2 to 4 day run at 7 kts. Using the paid version of Windy, we're looking at crap (7 to 10 foot seas, 6 - 7 sec period) off the Stbd beam out to 14 April, which is as far out as we can see. Yeeeaaaaahhhh, we're not going anywhere!

There are worse places to be "stuck" in though. Yesterday we went snorkeling off the West end of the two islands here, on a reef. Shallow, and lots of sand/sea grass on the mainland side of the reef, then drops off pretty dramatically to 40' or so on the seaward side, then continues to gradually increase in depth. We saw lots of reef fish, healthy coral, a Spotted Eagle Ray, and a Black Tip Reef Shark.

Friends of ours swam out further from the reef into open water, probably 70 feet deep and say schools of (small) Tuna and Grouper in the 15 or so lb range! We're heading back there is a little, as soon as the other boat (Courage) has a visit from the propane guy who has ensured them he can fill their propane tank . . . . . We offered to give them a 20 lb BBQ style tank till Florida (we have an extra), but they need a small tank in order to fit it into their propane locker.

The San Blas Islands are beautiful. The Guna people are friendly, although it gets a little tiring with the continual parade of pangas wanting you to purchase "mola's", which are small, embroideried fabric panels with traditional and other designs worked into the fabric. Really nice, but frankly, we bought two, and really don't need any more. Also panga's selling gasoline and diesel in 5 gallon jugs . . . . yep, don't need any. Or with a boat bottom covered in reef fish or barracuda . . . . yep, not eating reef fish, or barracuda here in the Caribbean, plus I don't know how long they've been sitting in the bottom of the boat in 90 deg plus heat . . . .
We DO offer to fill any water jugs they may have with fresh water, and they seem to appreciate that.

The Veggie boat comes by every few days, and although the supply is limited, it is really convenient to purchase from them. You can also give them a shopping list and they will go buy stuff and bring it out in a few days . . . . . most of the time.

Overall, really a "must do" stop for a week or few months if traveling anywhere near Panama.
More later, enjoy!
 

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It's now the morning of 10 April. On the 7th we moved to another small island (Salaradup) to check out the snorkeling there. . . . . not so good. The coral was kind of brown and bleached, not great. We had been told that the veggie boat would be there on Monday, which turned to Tuesday, no veggie boat. A friend of ours was still waiting for the propane guy to show up. No show. He was pre-paid . . . . Same thing has happened for several other people who had people offer to go to "town" and pick up groceries for them. If you pre-pay, it sounds like you have about a 75% chance of seeing those people, or your money again! Luck of the draw. They'll be back "manana", which for those who don't know translates in English as "Tomorrow", but in reality means "Not today". Manana may mean a week from now.

Two guys yesterday were trying to sell us Lobster . . . . but it's not in season . . . . We won't support the illegal trade as the seasons were generally establish to better manage the fisheries (or at least that's what I have been telling myself), so we don't buy from the pangas out of season.

Yesterday we departed Salaradup Island heading into Eastern Lemon Islands to a small anchorage . . . . but the entrance channel was much shallower than portrayed on the chart, like 9' instead of 25', so even though 9' is plenty of water for us (we draw 5 1/2') since the charts were that wrong, and the channel was pretty narrow at about 80 to 90' wide (as depicted), if THAT were wrong as well, and the depth suddenly shallowed out, turning around might become a problem, so we gave it a pass.

So we ended up back at Esnasdup Island. Courage departed Salaradup Island before us for a day of good sailing Wx, and ended up back in the Swimming Hole, about 9.5 miles NNW of us. We may meet up again later at some point.

Looking at Windy, Premium as far out as it shows, to 18/19 April, the wind/waves may be moderating some. Down to 5 and 4 feet, but still with a short period of about 6 seconds, so still not what we want, but perhaps it the beginning of a long enough lull that we will be able to head North to the Cayman Islands. Only time will tell. We are definitely ready to get moving again.

Short (belated) update on our friends from the Panama Posse who were caught behind the bar at Bahia del Sol after the broaching of SV Windid and catastrophic loss of Rum Truffle while attempting to cross the bar inbound under the guidance of the pilot boat. To the best of our knowledge, all the Panama Posse boats, and several others as well, have all successfully crossed the bar outbound and have moved on to Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, Southbound. Kudo's to them.

How the entire Rum Truffle saga will play out with Bahia del Sol's cruiser trade still remains to be seen, but from our perspective, given all we now know about past issues that were, shall we say, never brought to the forefront in order for people to conduct informed risk assessments, and given the minimal actions actually taken/implemented to manage the risks in order to prevent a repeat of the Windid/Rum Truffle fiasco/loss, we personally would chose not to enter into Bahia del Sol again. As always, each and every crew must decide how risk adverse they are, but for us, the potential danger of loss of vessel/loss of life far outweighs the benefits of the entry.

Here's hoping the transit Weather to the Cayman Islands will improve significantly soon as to allow our passage! Cheers!
 
As mentioned, I've been tracking the weather to get an idea for us next year - bit discouraging to see such a long stretch between wx window especially since Weebles is much smaller than Muirgen.

Question for you Scot - compare to San Blas (#1 on attached chart for those not familiar), the western stretch of the Caribbean appears to have mildly better weather. I was looking at the Bocas del Toros (#2 - 125 nms west of San Blas), then up the Costa Rica coast as far as possible. I know you decided against San Andres (#3) due to expense, but perhaps bypass and hop to Caman (#4)? Might give seas just forward of beam......not sure this is a good thing. What do you think?

EDIT - for those reading, added screenshot of PreidctWind forecast of Saturday departure from San Blas to Cayman.

Inquiring minds.......

Peter
 

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