Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Arrived in Panama!

Welcome to our Blog. Our latest entry always comes up first... 
Click this link if you want to start at the beginning:
FIRST BLOG ENTRY
If you want to start at the beginning of our trip:
START OF TRIP
If you want to see the story of our trip from South Carolina
(where we bought the boat)
 to Lake Ontario Click this link:
  SOUTH CAROLINA
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
After three awesome days in what we can only describe as paradise on earth (Cayo Albequerque) we are safely settled into The Bocas Marina in Bocas del Torro, Panama.


We left Providencia, Columbia at 17:00 (5pm) last Wednesday and sailed overnight to the Abequerque Keys about 30 nautical miles south of San Andreas, Columbia.  This Cay is uninhabited except for 10 military men who apparently keep the Nicaraguan fishermen from fishing in Colombian waters.  there is also another small island occupied by the transient fishermen who are licensed by the Colombian government to fish these waters. 

Here are the *waypoints we used to enter and exit the Cay:
12 11.440N   081 51.580W
12 10.980N   081 51.480W
12 10.720N   081 51.450W
12 10.000N   081 51.100W
12 10.000N   081 50.650W
12 09.780N   081 50.540W

(* Use these with caution - keep a lookout when entering - I cannot take responsibility for any inaccuracies)

We arrived with our friends, Bob and Anne from s/v Baloo who we met in Providencia.  When we were both safely anchored Bob and I went to the island occupied by the military people where they inspected our papers and welcomed us to stay as long as we liked...

We went snorkeling the first day and say some of the most amazing coral EVER!  Unmolested by boats and tourists, we saw 15' Brain Coral and 10 ' branching Stag-horn Coral.  the fish stocks were fairly limited probably due to the fishing that takes place there every day....  That said, over the days we were there we had something from the sea to eat every day, starting with the small tuna I caught on the way in.....  The were surprisingly few lionfish...  Bob and I did a 75 minute scuba dive the second day and Shelley and I did 75 minute dive the third day...  Had our generator not been broken (keep track of our broken stuff!) we would have been able to fill scuba tanks and would have stayed at the Cay longer than we did...

Our first look at Cayo Alequerque

Bob & Ann (s/v Baloo)

a REAL deserted island!

some kind of floaty ocean thing....

PARADISE!

Exploring the "fisherman's" Island



Bob & Anne... just "hangin' around

The fisherman's "home"

"Blowin' Bubbles"



Fishermen cleaning Conch

Rays come for the scraps!


Old Tech!  (he's using his teeth to pull off the skin)



I Can hear the ocean!

Baloo left on Friday and we left for Panama on Saturday....  As we were approaching deep water off the Cay we were met by a large pod of dolphins.  What a SHOW!  we were escorted for almost half an hour before they moved on.... but not before the swam and jumped and amazing performance... just for us...



video

If you remember, Shelley and I have been hand steering our boat since leaving Honduras, so we are getting pretty tired of it... That said we had GREAT sailing until we were 25 NM from Panama, when we were hit with perhaps the biggest squalls we have ever experienced...  for 5 hours we got pretty beat up, but eventually made it to a safe anchorage where we were met by our friends, Jim & Laura (s/v Nilaya) who helped us get settled in the anchorage so we could check in yesterday (Monday) morning....

After being up for a little more than 28 hours we had real trouble getting our anchor to set... Eventually after 10 or so ties we finally go set and closed everything and slept till morning.

When we awoke, we moved into the fuel docks at the marina where 4 officials from town came for our inspections.  They were all very nice people, but seemed more intent on collecting their special $25 fee for each, than searching us or our boat...  then after all that we were told we had to go into town to finish the process...  At the end of the day we spent $505 to stay in Panama for one year and a little over $500 for a slip for the month, and finally another $300 to top up our fuel....  Al in all and REALLY expensive day!

Over the next month we will make the many repairs and improvements that Blowin' Bubbles desperately needs after almost a year at sea....

More soon!
K&S

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