Technical failures and fixes
We have had an uncharacteristically high failure rate with our technology while in Panama. Apart from the propeller, the new remote handset for our VHF radio died within minutes of switching it on, and our MacBook died again. The former meant a trip to the local Raymarine dealer to get it tested, then later replaced. And with more time on our hands and a reasonably-quick internet connection, I restarted the Mac by erasing the drive and restoring the data from a recent copy. It remains a sensitive child, however. Ask anything strenuous of it, and it goes into a strop – which accounts for the delays to these posts.
So, we productively used our time while waiting for our lift out. Lady Jane is now sporting a new VHF complete with remote handset and remote speaker. I installed another fan in the bedroom, so now we have his n’ her’s cooling. And we cleaned and repainted the bilge.
Shopping, dining, and more shopping
Panama City is the last place to provision before crossing the Pacific to French Polynesia. And it’s likely that we won’t fully stock up again until October.
Consequently, we have been regulars at the Riba Smith Supermarket, where we must have made for a strange sight with our trollies full of drinks or food – or both. It took three trips to get everything we needed. And now, Lady Jane is fuller than Blackbeard’s plunder chest. I don’t think we could squeeze anything else in her. We’ve even had to surrender one of the settees in the cabin for the additional supplies.
We got the chance for another reunion with our friends on A Capella of Belfast, JaJapami, and Krabat. That was a fun night out, although I don’t think any of us has a full recollection of the entire evening. The wine at Casa Alejandro is outstanding. We should know, I think we drank most of it.
On another night out, this time at the Beirut restaurant at the Amador Causeway with the JaJapamis, we were treated to a middle-eastern dancing show. And it that wasn’t enough entertainment, on the way back to JaJapami even more wildlife came out. A family of racoons have made their home at the back of a pizza restaurant at La Playita marina. They come out looking for food at night, and as luck would have it, they came out just as we walked past them.
But that wasn’t all. A little further towards the marina, a security guard pointed out a sloth that was slowly making his way along the electric wires above our heads; this is a regular occurrence. And it isn’t unusual for one or two to get zapped and drop to the ground. Fortunately, most manage to shake off the shock and continue on their extremely slow trek to wherever they go.
Clearing out and clearing off
On 25th March, after meeting our agent’s representative at Flamenco marina, we cleared out of Panama and obtained a Zarpe for Galapagos. Then, after paying the Yacht Club for our stay on the mooring, we made our way over to the anchorage at La Playita, then lowered the dinghy and called into the marina to see the JaJapamis for what might be the last time before the Galapagos.
We are going to miss Panama. It’s been one of the big surprises and favourite places so far. And we can understand why people stay here long-term. The people have been fantastic, the biodiversity incredible, and the climate surprisingly not too hot for somewhere as close to the equator as this.
The next day, we lifted anchor and sailed to Las Perlas, a group of islands south of Panama. Here we are making last-minute checks to see if everything is OK for our entry to Galapagos. The entry rules are strict. The hull needs to be meticulously clean (should be fine after all that scrubbing at the yacht club) and there are numerous restrictions on what can be brought into the islands. So we are going to go through everything one last time, and we will be on our way.