02 February 2010 | Half way up Rio Chagres
Tuesday, 2 February. Yesterday afternoon the wind filled in from the NE @ 15 kts. - just as Bernard, who has made this trip many times, predicted; but NOT what the weather charts predicted. We had a great sail. About 8:00 PM, we reefed down the main and gennie, not because it was too windy, but because we were going too fast and would arrive before dawn. We reefed until we were making 3-4 kts very comfortably. This gave Deb & Cindy a good chance to sleep before their watch. (Ron & I took 8:00PM-midnight, Deb & Cindy stood midnight 4:00 AM, and Ron & I did 4:00-8:00.) When I came back on duty @ 4:00, we let out just a bit more gennie and kept adjusting speed so that we arrived @ 8:00. Everything worked perfectly and we arrived with enough light to navigate the tricky entrance to Rio Chagres. Once inside, we motored slowly up the river for nearly 6 nm. - all the way to the Gatun dam which cut off the river to make Gatun Lake which feeds the Panama Canal locks on the Caribbean side. It was REALLY beautiful! Dense tropical jungle on both sides. Parrots and oropendula. Howler monkeys. We came back half way and anchored in a bend right next to a tributary. After a nap we will kayak up the tributary to explore. Tomorrow, Porto Belo.