Monday, February 20, 2012

Out of Panama City

The shopping is done. We made the last trips to a few grocery stores, pharmacy and the large fresh fruit and veggie market in Panama City. We stowed what we can and have every locker filled. We have cases of food and beer in the heads and a few crates filled to the brim on the floor of the main salon. We are full. Of course we keep thinking of those few things we forgot (water chestnuts, more stainless polish, small bottles of rum for "gifts"). Oh well, no more shopping. We can do without what we don't have.

We had hoped to leave on Saturday, but another repair was needed that was unexpected. The water maker decided to be a problem child and one of the pumps wasn't working. Thank goodness Michael had a spare motor – and he replaced the old one. It was a painful job though and Michael is aching from trying to get the old motor out. But its all back up and working. While Michael worked on projects, Barbara went shopping to finish provisioning – a last run to a groceries and the veggie market where she got pounds of potatoes, onions, cabbages, carrots, lettuce, garlic, ginger, tomatoes (from red to green), green beans, peppers of various hotness and sweetness, limes, a watermelon, a pineapple, tangerines and 60 fresh (unrefrigerated) eggs. She wanted to also get a stock of bananas and some squash/pumpkins but couldn't physically carry anymore.

We also cleared out of Panama with the Port Captain in Flamenco and Immigration. It was a bit crowded as many people are checking out at this time of year and Carnival started on Saturday so many offices are closed through next Wednesday (or if they are open you have to pay overtime charges.) That all went incredibly smoothly – but took a few hours. So we have the "salida" (exit) stamp in our passports and the "zarpe" (exit clearance papers) to Galapagos.

We didn't make the Saturday plan to leave. So we enjoyed a last ice cream treat with our friends John and Sukanya from "Millennium" and some of the Carnival music (heard on the boat from the city). Bright and early on Sunday morning we departed the Las Brisas anchorage and headed for the Las Perlas to do the last packing, boat bottom cleaning and check, and relax. We did try to sail the entire way to save our precious fuel, but there was very little wind. We did manage to put up the new asymetrical drifter (the new sail Tom delivered for us) and sailed with that for about four hours. It worked great in the light air. Bad news – no fish – we're certain we were going just too slow. It took us all day to get the 35 miles to Isla Contadora.
Tomorrow is a full day of more organizing and cleaning and looking at the weather predictions. We hope that we can leave here on Tuesday or so – weather permitting. There are lots of boats anchored here waiting to do the same trip – so we'll have some company out there. Several boats have left over the last few days as well.

Full water tanks. Full fuel tanks. Full refrigerator. Lockers stocked. We're as ready as ever to make the Pacific passage.

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