The question of what we can do once the visa for Panama expires at the end of October has been on our minds for some time. Gradually restrictions are lifted which makes it possible to travel on to Costa Rica. Panama has made it onto the list of countries whose inhabitants are allowed to enter Costa Rica without a 14-day quarantine, on presentation of a negative Covid-19 test. This test may be carried out up to 72 hours before departure. That would be possible for us. The only obstacle that remains is the special health insurance required for Costa Rica, but we have now discovered affordable options for this, too.
Since one can move so freely from one country to another in Europe (when there is no pandemic), it is difficult to imagine that you cannot travel everywhere you like to. Three German sailors have just learned this the hard way, they had set off for New Zealand without waiting for permission. On arrival they were arrested immediately, had only 20 minutes to pack a few things and were then put in solitary confinement. They were finally forced to leave the country by plane and are never allowed to enter the country again. The boat is confiscated. Now, not all countries are as strictly sealed off as New Zealand, which perhaps wanted to deter imitators with this action, but it is usually safer to follow local regulations.
Panama has arrived at level 5 of 6 of the plan for lifting restrictions.. Except for major events and discos, almost everything is now open again. However, the mask obligation and the distance rule still apply. The mask duty is observed by almost everyone without problems. For the two largest provinces, the curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. and the Sunday quarantine will remain in place. These have been lifted in the other provinces.
You can see the returning freedom everywhere. There are people in the streets again, almost all the small kiosks in the station offer goods again and at the entrance to the station building there is nobody to measure the temperature. I had never fully understood this measure, because the station has so many entrances and people arrive from everywhere with the buses, why at this one passage people were checked was not clear.
To keep the little grey cells active and to prevent them from thinking too much about the small and bigger setbacks, Mathias is busy getting the app running in the Android system. It already works, the layout has also been edited. There were many new commands to discover 😉 Meanwhile the app is already running on our Samsung phone.
Mathias dived to the propeller again to see if he could remove a blade. We want to dismantle the blade opposite the missing blade thus eliminating the imbalance. We then could at least use the engine power again until the propeller can be repaired. Mathias took the diving robot with him and now we have some pictures of the mishap which we can study before repair attempts are made. Because Mathias was already in his wetsuit anyway, he went right on and cleaned the outer hull from fouling. The reef grows back here quite fast. You have to be careful, if you stay too long in the water you will also become a reef. Mathias had a little crab in his ear after the dive, which probably considered the place a great cave. Mathias on the other hand was surprised about the funny clattering in his ear and preferred to flush the little troublemaker out.
The spare blades for the propeller have arrived in the meantime. We are still waiting for a reaction / offer from Volvo Service, but we were able to place an order via other channels. But unfortunately it turned out that the propeller blades have one ordering number and the corresponding fixing bolts another. So now we have blades that we can’t attach. The delivery of the bolts is supposed to last until mid November. Arrrrrrrrrgh! Luckily we discovered another spare part, which includes the bolts. This can be delivered faster. Hope.
A few weeks ago the Pico, a German blue-water sailing boat, set off from Las Perlas in Panama to French Polynesia. Her skipper and Mathias had arranged to stay in touch by SSB radio when they left. They talk to each other every afternoon and it almost always works quite well. Covered distances: 1700 nm on 12B LSB, 1880 nm and 2005 nm on 18B LSB,
At the second change of dressing after about 1.5 weeks, the stitches could not yet be removed. I got another follow-up appointment. I had to be at the outpatient clinic at 7 am for the dressing change. That was just in time with the curfew, which ended at 5 o’clock in the morning. After all, I had to drive Dinghy first, then bus and underground. The first time there was a long queue and you were not let in in groups until well after 7 am. The second time I didn’t leave quite so early, but I arrived before 7, this time you could go straight in. But it took a while until it was my turn, it only happened around 9:30 am. I never saw my original doctor again, although the appointments were actually made so that he should be there. He was probably busy with operations or emergencies. The last appointment went a bit uncomfortably, the doctor only looked at the finger briefly, gave me a few instructions that I could hardly remember at all in a hurry. Afterwards he left me to the nurse.
The nurse had already left me alone at the tap when I was removing the bandage, so that I removed the last remaining dressing myself. Now she stayed cool. Special tweezers and mini scalpel were poured from the sterile bag and off she went. The stitches were not thin and were firmly attached. So the nurse pulled on them properly, held them tight and sabered them through. It all hurt quite a lot. Most of the time it was only bearable with closed eyes, then at least you don’t know in advance what’s going to hurt. The nurse gave no warning. Well, I survived. A new bandage followed, which was only to stay on for 2 days. In the meantime the finger is unpacked. It is not yet photogenic and still swollen, which is not surprising considering the severity of the injury. Healing is in progress…..
Yes, we have a microwave on board. A small thing that has always served well and even has a grill function. It is the standard appliance that Neel installs. I should have thought of Bobby Schenk’s saying: „Everything that is on board, wil break.“ Because one day I overstrained our little microwave oven. It has a cooking programme for potatoes, which I selected for a few large potatoes. They were just not cooked at all. So I ran the programme again, not well yet, again. Then it got strangely hot around the microwave and I gave up. The next time when we thawed meat, Mathias complained that it wasn’t good enough. Hm? That was the normal programme, it can’t be wrong. Only when the warmed up rice also remained ice-cold did we have to admit that something was fishy here. A case for my on board electrician 😉 He watched a corresponding video on Youtube and checked the fuses. One was ok, but further down was a high voltage fuse. After Mathias had reached this fuse, it turned out that it had burned out. So, error probably found.
Now followed the procurement of spare parts. I was just on my way after my visit to the hospital, Mathias sent me the specification of the fuse and I asked in my favourite shop. They had fuses, but unfortunately they turned out to be too short. So, on another day I went out again to look for this special high voltage fuse. First I was sent to the shopping area around „5 de Mayo“. There I asked around and found a small and a bigger electric shop. But both had nothing. In the bigger one they said, Elektronico Japon had such fuses. That meant another 3 stations with the underground train. Because I had been on the road for so long, I didn’t want to give up any more and I drove on. It happened that I could pay for another passenger. This is not unusual here. The prices are so low, 25 cents for the bus and 35 cents for the train. If the travelcard doesn’t work, or you forgot to top it up, another passenger often takes his card and pays. I was once let through by the bus driver when my card didn’t work. On the train, a young woman with a small child in her arms came and asked for payment. I don’t know whether she had forgotten her card or could not even afford the small fare. In any case, I was glad that I could return the kindness and paid her fare.
The Electronico Japon shop was located in the more distinguished area of Panamacity. I found it right away, but they didn’t have any high voltage fuses. Against my better judgement I went to two more shops until I gave up searching. I had told Mathias on whatsapp, and he ordered the fuse via internet through our Panama agent. Okay, we could have done that right away, but maybe Mathias wanted to have a day alone? At least the exercise was good for me and I saw something of Panamacity 🙂
As you may have noticed, desserts are very popular with us. Without the practical quick pudding powder, there is one option missing. Because cooking pudding the day before exceeds my boat-womanly skills. Jell-O contains too much chemistry. I am one of those people who stop in the supermarket and study the exact list of ingredients. Because of my strong short-sightedness I have the focus point about 10 cm in front of my face. Even the smallest font size is no problem when I take off my glasses. And hidden lists of ingredients, for which you first have to pull up the label to get to the second layer, do not deter me. Probably looks a bit quirky for the observer. Things that are suspected to contain carcinogenic ingredients are not bought, and in the case of detergents I try not to buy too aggressive ones, because they end up going straight into the sea. I have been cultivating this habit for quite some time now. I remember once shopping at Sainsbury’s with a friend between 10 pm and 11 pm when the children were young. The friend is also an ingredients reader and at this time of day we had the peace and quiet we needed to wander around the supermarket without the children reading ingredients lists. Besides, this was at a time when such extended opening hours were unthinkable in Germany and for this reason alone we took advantage of the late night shopping.
When I now discovered a brand of Wackelpeter that did not contain so many unhealthy substances apart from sugar, I was very happy and took 2 flavours with me to try them out. They tasted good and when I was back near the special supermarket I bought a supply of them. At home I found out that the raspberry jelly was the dietary option and that that was a pure cocktail of chemicals. One ingredients-reading-battle lost – but the war goes on!
Precautions at anchor
Recently, gusts of up to 40 knots of wind were predicted. They did not come, but we still preferred to bring a second anchor to the bow. Without propeller propulsion it could otherwise be dangerous in such winds.