s/v Always & All Ways

18 March 2017 | Zapatilla Cays
17 March 2017 | Escuda de Veraguas
15 March 2017 | San Blas Islands
14 March 2017 | San Blas Islands
14 March 2017 | San Blas Islands
14 March 2017 | San Blas Islands
12 March 2017 | San Blas Islands
12 March 2017 | San Blas Islands
11 March 2017 | San Blas Islands
10 March 2017 | San Blas Islands
09 March 2017 | San Blas Islands
08 March 2017 | San Blas Islands
07 March 2017 | San Blas Islands
05 March 2017 | San Blas Islands
03 March 2017 | San Blas Islands
02 March 2017 | San Blas Islands
02 March 2017 | San Blas Islands
01 March 2017 | San Blas Islands
27 February 2017 | San Blas Islands
27 February 2017 | Isla Grande

Nearly home

18 March 2017 | Zapatilla Cays
Mark
When I got up this morning, the black heavy rain clouds on the mountains almost made me go back to bed and put off travel until tomorrow, but over the next hour or so things lightened up considerably. We left ~8:00 on a Port tack (unheard of going West - we actually had wind from the SW!) But not very strong. With the current kicking up at nearly 2 kts, we barely made 4 kts with sail and motor. And then the rains did come - several times throughout the day. Never very long, but frequent. And the wind died and shifter to West (our heading was 274*). No sails, just motor. The current was obnoxious as always, getting real squirrelly at Tiger Rock. But we made it to the Zapatillas by 6:00 and are comfortably anchored for the night. Tomorrow is only 4 hours to home.

Long day

17 March 2017 | Escuda de Veraguas
Mark
Yesterday we made the long jump from Isla Grande to Escuda de Veraguas ~130 nm. We left @ 8:00 with brisk (15-20 kt) winds. Initially it ws a bit bumpy, but as we got further from land, the waves evened out into nice long swells. The wind continued and at several point we saw 9.0 kts as we surfed a wave. Average speed was 7-8. We have been to Escuda several times and have god waypoints, so we were not concerned with arriving at dark, therefore, the faster, the better. Of course, as the day wore on, the wind faded. By the time we were eating supper, boat speed was down to 4 kts. After sunset, however, it picked back up and we were back to 6 kts. Then it faded again. Our 11:00 PM arrival (way too optimistic when we were seeing 8 kts) became 2:00 AM and then 4:00 AM. When boat speed broke below 4 kts, I turned on one engine and motor sailed. Ten miles out from Escuda a weird thing happened. The wind took a major change to the West (dead on the nose) and a 2+ kts current began pushing us South as well as East. (We had been fighting a 1 kt Easterly current all day, which makes our speeds even more impressive.) I had to drop all sails and motor with both engines to even make 3 kts good. And then the rain came. Torrents, with 20 kt winds. The final 10 nm took us 3.5 hrs and by the time we arrived, it was dawn. By then, the wind was from the South - very unusual. That made our anchorage a lee shore, but we knew the holding was excellent and it kept depth right up to shore, so we anchored as usual, just hanging 'backwards'. Of course, the rains were the hardest as we anchored, so by the time we were set, we were both totally drenched. At least it was warm rain. After somewhat vain attempts at sleep, I made a bacon and pancake breakfast - the first I can remember in a LONG time. We plan to lay low today and (weather permitting) head for Bocas tomorrow morning.

Isla Grande

15 March 2017 | San Blas Islands
Mark
We awakened early to more wind than expected - 20-22 kts from due North. We pulled anchor by 7:30 and raised sails. I put in a single reef to start, but soon learned that if I wanted Otto to steer, I needed a double reef. No problem. Double reefed main, still making 7-8 kts. We took the 'inside' route which supposedly avoids the 1 kt adverse current. I think it really did as when we came 'outside' at the end of Escribanos Bank our speed dropped by about 1-1.5 kts without any other obvious cause. The ride was very reasonable - beam seas @ 3-5' with occasional bigger. The bigger ones frequently threw us off course, but Otto did a fair job of correcting.. I only had to intervene rarely. We made it to Isla Grande, came into the wind and dropped the main, then sailed in under just gennie. The place where we had anchored previously - off a beautiful white beach - was not as good a choice in the North wind as it had been in NE wind, so we went to the other side of the reef and anchored where the book says. It should be fine in N or NE winds. Tomorrow we head for Escuda de Veraguas. Since it is an overnight, exact time of departure is not that important. We will be sailing mostly WSW, so wind angle as well as strength will be important. A N wind would be ideal. If it shifts NE, we may have to sail with just gennie or maybe we can use our spinnaker - depends on strength. Today started out stronger than predicted and then tapered. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Goin' home

14 March 2017 | San Blas Islands
Mark
Today we began our voyage back to Bocas. We left Islas Iguana about 9:00 and sailed at 6-7 knots all the way to Dog Cay. Speed topped out at 7.4 kts - in about 12 kts of breeze. Passing Dog, we turned into the wind, dropped sail and motored into the lee of Chichime where we will spend the night. Tomorrow, early, we will leave for Isla Grande. It is 41 nm with a 1 kt adverse current, though taking the inside passage may avoid most of the current. If we have winds like today, it will be an easy sail, but we want to be sure to arrive in good light, so we will take off early and lounge around at Isla Grande if we get there early. From Isla Grande, we will sail direct to Escuda de Veraguas, a 30+ hour sail, depending on the winds. I'll probably post something tomorrow night after arriving, but probably not in the mornings as we are trying to get an early start each day.

Eric's report

14 March 2017 | San Blas Islands
Mark
Here is Eric's report on his adventures since leaving us:

Well, after a slow start, 9:30, we got going, what a ride. A rollacoaster without tracks. But we arrived at the hotel at noon, and are all set.

Hey guys, just got back to our hotel. Spent the day with Luis. Had a great time. Toured the original city, absolutely beautiful and Luis knew the complete history. After a couple hours of walking through the city, we went to the canal. Luis had checked to make sure we would see some ships going through and we had front row seats to watch the locks in operation. Then went to the museum and learned all about the building of the canal. Then we went up Ancon hill and checked out that area and the Punta Culebra marina, OMG there were a lot of yachts. Went to lunch at a Panamian restaurant and enjoyed the local cuisine. It was so great to have our own guide. Tomorrow we go to monkey island and the ebera Indian village. Then, depending on the weather, hopefully we fly home Wednesday.

***
Vessel Name: Always & All Ways
Vessel Make/Model: Fountaine-Pajot Belize 43
Hailing Port: Hancock, NH, USA
Crew: Mark & Deb Parker
About: Mark, an ER doc, retired 10/08 to become a sea gypsy. Deb, an educator, has been retired since 5/07 and was equally anxious to leave the cold of New England far behind
Extra: We now have a hurricane season home in Bocas del Toro, Panama. We still plan on spending many months cruising every year.
Always & All Ways's Photos - Main
Cruise of Albuquerque Cays and Providencia, Columbia
19 Photos
Created 12 June 2013
Pictures from our 2012 cruise from Bocas del Toro, Panama, to the Bay Islands of Honduras and back. Posted each time we have internet
2 Photos | 7 Sub-Albums
Created 28 March 2012
Pictures of our home at Discovery Bay, Isla Solarte, Bocas del Toro, Panama. More (older) can be found in Discovery Bay album.
49 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 5 August 2010
Pictures of our recent trip to the San Blas Islands of Panama with friends Ron & Cynde
58 Photos | 3 Sub-Albums
Created 29 April 2010
Pics from the month we spent at some of the out of the way places in the Bahamas, May 2009.
39 Photos
Created 22 June 2009
Birds, animals, etc. that we have seen along the way
14 Photos
Created 11 April 2009
Pictures of some of the improvements we have made over the past few months
37 Photos
Created 11 April 2009
Pictures from Rio Dulce
20 Photos
Created 11 April 2009
Pictures from our travels
29 Photos
Created 11 April 2009