Life in Panama is almost back to normal. The Sunday curfew has been lifted. We were ashore last Sunday for some exercise in the evening. The area here was full of people, especially families with small children. On the street the cars were standing bumper to bumper. Everyone was wearing masks and there was a fair wind, so you didn’t feel particularly endangered. Fortunately, many things can still take place outdoors here. Restaurants generally have covered terraces and only a few indoor seats anyway. Let’s hope that everything will go well.
Costa Rica has abolished the Covid test for air travellers and is once again allowing tourists from all over the world to enter the country. I read an article which said that it was found that hardly any infections were caused by tourists entering the country by air and therefore the tests are no longer required. Could this be related to the fact that only people who have tested negative were allowed to enter the country? But Costa Rica’s economy depends to a high percentage on tourism, so they have to do something. Until we can go there, maybe the test for entering on the sea way will also be dropped. Some problems solve themselves.
We are still in Panama and it will probably be the end of November before our repairs can be completed.
The dive to the propeller revealed how the system works. It is a square, in the side of which there are bolts that hold the screw blades. In the corners of the square there are screws perpendicular to the bolts, whose screw heads prevent the bolts from falling out. If one screw head is sheared off, as in our case, two bolts have the possibility to fall out. Mathias only understood this principle when a second propeller blade had fallen off. Unfortunately not the one opposite. Since I could not dive because of my finger, he had to work on the propeller alone. You have to imagine that the visibility under water is not excellent, you look through your diving goggles, you have to hold on somewhere to avoid being lifted and you breathe through a breathing apparatus in an unusual way. Tools were all tied up, but the propeller blade to be removed was not. Since the sheared off screw is still sticking in the place, a repair under water became more and more improbable.
If we have to get out of the water, we should also renew the antifouling. Due to the long lay time and the many reef scraping here, there is not much of it left anyway.
On the other side of the island there is a marina with a large travel lift. Unfortunately an enquiry there revealed that this lift can only lift boats up to a width of approx. 8 m. But we are 8,90 m wide. This realization was followed by a series of internet researches and e-mail traffic.
Meanwhile, the solution to the problem of getting out of the water is gradually taking shape. We recently took a taxi to Vacamonte and visited a shipyard with the Shiplift System. This could work, Neel also started to send plans where the trimaran could be supported. Now we still have to clear some paperwork so that we can move the boat there and get an extension of stay. But that is possible. The first week of November is a week with public holidays, so we will not be able to leave before the second week of November. In addition the wind must be right. Since we can only sail, we can only leave when the wind is offshore. We will probably spend a few days standing on land. It will be hot. When we were there, there was no breeze and there was no shade. It reminded me of a blue-water sailing book I had read in the preparation phase. In the book, the author reported about longing for divorce when you scrape the old paint off the boat at 40 degrees ambient temperature….
The fingertip heals well. The scab is off, the new skin still a bit sensitive, but I used the fingertip the other day without noticing it to take a picture on my mobile phone. 🙂 A small superficial inflammation healed quickly. When the scab fell off, a piece of thread appeared. I had to pull it out. That hurt a little bit, but now there is really nothing left in the wound. I just have to get the swelling down so that I can bend and stretch my finger well again. When I am typing, the ten-finger system has become a nine-finger system, works well. The only thing that doesn’t work yet is opening a tight screw cap. There is not enough power in the left hand and turning with the right hand is not yet possible. But I can put my hand back into my pocket without it hurting. Small successes also count!
Microwave oven – continued
As reported we were repairing our microwave. It looked as if the broken high voltage fuse was the only fault. We had been able to reorder this fuse. Curious about the outcome we installed the fuse and tried the microwave. It ran for about 1/10 second, then it went pop and everything went silent and black. A smell of heated rubber was in the air. I guess there was another problem after all! Here you only get appliances with 110 V. So we will have to do without a microwave until further notice.
How a small catastrophe can turn into a positive experience.
All the negative incidents of the last few days have been followed smoothly by the fact that a crown from my tooth became loose. This crown had been newly made just before the trip! So I was not very pleased when the solid piece of food in my mouth turned out to be a tooth crown. No, I don’t want to also have to look for a dentist here! But it’s no use, complaining won’t help. Internet searched and a cruiser guide. There a dentist was mentioned who has a practice nearby. I called, but got no answer, so I decided to just drive by. It was on the bus route. Of course I miscounted the stops, or the bus driver missed my signal to get off, in any case I ended up one stop too far. Unfortunately it was not possible to walk back, the stops were far apart and also led along a highway. So, to the other side of the street – there was a pedestrian bridge. That way I found out that the homeless people here do not sleep under the bridges but on the bridges. It is probably more airy and there was a small roof. After the right bus finally arrived, I returned and found the dental practice with only once asking for the way. The doctor was not there that day, but the receptionist was very nice and spoke very good English. She promised me an appointment for the next day if there was a cancellation. That would be Friday before a long weekend. I contacted another practice, but they were much further away. So I was quite happy when at noon it became clear that I could come on Friday. On that Friday everything went smoothly. I got off the bus at the right stop, didn’t have to wait long and it turned out that the crown could simply be cemented back in. So no big deal. My relief was very huge, finally no additional low blows but a quick solution to the problem. I had another nice chat with the receptionist and left the dentist in a happy mood.
Hopefully we will be moving again soon. The alarm bells are ringing for Mathias. What about our provisions? The shipyard is far away from the action, Costa Rica is expensive and anyway, maybe we’ll go on to French Polynesia afterwards? And the supermarkets don’t always have the desired goods in stock. All arguments that prompt Mathias to insist on replenishing the stocks for months. Our boat is designed for 8 people, 10 with squeeze, or just 2 and everywhere distributed hoarding heaps. 🙂
I think Mathias has a childhood trauma in this respect. His parents had a weekend house in Gorleben and Mathias‘ father practised there as an amateur gardener or amateur farmer. He grew all kinds of vegetables etc. Mathias‘ mother spent the whole summer holidays making preserves and the family had to eat preserves all the time. Of course not the fresh ones, but the glasses that were about to go off, because one was not allowed to let anything go bad. As a generation that lived through the post-war period, Mathias‘ parents always produced far too much food, meat and cheese were only bought in kilograms, and the bread lay around for at least a week before it was time to eat. The wine stock was stocked once a year. For this, his father drove alone to the Moselle and removed the passenger seat in the car (R4) to be able to transport more payload. Mathias‘ mother would actually have preferred to go with him. A part of this procedure somehow got stuck with Mathias. When he goes shopping, the bicycle is always overloaded. I had to remind him the other day with the manual in hand that the official load for our bike is only 110kg including the person.
Well, in the industrial area where the shipyard is located, supply will not be easy to get by, so we are restocking.
With all the negative vibrations in the air my supermarket online delivery order failed at the checkout because of the sentence „At the moment no other delivery form than pick up at the market selectable“ (could be understood in Spanish). Instead I went by bus and train to the supermarket, loaded a shopping cart strategically packed to the brim and went back by taxi. The ride cost only $5 and at the checkout there are packing helpers who will take you all your shopping to the taxi. I really liked this method. This way I could check the expiration dates and study the ingredients 😉 This time the shelf with the rye flour contained a few bags, but not after me anymore. Rye flour is not easy to get, but it is important for a sourdough bread. Soon we will have enough supplies again for a few months. I have made a list of provisions. But I decided to use the paper form, somehow not everything feels good in app form.
A second shopping trip was necessary to get the drinks. If people are working for us during the repair, they should be provided with drinking water. But here it has to come from bottles. I can understand that, as it is difficult to judge from the outside how good the water from our tank is.
Our Hamburg flag (top one) is gradually disappearing.
Before anything can happen, a week comes with many holidays and also with a lot of wind. This means that we don’t get to the shipyard because hardly anyone works there and that we can’t sail anyway, because when sailing without an engine the wind has to be right.
To make sure that we stay in place during the week with all the wind, we dropped a second anchor. The ground here is quite slippery and therefore the holding power of the anchor is crucial for safety. When we dropped the second anchor, the wind was already blowing from the announced direction and the sea was bumpy. In the evening it looked quite different. There was no wind and all ships turned in different directions. We had to be careful not to turn 360° and the anchor chains would get tangled up. We brought the anchor rope from the bow to the stern and sat outside to watch the situation.
These are the upcoming holidays in Panama:
3 November Independence Day (independence from Colombia 1903)
4 November Day of the flag
5 November Colon Day
6 November Birte’s birthday (o.k., applies only on the San 😉 )
The houses are decorated with flags.
When Mathias passed the fish market on his way from the supermarket in the evening, the national flag was just being taken down. He was not allowed to drive past, but was told to stop and wait until the flag was down.