Back tracking a bit Feb. 9, 2010 – We anchored in Nabadup along with Audrey Paige, Infinity, and Bruadaire and all needed to do laundry. Frank on Infinity had located a small river on the mainland and we all took our dinghy’s and laundry and headed for the stream. We took the dinghy’s up as far as we could go into the fresh water and did our laundry in pails and rinsed in the stream. No crocodiles but one snake I could not identify.
Feb 11, 2010 – We left Nabadup and headed to Azucar to get water. When we arrived Blue Sky was on the dock and they were kind enough to allow us to tie up to them and run a hose across their deck to our water tank. The charge for water was $5 to use the dock and $10 for water. This was a monthly fee but we would last a month on the water. We took on about 50 gallons while Blue Sky took on 500 all for the same $15.
Feb. 15, 2010 Monday – Following the morning SSB net we were visited by Venancio, one of the master mola makers and he showed us many of the intricate molas that he had made. He was very nervous as we later found out that it appears that you are only allowed to sell your wares in your own island group and he was outside his. We bought the toucan mola that he is holding.
We then went on a dinghy ride out to a wreck nearby and then visited and snorkeled around a small island that we had all to ourselves. The snorkeling was great, with all kinds of corals and fish.
The San Blas Islands are great as they are all so close together. Sailing is wonderful here – great trade winds and seas are smaller because we are behind the reefs. We sailed to Miriadup in the middle Holandes Cays and the next day to the West Lemmons to meet up with friends before heading to Colon. The West Lemmons are known for poor anchoring and it took a while to get the anchor set. We met Audrey Paige and Sea Cycle there and had dinner on Sea Cycle.
Feb 18, 2010 we all went to Porvenir to clear into Panama after arriving in the San Blas on January 25. In addition to all the official paperwork for the country, we also had to fill out paperwork for Kuna Yala. The next day we got an internal Zarpe to go to Colon and later sailed up to the East Lemmns to spend the night. That night we ate aboard Audrey Paige and had Wahoo that Dennis had caught. It was excellent . The next day we went snorkeling with Audrey Paige and prepared the boat for the trip.
On the 21st we got up early and headed out for Linton at 6:40 AM. We were Able to sail about half the way before the wind died. In Linton we tried to find a spot to anchor and found most of the places were 40 feet deep. Right near town we found a 25 foot spot that was rolley but OK as the windlass was still not working. Had dinner at Hanz’s restaurant where the beers were $0.75.
The next day we were off to Portobello. This would be the largest town on the Panamaian mainland that we had seen so far. The bay was discovered by Christopher Columbus during his 4th trip to the New World in 1502 .Portabello became the most important port by the Spanish for shipping gold out of Central America. It was well fortified because of numerous attacks by British pirates Henry Morgan and Sir Francis Drake. The remains of several of the forts are still there and were fun to explore. The town is also noted for the wooden statue of the Black Christ, which resides in the cathedral in the town plaza.
One of the most interesting sights are the local “chicken buses.” These are old school buses that have been painted in incrediblly bright colors with amazing designs. Each bus is unique and is often named after a particular song, theme, or biblical saying. The music that is played is loud and constant. You pay $1 to ride the bus into Colon with people crammed in and and you can hear the gears being shifted even over the music. What an adventure!
We stayed in Portobello for 2 days before heading to Shelter Bay Marina in Colon .As we got closer to Colon the amount of huge freighter and tanker traffic increased. To reach the marina you need to go inside the breakwater of Colon that leads to the Panama Canal. Our AIS unit was going crazy with all the traffic and at one point was showing close to 50 ships, most of them anchored and awaiting passage through the canal.It was so exciting to realize that we had reached this area and the pathway to the Pacific Ocean. Once in Shelter Bay we worked on installing the solar panel, curtains and the shade cover for the boat.
On March 2we left for the states to see our new grandchild. Gretchen was past her due date and once in Atlanta we found that Gretchen was in labor. At the same time the airlines canceled our connecting flight, but we were able to get on a 9:30 PM flight to Boston. With a little more checking we made the 7:30 PM flight instead. Gretchen’s sister, Jen, was kind enough to pick us up at the bus depot and bring us to Chris and Gretchen’s street where we saw our granddaughter, Ramona, at Gretchen’s folk’s house and then went to Chris & Gretchen’s house to await news of the birth. Our beautiful new granddaughter, Lucinda, was born 4 hours later. The timing was perfect.
We arrived back in Shelter Bay where we finished the preparation and provisioning to head back to the San Blas. On April 3 we headed back The wind was on the nose and we headed to Isla Naranga where we anchored for the evening. It was a very pleasant anchorage. The next day we motored all the way to Isla Grande but then chose to anchor in Linton instead. On the fifth we motor sailed and then sailed to Porvenior. The next day we cleared into the Kuna Yala and headed for the East Lemon Cays. We then went to Salardup and then Nabadup where we met up with Dennis on Audrey Paige. We filled our propane cylinder using Bruidair’s adapter and Dennis’s TropaGas. It took a while but it worked.