A Couple Weeks in Panama

The temperature hits 85 degrees by about 9am, and it climbs from there.  I found Tim off a little cay used by Columbus to carreen his boats for repairs before setting sail.  Tim was hard at work on boat projects and living on dried beans.  So I dove in, and spent the next week wiring and soldering to fix the solar charge controller, digging out faulty wires, running some AC to the bathroom, cleaning, etc.  It was so good to see him again after two weeks of having a continent between us.

Just when we needed a break from the boat work, Al from Ute showed up to show us around Bocas, introduce us to the locals and share stories of his first paid job as a captain. He gave us the ins and outs of checking weather and the route we should take before he flew off a day and a half later.  We went back to some furious boat work before my sister Alisa flew in and we spent the next week actually seeing and enjoying where we were.  Bocas is a nice place, pretty little bays and towns surround us and we had no idea.  We anchored out by an organic chocolate farm, called Green Acres Farm at the south end of Dolphin Bay.  Linda and David took us for a walk through their jungle property and showed us all stages of making chocolate.  We snacked on the pulp around raw cocoa seeds, freshly roasted chocolate beans, and some to die for brownies.  Then we headed off to the island and town of Bastimentos to check the surf.  A twenty minute walk across the hilly spine of the island dumped us out into white sand, and blue bathwater; ahhh, hello Caribbean.  We took turns riding the longboard and hanging in the hammock.  Several piipas (young coconuts) later, we said goodbye and she headed back to Florida.

A couple more days of furious boat work followed and David arrived.  He's the young British man we met in Ecuador, running the Andean Bear Project, where we volunteered for six weeks.  He's agreed to come down and crew on Hebe as we make our way to Florida, through big seas, heavy winds, and between the reefs.  Should be interesting.  We're all hoping to make it as far as Mexico before he needs to jump off and head to Russia for a talk he will be giving on bear rescue, rehabilitation and reintroduction.

Now, we're doing the last of our furious boat work and hoping to leave the dock later today, if nothing else to anchor in Bastimentos or at Zapatilla Cays and wait for a good weather window (leaving sometime Tuesday to Thursday) to head to Portobello en route to the San Blas islands.  If all goes right, we'll meet up with Moonlight in the San Blas, snorkel some and have a few toasts with Squirtarias before we buddy boat north to Providencia, Columbia together.  From there we will wait for the next favorable weather window to head around Cabo Gracias a Dios and towards Roatan, Honduras to meet up with Tim's sister.  Ute is laughing their collective head off that we're trying to  get somewhere on a schedule (after all of our lessons learned between Mexico and Nicaragua), but we're hoping the winds will favor us.  So, in maybe two weeks time?? we'll be around Providencia and able to email again.  I feel like a newbie all over again at this sailing business, wish us luck...

Bocas del Toro album

Alisa enjoying the view from her cute hotel over the water.

Just back from surfing.

Reef ahead!

Looking for the best place to paddle out.

The pipas were a fixture.

Alisa joined the locals walking to the airport.