Thursday, June 02, 2011

Up the estuary

With 52 waypoints from previous sailors plugged into our GPS, Sea Turtle and MV Hobo headed out May 31st mid-morning for Pedregal (near David). It would be a 5-hour trip winding through the mangroves, past an open bar with cresting waves, and skimming over shallows in the estuary. A few places gave us barely a foot under the keel and the depth sounder showed 1.0 m in a spot, the depth that our keel touches. This estuary is tidal with as much as 3 m between low and high.

We prudently planned on making our way on an almost high and flooding tide so that if we ran aground, the rising tide would lift us off. That gave us only about a 2-3-hour tide window so needless to say, we had to break up the trip and anchored about half way for the night and resumed the next day to our destination. At one point, we discovered that we plugged in a wrong coordinate for one of our waypoints that tempted us to run into the mangroves until we stopped and figured it out with the help of some local natives in a dugout with a faltering outboard.

At about 15:00 on June 1st, we dropped the hook (N08°21.881' W082°26.358') beside the Pedregal Marina and in front of the office of the harbour authority and waited till they rounded up the various officials for our Panama check-in. Four of them came to the boat and in a friendly and professional manner had us all done in about an hour, however they didn't have one of the forms for our cruising permit so would have to finish that up on Monday.

Dirty water of the estuary - no watermaking here!

Pedregal Marina is at the end of the road about 8 km from David which is the second largest city in Panama. The taxis are cheap and David has everything you need - modern grocery stores and malls, even a Do It center hardware store. We took advantage and stocked up on stores and supplies.

No comments: