Anchored off Chapera in Las Perlas and planning to leave for the Galapagos tommorwo morning. Came here yesterday from Balboa to get the last preparation activities done (cleaning hull and prop again, swapping our genoa for the bigger one, ...). Cleaning the hull turned into a bigger challenge than expected as there are quite a few stingy jelly fish around. Nana had to dig out the long underwear to get full body protection in the water... Our friend Bill arrived on Saturday and will be joining us again for this leg. We hope to arrive in the Galapagos by 10MAR, wind permitting.
08 - In Panama
A post not about Namani but about another sailor this time... Nick Jaffe is a young Australian with some German ancestry. He worked in Germany in the early 2000s and chose to travel back to his native Australia by single-handing a 26-foot Contessa from Europe to "Down under" between 2006 and 2009. I had followed his travels on his blog and admired his determination to do this with virtually no prior sailing experience and on a very tight shoestring budget.
Now that we have an Internet connection and can post pictures again... we had a very nice dinner with Ken and Sylvia from Ann Lucia before we left for Las Perlas last week (they were our dock neighbors in Shelter Bay on the Atlantic side and Sylvia helped us through the Canal as a line handler). Nicky picks up some beautiful origami from Ken in the picture above. Ann Lucia should now be close to the Galapagos...
Moved 15 nm south today to Isla Viveros, where we have a beautiful anchorage under starry skies all to ourselves. Shoreline is rocky and wooded - feels a bit like Maine with a tropical climate. Boat work continues: Papi fixing the head, Mami scrubbing growth off the bottom and Nicky supervising it all ;-)
After having Namani moored at the Balboa Yacht Club for a few weeks now (which included a trip back to Germany), we decided that we may as well do our remaining boat jobs somewhere at anchor. So we slipped our mooring this morning and took off for Las Perlas, an island group about 40 nm SE of Balboa/Panama City. With a forecast for light northerly winds we feared we might be motoring the whole stretch. Against expectations we did have a really nice sail however, close reaching in about 15kn from the NE.
A little more thn four years ago we wrote a blog entry "Bye bye Mediterranean, hello Atlantic". Now it's "Bye bye Atlantic, hello Pacific".
We had a very smooth transit "upwards" through the three stages of the Gatun Lock last night. Carlos, our advisor, boarded right on time at 1730 and we entered the first stage of the lock around 1930 after some waiting in front of the gates. We went through the lock tied alongside a 70ft sport fishing boat from Lousianna. They would tie up to one side of the lock and we would then tie up alongside them, repeating the process for every stage of the lock. Everything worked very smoothly - thanks to our advisor, crew and the helpful hands on the sport fisher.
We left Shelter Bay at 1400 today and are now anchored in the "Flats". Our Advisor arrival ETA has been confirmed for 1730 local time so we expect to arrive at Gatun Locks around 1900 local time. The webcam URL for the lock is http://www.pancanal.com/eng/photo/camera-java.html. If you do see us going through the lock please take a screen shot ;-)