Monday, March 12, 2012
Well here we are in Panama! It is quite surreal for us to arrive here on Last Mango after two years of voyaging but never having been here with our little ship. We arrived as predicted on Saturday evening but not without some last minute weather to deal with……………Mother Nature was not going to let us get off the hook that easily. So, after rounding Punta Burica we had some calm seas across the bay towards Coiba, but then the wind built, and built and built…………38 knots at the peak. Quite interesting again! So during the night we crept near to shore off the Azuero Peninsula for a bit of shelter only to get to Punta Mala to find it living up to its name. But, finally, we cut our way into the Bay of Panama and nearer to the canal area; the AIS system recorded some 214 targets, plenty of commercial ships to navigate around in the main anchorage areas. Checking in to Flamenco Signal we had permission to proceed to the small vessel anchorage off La Playita, Amador, and finally at 2200 the anchor was buried tight and we had peace and quiet; Johnny Deere had had a good run for nine days and now was getting a well-deserved rest.
But there is no peace for the wicked. Having arrived we met with our agents and cleared in; immigration; customs; cruising permit. More paperwork. But it was a Sunday and we were impressed that anyone was working at all; within an hour or two we had the canal inspector onboard admeasuring us and firing questions as to our preferred mode of transit – position in the locks – center, side, nested?. Does our propeller rotate right or left? And lots of information to give the canal transit adviser who will come with us. And checking that we will feed him his meals and have a supply of bottled water please. I did ask if there was a preferred brand – Badoit perhaps? And after the inspection Kathy kindly collected us so that we could be reunited with our earthly connections – apartment, truck………..things we have not seen for a while. And now the list of things to do is expanding exponentially. Number 1, try and get a slip? No chance, Panama is just too busy. Number 2, get a Yamaha mechanic to service the outboard. Number 3 rely on Bernie to assemble second tender – Prawn Basher (no problem for Bernie). Number 4 get a transit date – looks like the weekend. Number 5 liaise with the reinforcements flying in to join us on the transit and onwards. Number 6 start getting the supplies, that will take a long while. Number 7 deal with the tile problem in the spare bathroom?? (no way that will get done!) And so on, yours truly has been tearing around today in a frenzy. Like Captain Jerry said to me once “hammering all the snakes into their holes”, I like that. And of course the Admiral has been busy too; those wardrobe requirements are most essential!
Posted by David