It didn’t look like the residence permits in Panama would be renewed again, so it was high time to put the plan to go to Costa Rica into action.
After one and a half weeks in the Las Perlas Islands, we returned to Panama City. We had to run some last errands and clear out of the country. The current curfew regulations were total quarantine at the weekend and during the week you were allowed on the street, but only women were allowed to go into the shops on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and men only on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We sailed on Monday, so I had the Wednesday to get things done.
The trip back from the Las Perlas was very nice. We had to tack a bit, but they were very long tacks and we could zoom along at over 10 knots. 🙂
On Wednesday, I embarked on an odyssey through Panamacity. First I went to a Mac shop where I could get repairs done. They hadn’t replied to my email about whether it was open (not all shops were allowed to open during the curfew), but I tried anyway. I was lucky, the shop was open and I was able to drop off Mathias‘ phone to have the battery replaced. It was high time, the phone could only be kept alive while at the power source and plugged in at a certain angle. The exchange should take about 2 hours. I looked for a copy shop near the shop, as I had to make printouts for us. The shops that Google pointed out to me were not real copy shops, but an advertising agency and one was non existent. So I walked back to the metro, went to 5-de-Mayo station and went to a copy shop that I already knew. The area around 5-de-Mayo is where the Panamanians shop. There are many shops and department stores as well as street vendors. Almost all the shops were open and the copy shop was not only frequented by women customers. Afterwards, I walked to the underground again, picked up the phone, walked to the underground again and then to the supermarket. By now I had got a blister – I just wasn’t used to wearing shoes anymore. At the supermarket I did a bulk purchase and took a taxi for the way back. Most taxis here are such small cars (Lupo to Polo size) that one is full when I get in with all my bags. The taxi driver wanted to charge me 15 dollars, but I know the prices by now, so I didn’t go for it. The route costs 5-7 dollars. Since you ask before you go, he drove me for 7 dollars.
On Mathias‘ bike tour, the bypass around the old town was closed to bicycles due to an accident and he had to somehow meander through the streets of the old town. He took a few nice photos along the way.
At the checkout in the supermarket, we had problems with the credit card for the first time. Not all our cards work here. The best is a Visa card in my name. Up to now, the family ID was always enough, but this time they looked more closely at Mathias. In the end, they accepted the card, but that was probably a sign that it was time to leave.
Attempt to preserve various vegetables by vacuuming.
Unfortunately, it failed. The vegetables quickly become soft from the inside.
On Thursday, Mathias went ashore and completed the formalities at immigration. Since he doesn’t speak Spanish, he ended up at a place he was supposed to go to second. The lady there was very careful. Every surface Mathias touched was immediately wiped with disinfectant and a cloth. At some point Mathias understood that he should go somewhere else and followed her direction. There he found someone who spoke English and we got the „Zarpe“, an exit document needed to enter the next country. To get it, one had to hand in such a document from the last port of entry. That was a port in the Caribbean in Antigua, ages ago.
Because of the weekend quarantine, we stayed until Monday, then we set off. Shore leave will not be until we get to Costa Rica, but we will not sail day and night, but try to anchor at night.
Relief supplies given to contacts of positive Corona patients. Probably so that they can remain in quarantine. The food also included chicken meat lying shrink-wrapped in the sun and boxes from which it clucked (very fresh chicken meat? Or even fresher eggs?).
Man is a creature of habit. It’s nice to be back on tour, but it also feels a little strange to leave Panama. After all, we were here for almost a year.
We meander along the coast in daily stages. The first stop was Pedro Gonzales in the Las Perlas, which we already knew. The second day brought a longer stretch across the sea. With a reef in the main and the genoa, we were able to sail the distance well.
Crossing under sail of the traffic separation area of the approach to the Panama Canal. Note the keel of the boat is kept at right angles to the area. 🙂
The dotted lines show where the respective ship will be in 10 minutes. So you can see that we had to hurry to get out of the way of the big pots.
However, we did not reach the island „Isla Iguana“ until around 8 pm, by which time it is already dark here. Anchoring in the dark and with a lot of wind is always an adventure. In addition, there was supposed to be a reef in the bay. I was already standing at the anchor winch when Mathias suddenly stepped on the gas and made another turn. Suddenly the depth gauge showed only 1.70 metres. That means 1.70 m below our keel, which is about 3.50 m water depth, but it was still a shock. At night was a lot of swell, as the prevailing wind direction was parallel to the island.
On the third day the wind was blowing at up to 36 knots but broad reaching, we only used the genoa and achieved good speeds with it. Maximum speed 12.7 knots, average 7.1. Because it was going so fast, we decided to sail around the peninsula to an anchorage on the western side. On this route, we reached the southernmost point of our journey so far: 7° 16.56′ N; 80°51.5′ W. From now on, we head north again. We have postponed the trip to the South Pacific until next year, if Corona allows it.
The anchorage „Bahia Naranjo“ looked very pretty, but also pretty lonely. There was a small house and mobile phone reception :).
The fourth day offered everything from 4 to 21 knots of wind – engine on and off – 2 reefs in the morning, then none. On the 5th day we switched back and forth between engine and sail.
On the 6th there was calm in the morning and then the wind came. The anchorages were very nice and now we will soon have made it.
Next stop: Costa Rica