Left Cayman Islands on Sat to Panama. Had a good weather window at last!
The trip took us four and a half days and arrived to the Panama breakwater about
eight am in the morning. Had good wind on the way over and averaged from six
to eight knots.Were conservative with the sails and had a second reef in all the
way over as still a lot of squalls around which come out of nowhere! Had a couple
of sections where we had to navigate around one of them was Serranilla Banks which
is ten nautical miles across and a lot of shoaling! You go from eleven thousand feet deep
to some places forty or sixty feet deep, which are huge underwater mountains so the
sea conditions with the waves vary big time! Went for about fifty nautical miles with big
currents against us so we were glad to get out of there. Not without some dramas however!
Monday night just before dusk we saw a big foam container floating buy all taped up!
Two hours later Sam and I had watch and we had had smaller Vessels around us on radar!
Had two on the port side about two nautical miles away and one on the starboard further away!
For some reason they turned their navigation lights off which is not normal! and so went off our radar for a time! Jammer perhaps! Not far from the coast of Jamaica which is known for its drug running!
So we had to stop turn on the engines and get the spotty out to see if we could see them as
we didn't want to run into them or perhaps somebody to sneak up on us! We changed course
and got out of there with no more dramas!
Continued on! I had my baseball bat, pepper spray and my bear Grylls knife at the ready! We had a couple of nights with a full moon which is great because you can see the
sea state around you! If you have no moon you can't see nothing pitch black! Tuesday during
the day "Captain Guy"and Sam dodged one huge floating tree trunk! Boy our Cayenne is looking
after us she handles the seas like a champion! Wednesday morning around four twenty am was
a different story! Massive thunderstorm all around us! You try to move away from them but in this
area of the Carribean sea they are known to come out of nowhere! Tried to outrun this one for
over an hour but it just kept forming all around us, and to make it worse lots of lightning! Not good
with a sixty five foot mast! "Captain Guy"turned Cayenne into the wind and we had to sit it out
with wind gusting to forty knots rain sheeting down and lightning striking the water around us!
We had our ditch bag ready and waiting! How it didn't hit us we don't know! Someone was looking
over us for sure! Did I tell you that sailing is really relaxing! "Captain Guy " wouldn't eat the next day! Scared the shit out of us! FUN FUN FUN !!!! No one has good tales of this stretch of
water! They have a missing mono boat at the moment which had three people aboard can't find them
just disappeared! We also had to give some assistance over the radio to a german mono hull which
had been caught in storms and had all his rigging stuffed and had very sea sick people on board! Its
amazing how many smaller boats go out with no weather reports! or maps or no back up plan where
to run to for shelter if needed! Really Game! We just had a updated weather report from the sat phone and heard him calling on the radio!
and gave him some co-ordinates to go to small island nearby which was only forty nautical miles away!
So he was really thankful! So on to Panama! Wow so many ships! day and night heading for the Canal!
We had to radio quite a few as we pick them up on our radar and it tells us what they are how big and
their headings! We can see them but they don't pick sail boats up as we are too small! They wouldn't
even know they had run us over if we collided! So we arrive in Panama about three in the morning
We are thirty nautical miles out and we just wait around to enter the harbour at daylight as we were
advised by our weather router that their where a lot of thunderstorms by the coast until eight o'clock!
and we didn't want a repeat of wednesday morning! Coming into the breakwater was awesome their must of been about sixty ships anchored waiting to be called in. We on the other hand were able to come in
as the marina is just inside the breakwater! Passed about ten ships waiting to go through the canal
which is close to us. We got into our slip about ten o'clock and cleared customs a shower and went
to bed! for the rest of the afternoon.
|Sails coming down on the way in!|
|Coming into the breakwater Panama!|
|One of the small Mackerals we caught!|
|Ships waiting to transit the canal as we come through the breakwater!|
|Radar showing all the ships anchored just out the breakwater!|
|Dolphins in front of Cayenne on the way in!|
|Coming in to Shelter Bay Marina Panama!|
|Passing Cargo Ships!|
|Shelter Bay Marina entrance Panama Canal is just around the corner!|
Even though the boys rotate shifts you never get a good sleep
you seem to be on high alert! Relaxing! what a joke! But the good thing is we are out of the hurricane
zone! YIPPEE!!!! Done the Carribean Sea! been there done that! Not coming Back! Organising the
transit through the canal now! Looks like around next Wednesday or Thursday! We have Sam still with us he has
been Fabulous! good fun! Doesn't want to go back to Chicago! loves travelling! so who knows! We
also have Gerry and Sharon who we met in Cuba that are professional sailers that have always wanted to transit the canal so they have flown over from Miami to join us! Gerry is an Aussie but has been
living in Miami for a few years! So we have a full boat! There are two Aussie boats that are crossing
the Pacific too! So we are not the only Mad people around! Have to hire a couple of line handlers!
and special fenders that protect the boats.The boys will be going to a line handling class
where they show you the ropes before transit! and you have your agent and pilot aboard when
you go through! Personally i think i might hide inside under the table as i don't like locks!
The things yo have to do!!!!
But we will transit the Canal first and look at our options! We have another couple also that we met
that we will speak to that deliver cats that want to go to Australia when we transit through! Going to
watch a Cat tomorrow transit through! Hand is slowly healing! Have to wear a cast for another week
before I start excising my fingers! My Mangeled forefinger will take a bit longer and i have to wear a splint for a few months more! At least I've stopped putting my toothbrush up my nose!
Will keep ya updated! in the next week if i don't die from stress!
Love to all!
The sea witch! Cath xxx
PS. Sea air does nothing for the hair! Look like a Punk Rocker!