Friday, August 05, 2011

Passage preps

As soon as our company left, we needed to get things ready to leave Panama for the passage to Ecuador. First project was to get the boat out of the water and do new bottom paint and polish the hull. There were 2 options, 1 yard that was very expensive and the other very reasonable at Balboa Yacht Club's "marine ways". The downside was the boat sat in the trolly lift that came up on rails and was very awkward to manoeuvre and work around. But the total cost for paint, a bit of paid labour, haul out, 3 days out, and going back in the water was $500 - very inexpensive compared to Canada or USA.

Jordan trying to work with Sea Turtle above the "rails" used for hauling out

Jordan hired some labourers but they didn't pan out too well so they were let go after 1 day. With a 1-day extension (3 days total), Jordan was able to get all desired work done between periods of rain and high tide that came up to the boat. I had an excellent WiFi connection, so I got caught up on some needed downloading and program installing since we had a new hard drive installed. I also did several loads of laundry at the cheapest rate yet - $0.50 to wash and $0.75 to dry!

Our entertainment was the 4 friendly cats that made the workshops home. And as the marine ways were right beside the canal shipping approach lanes, we had a constant foreign flagged parade.

Back at our anchorage, a power boat had discount diesel for sale but when Jordan was emptying the jerry jugs, there was too much crud in it. So he stopped that delivery and plans to get the rest at the fuel dock today. So much for discount fuel.

Then it was the provision routine. The easy part was the shopping and taxi ride. Loading it into the dinghy, sorting it on board, de-wrapping much of it (removing labels and cardboard, etc.), stowing, and recording an up-to-date inventory list were the hard and time-consuming part. If we don't do an inventory list, it is amazing how we forget what we have in some of the deep holds. I once bought Jordan some chocolates as a present but when it came time to give it to him, it took me 6 months to find where I hid them!

The last thing to do was get our Zarpe (official exit document that the next country demands to see) from the Port Captain and an exit stamp from Immigration. Immigration informed us that we did not have the proper visa stamp in our passports from when we checked in at Pedregal so we had a bit of running around to do to get the needed stamp. But everything was sorted out quickly.

We are now ready to leave for Ecuador! This passage can take anywhere from 10 to 20 days depending on sea state, storms, currents, winds, etc. We will pull anchor tomorrow morning, August 6th...

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