Thursday, March 8, 2012

Panama bound

After the heavy seas (Force 6) on Night 5 we sought some weather info via our satellite email system for the transit of the Gulf of Papagallo wasn't looking too good, according to (thank you Jo and Dan Weather Routing Service). Day 6 remained unsettled and by 2000 the Easterlies coming across the Nicaraguan isthmus into the Gulf rose consistently into the high 20's. The outside temperature fell from 90 to mid-70 and even the water temp dropped 15 degrees to 72. So we had an uncomfortable night of Force 7 (Near Gale) - up to 30 knots; 9' seas with regular larger waves; and we changed our course to the south to put the incoming onslaught 60 degrees off the bow. Sleep was hard to find while we were tossed around. The best thoughts of the night for me were the comforting reassurance that we had precisely the right boat for the job; admiration that Nordhavn 55 "Last Mango" just took everything in her stride, chugging contently across the Gulf, doing everything that she was designed for, getting us there safely. By midday on Day 6 it was all over; wind 5 knots and seas 1-2'. Back to normal. The Admiral has been spoiling us so much on this trip: parma ham with melon; shrimp risotto; pasta arrabiata; fresh tuna steaks with salad; vegetable curry and fried plantain; smoked salmon bagels; cheese omelette; fresh mango and ice cream............. The only problem for me is that it is 3-7 against on the Scrabble-a-thon. Anyway now our thoughts are turning to our destination ahead. 30 miles off the coast of Costa Rica we are settled into the trans-Pacific shipping lane; at any time we are in a stream/counter-stream of freighters, tankers, tugs and Panamax vessels all using the canal to cross the world. We have some variable head current so our ETA changes constantly but we are estimating arrival at the Port of Balboa, Panama, some time late Saturday.

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