Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Jesus and the Guardian Angel

It's been really windy here in the Las Brisas anchorage in Panama City. The wind yesterday was coming out of the northeast and that meant a lot of fetch and pretty good waves as well. We had delivered our dinghy to the repair shop yesterday morning (Monday) to get some "professional" patches put on – trying to make the 11 year old inflatable last longer. So that meant we were without a dinghy all day (or two or three). So we were stuck on board working on more projects.

Our friends Sunny and Blake on "Slow Mocean" went into town (after he kindly helped us bring our dinghy to shore). In the afternoon the boats were really pitching in the seas and the wind was a steady 20 knots pulling at their anchor rodes. The anchorage has a bit of everything – sailboats of all sizes and in all conditions, big work boats, derelict rusted heaps, fancy yachts – everything from 20 feet in length to probably 500 feet. One of the 70 foot or so local fishing boats "Jesus" decided to go for a walkabout. It was dragging through the anchorage at a pretty good speed. It just missed the sailboat "Aspara" – and kept on moving. The next victim in its path looked like it would be the catamaran "Slow Mocean" with nobody on board. Because we were without transport – we flagged down Matt on "Superted" who was out to try to help. He picked up Michael who went to"Slow Mocean" to "stand-by. We called Blake and Sunny(by cell phone) to find out if there were any secrets to start their engine and to let them know what was going on. That's always a bad call to get.

Meanwhile, Barbara called the dragging boat (Matt got the phone number) and in her Spanish tried to communicate that the boat was dragging. It seemed to work. Meanwhile, "Jesus" had seemed to grab again and had stopped moving. In about 20 minutes, a grey tug/pilot boat, aptly named "Angel Guardian", came along side "Jesus" and tied up to her. Someone jumped aboard and pulled up the anchor. The two boats were really crashing into each other in the waves, but they did manage to haul up the anchor and then tow "Jesus" further out. They dropped the anchor and it dragged again. After a few tries, it seemed to hold and "Jesus" held his ground through the night...when it calmed substantially.

The dinghy repairs will be ready tomorrow (Wednesday) so we'll head in to pick it up in the morning. Hopefully it will last a few more seasons. That will be another thing off the list. Next project: installing the solar panel – which means shopping for aluminum bars and a few connectors.

It's always an adventure on Astarte – whether in the anchorage or finding parts or making repairs. Everyday – it's something!

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