Cloudy days can be god, too
02 February 2013 | Isla Debora, Panama
The morning dawned with heavy overcast and drizzle. Unusual for Panama rally as we usually have RAIN or no rain. Wisps of clouds trailed through the mountains surrounding us and the Indian village, Buena Esperanza, was somehow illuminated sharply under the clouds. I got a photo that may make for a good painting. After breakfast, I donned mask and snorkel to inspect the new props after their maiden voyage and also clean off the paddle wheel so the knot meter would work. (I had forgotten to do that earlier so I had GPS speed over ground, but no speed through water and no apparent wind readings coming over. Since I am evaluating these new props, I wanted all the data possible.) There were about a billion jelly fish this morning! Many of them with testicles. (For those who don't know, that in Cynd-onese for tentacles. Our friend always warns swimmers to beware of jelly fish with testicles.) I managed to inspect both props and clean the paddle wheel without getting stung, but it was a bit worrisome. The props looked good - no loose parts and flopping freely from forward to reverse. It had started to rain harder so I was able to rinse off the salt by just standing on deck for a while. When the rain let up, we decided to head back to our island. We need to be there for Saturday anyway as Brent & Jan are having a party that afternoon. Initially there was little wind although the difference between GPS SOG and the knotmeter told me we had a falling tide with a slight lift in the direction we were headed. Nonetheless, when I firewalled the engines one at a time, I was able to get to 3200 rpm - not the 3600 Yanmar claims for a new engine, but these have 5000 hours on them and this was much better than with the old props. We were also making better than 6 kts on one engine. At cruising rpm we did a little over 5 kts which, considering how dirty the hull is, is quite good. As we motored through the cut between Dolphin Bay and Laguna Pallos, we picked up some wind and were able to sail with just gennie back to the island. By the time we reached the dock we had nearly 13 kts of wind on our starboard bow pushing us backwards and into the dock, but we maneuvered without difficulty and tied up easily. After lunch, we both spent most of the afternoon (which turned sunny) in the cockpit painting. I'm teaching Deb some techniques that she has not been shown and although it is sometimes difficult (I'm perhaps not the best teacher) she is doing really well. I'm still struggling to find the 'voice' I want, but we have fun anyway. A short swim, a couple of walkas around the island looking for any mangoes the oropendula haven't gotten to first (we found none without bites), and it was time for cocktails and dinner - barbecued chicken with beans & rice at Deb's request. Another great day.